Narratives Of Culture And Gender
Jasbir Jain
ARYA AND OTHER STORIES by Chandrika Balan Orient BlackSwan, Hyderabad, 2015, 128 pp., 280
April 2015, volume 39, No 4

Chandrika Balan’s collection of short stories is a rich addition to the multicultural and multilingual reality of our times. The volumes of translated fiction from Indian languages that BlackSwan has been bringing out in recent years open out a whole new world. This shift from the narratives of the margins to a larger context is more than welcome. How does the modern educated woman of our times negotiate the continued conflict between traditional family constructs and her individual desires is an ongoing theme in women’s narratives, but Balan opens out this negotiation in various directions—the very traditional, the docile, the indifferent, the rebellious, and the independent—each one of them makes her position clear. Nowhere does a protagonist ask for outside intervention, nowhere is there the abandonment of an individual stand even if it is frustrated.

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