Githanjali’s book of short stories, The Rock That Was Not, deals with Indian women who are striving hard to stay afloat in wedlock, while claiming their own identity. Marriage becomes a tool for patriarchy to suppress their identity. Unfortunately, for millions of Indian girls the ultimate ‘goal’ of their life is still to get married at a ‘marriageable age’ irrespective of who they may be getting married to.
The title of the book is taken from the first story titled ‘The Rock That Was Not’ where Prathima the protagonist undergoes a silicon implant to enhance her non-existent breasts as they fail to satisfy her husband Ashok. ‘Her husband got the artificial pouches fixed in her body like trophies on a wall because she did not have those lumps of flesh’ (p. 14) She goes through a traumatic journey all through her life due to these foreign objects inside her body. After she is detected with breast cancer, Prathima emerges to be a ‘new woman’ by her positive will to regain control of her body.
In ‘Offering’ Malanbi is married at an early age to a man double her age, and her life is a living hell. She does all that a dutiful and obedient wife does but is tortured by her abusive husband. She has no one to express her agony to but her daughter Tabassum. When detected with tumour and advised by the doctor to get her uterus removed, she pleads to her womanizer husband not to marry again after her operation (p. 29). The protagonist of the story ‘Nymphomaniac’ is Rudra who feels trapped in her home and loveless marriage. She is the mother of two grown up children, Neha and Karthik. Rudra tolerates the waywardness of her children and the womanizing of her artist husband Nagesh. ‘Same loneliness! Was that my life! Did I take birth to play my roles as mother and wife, face abuse and humiliation, fulfil their needs and serve these three throughout my life?’ (p. 50). Yet, when she falls in love with a stranger called Madhu, she is reminded about her duties as a wife and being a mother of two.