Ladies Coupé – understanding the emotional intelligence called woman

13Jan06

“Hello. This is Akhila. Akhilandeshwari.” The last line of the story. A culmination of an emotional journey where each of those words radiates a vibrancy of confidence, of a woman who realizes the need for a life of her own. A man of her own. She may be 45. But she’s still a woman. A woman who is still in search of an unknown emotion. A woman that is a fascinating creation of God. A bag of biological and emotional complexities bundled meticulously into a startling weave of life. The very fascination that often results in a point of contention.

Anita Nair’s Ladies Coupé, is not just the story of a 45 year old single woman going through an avalanche of emotions through the span of her life, but a reflection on the subtle and intricate but powerful emotions that women undergo as they play a multitude of roles starting from being a kid, to a wife, to a mother. A telling narrative of the thought process of a woman when she is a kid, the puzzling emotions of puberty, the first yearning for a man’s presence, the intricate mix of love, lust and fear when she lets her man beyond intimacy levels, the bipolar role of a wife pleasing her husband and a mother responsible to her child, and the factor called family to go with all of this.

The story revolves around five persons with varied life and backgrounds, but bound by the common thread of being a woman. And their stories, sends Akhila ruminating about her own life, the decisions she made and would be making. Janaki, an elderly lady, the typical Indian wife, whose man was decided by her parents, who is confused to understand that though she hasn’t even spoken to the man until their first night, it’s suddenly ok even if he undresses her and that as her aunties said, it was the solemn duty of every woman to please their husband and keep shut to whatever he does. From a wife to a mother to a grandmother, Janaki’s life and actions revolves around the necessitated care of her husband.

Margaret Shanti, who pendulums between a blinded love for her man despite his self-gratified outlook on her, be it her cooking food for him or ordering to abort their offspring, to being the woman who tames him to her whims. Margaret may not be an example of a typical woman in an Indian household, but she does depict an image of those women with emotions and desires concealed for gratifying a dictating husband.

Prabha Devi, a bit in the mould of Lakshmi (played by Shobana) in Mitr-My friend. A rich family, understanding husband and life could never be better. But as things move into its weary routines it becomes hard for her to accept that life is just moving past her with her husband controlling its direction whether she liked the turn or not. This is my mother-in-law…this is the woman whose son now rules my destiny and dreams. My thoughts have been reduced to whether I should cook rice or chappathis for lunch, fry okras or aubergine; load the washing machine with cotton whites or cotton colored. And so much as Lakshmi does, she manages to bring out the energy within her.

With Sheela and Marikolanthu, there seemed to be a touch of disconnection with the closed quarters of family-oriented emotions digressing between a kid’s mind to a molestation to lesbianism. But, even if it means one may not be able to identify themselves much, its womanish emotions all along.

All the while, Akhila listens to them and contemplates on her own life. A girl loaded with the responsibility of being the man of her house after she loses her dad. A family that assumes her to think and act and be just as responsible for everything as a man. Only that, she’s still young and she’s a woman. A woman who could only wonder all her life if her family ever worried of her need for having a life of her own. The eventual transformation that Akhila, now 45, undergoes ultimately making herself up to spend the rest of her life living for her own sake with a man of her own, forms the crux of this emotional roller-coaster.

Any woman would identify herself with the exposition of emotions that Anita Nair has portrayed, and as for men, a lesson or two on how to understand and behave with your woman. Ladies Coupé, is a meal sans appetizers and desserts and garnishing, but does more than enough to satiate a hunger.

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7 Responses to “Ladies Coupé – understanding the emotional intelligence called woman”

  1. You write well!

  2. You've sold this to me. You write exceptionally well but you write infrequently :( I know you only do this to keep you're readers hungry for more.

    I'll go hunt this book down and then we can compare notes. BTW watching the cricket?

  3. 3 Revathi

    WOW!! Iam going to get this book right away. You write so well Kishore. Btw I've read Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet. Its good.

  4. I liked this book too. Anita Nair writes extremely well – the way Margaret classifies each type of person into a chemical is almost poetic. Through the stories of these six main women and a few minor characters ( like the moms of these women and sheela's grandmother) we see the many complex dimensions of a woman. Being a woman, I could relate instictively to a part of each of them. Nothing is exaggerated, no dramatisation. Only thing that was offnote is the ease with which the women open up within a few minutes of meeting. It takes a long time for a woman to open up and reveal her innermost secrets to a stranger. And even then many times they cannot be so objective about the facts. It all gets very subjective.
    Great review.

  5. 5 San

    i've tagged you :)

  6. A good book and a good write up too. Women and emotions go together. Not that men don't have emotions. But it gets less expressed. The portrayal by Anita is also in some ways educative, I thought.

  7. I blog often and I really thank you for your information. This
    article has truly peaked my interest. I will take a note of your website and
    keep checking for new information about once a week. I opted in for your RSS feed too.


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