Women without is the context of these short stories that are compiled to depict about women who have committed crime in a desperate situation and are without their men either in the jail or leading a nomadic life.
Shivani’s stories are told as such - as she has heard from the horse’s mouth. There are no embellishments, no author’s license and no intention to titillate / thrill the reader.
I could compare it to Jeffery archer’s attempt to tell the stories of the prison inmates. But while Archer is a story teller, Shivani reports the facts.
These 16 stories are true stories and not based on a true story is what the author says.
The author Shivani spent a considerable amount of time in the women’s prison for understanding the past of the inmates and their provocation for committing the crime.
I found the earth eating Muggi quite interesting- her story is like a Bollywood movie which doesn’t end in sorrow. She was in cohorts with her sister & brother in law and would con men into marrying her. Once she would gather enough money out of her husband she would scoot and start afresh. In her 15 marriage, she fell in love and refused to go the usual route. The police catch up with her and she is sentenced to prison but in this case her husband and MIL eagerly await her homecoming.
Chanuli is another woman in the cell due to circumstances. Her husband goes for war and doesn’t return. She refuses to believe that he is dead and continues to wear the signs of marriage. One day, fed up of the taunts of villagers, she just throws the sickle in her hand intending to wound but ends up killing the woman. She ends up in jail. In true movie style, her husband returns. He keeps in touch with her and fights to reduce her sentence. Eventually he marries someone else and Chamuli now has no joy inspite of the upcoming end of her sentence.
Vaishnavi’s is an astonishing story. She has taken the courage to push her husband and cruel Motehr in law over the edge of the cliff but she has decided to pay for her sins by giving up all worldly pleasures.
Madhu Ben has driven her ailing husband to death by instilling the fear of Yama into his mind. To atone her sins she comes to a far of village and insists that her husband has taken birth here. As per a foretelling, she is supposed to put the baby’s feet on her head and ask for forgiveness.
Cheated into getting married to the much older brother rather than the younger one, Janaki has her revenge
The stories are very well written and touched my heart in a strange fashion. One elarns that criminals become so owing to circumstances and perhaps the law that is meant to be objective does not get into intent and thereby may unfairly judge on someone who may be driven by circumstances to commit murder.