I do not know if K R Meera has read Dr.Clarissa Pinkola Estes’s ‘Women who run with the wolves.’ But her character, Chetna GriddhaMallick, HangWoman in the making, ( I am at page 209 of the 552 long narrative) reminds me of the various facets of the wild woman nature, mentioned in Estes’s work.
Meera’s heroine speaks for many voices- hers is the voice through which we discover the family of hangmen, their women, the cultural history of Calcutta, the stories of the hang men’s victims and their loves, their mothers…If I were to do an analysis of the sentences which reveal Chetna herself, it will be as few as two sentences per chapter.
Like a fugitive, the real woman hides, revealing her fire in few sentences, terse and cynical, to show us her vulnerability, her love, her desire for a callous , unfathomable man( Quote ” There were rats on the silken bed!” ” Like a sure-handed hangman, he tightened his noose around my neck, exactly between the third and fourth spots …”), whose evil she sees, miles away- but is drawn to, hapless, weak. I have another 240 odd pages to read, so I should be cautious.Meera is a tricky story teller.
I think of Estes’ words, ” Perhaps, most important, the Bluebeard story raises to consciousness the psychic key, the ability to ask any and all questions about oneself, about one’s family, one’s endeavours, and about life all around. Then, like the wild being who sniffs things out, snuffles into and under and around to discover what a thing is, a woman is free to find true answers to her deepest and darkest questions.She is free to wrest powers from the thing which has assailed her and to turn those powers which were once used against her to her own well- suited and excellent uses.That, is a wildish woman.”
” That night I imagined he was standing on top of the platform of death, that I had covered his face with the death mask,that I had pulled the lever- in 727 ways..”Quote
(The HangWoman, K.R.Meera, Arachar translated into English by J.Devika. I have the Malayalam version which has been awarded umpteen times by now.Very well deserved too!)
I wish this writer, more Power!