Author: Sudha Murthy
Paperback: 176 pages
Publisher: Penguin India
Publication Date: Revised edition -18 July 2006
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Cost: Rs. 121 (Kindle edition)
What is more important: a successful career or a happy marriage? In the small town of Hubli, Shrikant discovers that he is attracted to his plain-looking but charming neighbour Shrimati, who always does better than him in the school exams. Shrimati too falls in love with the amiable and handsome Shrikant and the two get married. Shrikant joins an IT company and starts rapidly climbing the corporate ladder. He works relentlessly and reaches the pinnacle of his industry, while Shrimati abandons her academic aspirations, silently fulfilling her duties as a corporate leader’s wife. But one day, while talking to an old professor, she starts examining what she has done with her life and realizes it is dismally empty.
Gently Falls the Bakula is the story of a marriage that loses its way as ambition and self-interest take their toll. Written nearly three decades ago, Sudha Murty’s first novel remains startlingly relevant in its scrutiny of modern values and work ethics.
The story is simple, follows a single plot and focuses on the two main characters only. It will not be incorrect to say that the book is mainly about Shrimati, her life, her choice and her decisions than about Shrikant. Shrimati is an epitome of sacrifice and becomes the face of many Indian women who have, without a moment of hesitation, given up their dreams for the sake of their husbands’.
The most attractive part of the book is it’s characterisation. Shrimati who is such an extraordinary young woman is dragged into the mundane life of a housewife after her marriage. She who willingly gives up her dreams is deprived of any other happiness by the one whom she sacrificed everything for.
Sudha Murty’s writing hits home where many of us have seen this happening in and around us. The beauty of her writing lies in its simplicity and in her ability to bring her characters to life. The passion with which she writes about the places and the culture (of her characters) serves as a reflection of her own love for her culture. In this book, the way she uses the ‘Bakula flower’ to convey such intense emotions is beautiful.
The story is written making use of straightforward language and simple, uncomplicated words. It pulls the emotional cords of our heart thus conveying the message.
About the Author:
Sudha Murthy was born in 1950 in Shiggaon in north Karnataka. She did her MTech in computer science and is now the chairperson of the Infosys Foundation. A prolific writer in English and Kannada, she has written novels, technical books, travelogues, collections of short stories and non-fictional pieces and four books for children. Her books have been translated into all the major Indian languages. Sudha Murty was the recipient of the R.K. Narayan Award for Literature and the Padma Shri in 2006 and the Attimabbe Award from the government of Karnataka for excellence in Kannada literature in 2011.