Book Review: Mayapuri by Shivani (मायापुरी – शिवानी)
The 168 pages novel Mayapuri is an easy read with an unexpected dramatic end!!
The book was first published in 1971. The language is subtle and sometimes even thoughts provoking. The novel fits with the intricacies of evolved Indian customs and culture over time.
The story is about a beautiful and serene girl Shobha and her distress. Though she is blessed with the individual attributes and mannerism, God has its own ways of balancing. Life has been tough for her and through out the novel she keeps on losing her close ones and kept fighting with the circumstances. Satish, a young and successful boy is vowed to tie knot to Savita. Savita is the daughter of a big politician and her father has paid the debts of the Satish’s family and had sponsored the foreign higher studies of Satish. Shobha lives in the house of Satish during her post graduates in Lucknow. Everyone in Satish’s family is fond of Shobha’s caring and loving nature. On returning from abroad, Satish finds Shobha more attractive than Savita both in beauty and values. He falls interested in Shobha. Satish opens his heart to Shobha but fails to go against the burdens of the family. Meanwhile, Shobha is also inclined to Satish but for Satish better future she left their house and returned to her village.
The objectification of a girl’s physical appearance and morality in Indian culture is explicitly displayed by the contrast of Shobha and Savita’s characters making the readers bound to feel the sensitivity regarding the gender-based expectations we have in our society.
Next what happens in the story is a series of interplay between tragic circumstances and Shobha’s fight to her fate. I would not disclose what happens next. Other main characters of the story are: Satish’s sister Manjari, Shobha’s close friend and Satish’s best friend, Avinash. The end of the story is interesting and unexpected.