Silence As Communication
Lakshmi Kannan
MAI: SILENTLY MOTHER by Geetanjali Shree Thornbird, Niyogi Books, 2018, 224 pp., 395
February 2018, volume 42, No 2

Firstly, the spartan simplicity of the titlemai, (all in lower case), is an intuitively accurate choice. It has a generic resonance that touches a chord in the reader. Next, the opening line ‘We always knew that mother had a weak spine’ makes us wonder if the pun is intended. She ‘must narrate mai’, declares the daughter Sunaina, and the minute she decides to, she instantly awakens to the latent power of her frail mai. That she could ‘fill someone up like this, is a shock’, she states. Any narrative on a mother by her daughter gains credibility in proportion to the honesty that one senses in the rendering. mai bristles with all the contradictions, frustrations and exasperating compromises within family relationships. Although she is obsessively fond of her mother, Sunaina doesn’t want to be like her. ‘Mai, who was always giving, was a part of me. But had I not been fighting for my right to take, and not to give? I cannot become another mai. mai herself is a vanishing species…I will fight to death not to be another mai.’

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