I was just browsing through the library in my free hour, and I happened to pick up a book by Sudha Murthy, Gently Falls The Bakula and I decided to just read it. Soon, minutes turned into hours and Sudha Murthy’s charms held me utterly captivated, leading me to not even look up before I finished the book. As soon as I turned the last page, my heart bled and in that moment I knew that I was going to read all of Sudha Murthy’s works. Feeling magnanimous, I decided to share my newly developed insights on the book, Gently Falls The Bakula.
Gently Falls the Bakula is a story of a marriage that becomes hollow as self- interest and ambition take their toll. Written nearly three decades ago, Sudha Murty’s first story holds true even today. It is the story of thousands of Indian women who sacrifice their dreams and ambitions for their husband’s and family’s needs. It is the story of how the corporate world appreciates the successful people and neglects the gazillions of efforts and sacrifices on the part of their families.
“Shrikant was restless... Holding a bakula flower in his palm, he was wondering why he was fascinated by this tiny flower, that was neither as beautiful as a rose nor had the fragrance of a jasmine or a champaka. And yet, it was very special to him. It held an inexplicable attraction for him.” Growing up as neighbours, arch enemies, rivals and star students of the same school, Shrimati and Shrikant have had enough of each other to last a lifetime. But, just like their names match perfectly, fate leads them to become friends and then gradually fall in love. Shrimati being a very intelligent student of History is offered a scholarship for a PHD in History by a very renowned American professor. But, just like thousands of Indian women, Shrimati’s love for Shrikant wins over her love for History. Sacrificing her studies, she goes with Shrikant, who is now her husband, to Bombay where Shrikant works day and night to climb up the corporate ladder. Out of her love for Shrikant, Shrimati accepts her duties as his trophy wife and personal secretary, even though she immensely loathes both the jobs. But, one day as she is reminiscing the old times with the Professor, she realizes that her life is dismally empty and her soul yearns to be alive again. Will Shrimati be able to break the norms of the society which make her a shadow of her husband? Will she be able to pursue her true love for History and bring her soul back to life?
The book is narrated in the third person perspective. Sudha Murty’s simple language manages to touch the reader’s heart. The book has been set in Hubli, a small town in Karnataka and Bombay, a huge cosmopolitan city, as the author shows how life changes drastically as the protagonists move from Hubli to Bombay.
The simplicity of the language and the plot, realistic incidences, the common sufferings of women in the Indian society depicted in the book, all make every reader feel connected to the book in some way or the other. The book is very close to my heart as Sudha Murty managed to make me cry by the intense ending. The book is a must read for every person, as it helps some people boost up their self-confidence and follow their hearts, while it makes others realize the enormity of sacrifices made by the people around them for their success. The book is just like the Bakula flower after which it is named, simple and yet touches the heart of the reader in a way no other book can, because its beauty lies in its simplicity.
Without much ado, I would let you go off to grab the first copy of the book you find, as you unleash the magic that’ll add sparkle to your mundane life.
Written by Aneri Doshi
What makes my heart race? Books, Coffee and Rain