Daughter. Wife. Mother. Grandmother. Women play different roles throughout their lives. Their roles take priority on themselves and their individuality is buried deep inside their core. Dopehri (Hindi word for Afternoon) leaves us with such thoughts to mull over and introspect ourselves rekindling the spark that is latent within us.
It is a tale of unintentionally and unwillingly finding the long lost contentment. A tale of an old woman lost within the entanglement of homely chains regaining her identity, and acknowledging her worth. A beautifully written, lyrical novella. Simplistic and surreal.
Amma Bi is an elderly woman peacefully biding her time until someone starts come knocking at the Haveli exactly at 3 PM afternoon. All she hears are voices, sometimes anklets tinkling and sometimes footsteps stealthy approaching on the terrace. She is terrified, lonely, and paranoid. She feels someone is conspiring against her and this eats away her peace of mind slowly and steadily.
Our protagonist is strong, commanding even at an old age, very good at negotiations, and talented and lonely. She won’t accept but deep down she knows. She decides to have a lodger and thus enters Sahiba.
In her company, Amma Bi feels like she has been reunited with her daughter. She finds comfort in her company, is bothered by her absence. She finds her youth alive again with her. She rediscovers herself and finds solace with her revived identity. She is not Amma Bi anymore. She is not alone anymore.
I feel the strength of this novella is writing. Mesmerising and simple. The author puts forward the beauty of things in our daily lives which we fail to appreciate in such plain words. I could paint a vivid picture of my own grandmother in Amma Bi.
Amma Bi’s reactions, actions are so aptly captured that I almost felt like watching her from a distance peacefully lost in the reverie of the tale. Pure bliss. Spanning over 100 pages it is a power-packed novella subtly touching upon the lives of many old women like Amma Bi and find the long lost purpose in life.
Do you read novellas? Have you read this one? If not, does this interest you?
If you consider getting a copy after reading this post, please buy it from Amazon