Literature+Fiction,  Women in Books

Bakula Flower- Sudha Murty’s Characterisation #AtoZChallenge

She was like the Bakula flower. The flower all plain and unattractive yet has a divine fragrance. When the tree is in bloom, they form a carpet on the ground beneath it. Even as they wither away, their mild fragrance remains.

-Sudha Murthy in Gently Falls the Bakula

What could be extraordinary about Srimathi? Well, she is intelligent, charming and is passionate about quite a few things in life. She is keen on pursuing research studies, yet she gives it all up for the one man she loves the most- Shrikant. But surely this doesn’t make her any different, for most women in our society, have to make that one big choice- career versus home. Then what’s that one factor in Shrimati? What is that one quality Gently Falls the Bakula brings out loud and clear?

A classic Sudha Murty book

Sudha Murty’s book often may seem rather too simple. I agree that they aren’t great pieces of literature, yet there is that element of honesty and simplicity with an underlying message in her writing. And that’s why I enjoy reading her books and appreciate her characterization.

Shrimati and Shrikant are neighbors and top performers in their school. Thus, it doesn’t come much as a surprise when they both come first and second respectively in their final board exams. Shrikant falls in love with the simple yet charming Shrimati, and they tie the knot together. Soon, the ambitious Shrikant joins an IT company. He works relentlessly to reach great heights in his profession. On the other hand Shrimati abandons her own aspirations to become a pillar behind Shrikant, supporting him in every endeavor. And slowly as Shrikant rises to the top, Shrimati realizes that her existence in life remains a mere shadow.

“Ugly ducklings often turn into beautiful swans when they are tested.”

A marriage without purpose is going to get you nowhere

From a time when all that mattered to her was Shrikant’s companionship and his happiness, Shrimati starts to realize that her life isn’t going anywhere and, that it revolves just around her husband. Lost and lonely, she picks up the loose threads and takes that one big decision most women hesitate to do. She walks out of her marriage, without any fear of what society would have to say about it.

It is Shrimati’s decision not to succumb to societal pressures, of dragging on a marriage, when its purpose is lost. Instead, she walks out of it. She walks out to a whole new beginning away from the dismally empty one.

This post is a part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge where I write about twenty six women characters from books, who have left an impact on me. You can read the previous posts here- Women in Books

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45 Comments

  • Reema D'souza

    I’ve read this book and I couldn’t agree more with what you said. I love how this book speaks about the importance of making one’s choices instead of wondering what the society has to say. I like the characters in Sudha Murthy’s books. She’s an alumnus of my college. So our college library had a lot of copies of her books.

  • Nayantara Hegde

    I agree that Sudha Murthy’s writing is too simple and easy going. However her stories are so real and I can relate to so many of them. I have read this book many years ago. It brought back memories .. the image of the green cover and the white bakula flowers.

  • Akshata Ram

    I totally loved this book. Also if you have read Sudha Murthy’s “ Mahashweta” it greatly appealed to me. What I adore the most about sudha ma’am is her simplicity and honesty which shines in her writing. Many may consider it as too simple but for me the profound messages like in this book have always left a lasting impression

  • Lavanya

    I was unaware of this book but the plot is the quintessential question of our times – are we the perfect bahu, the perfect daughter and yet disconsolate? Or can we just be ourselves? Nice review.

  • Anagha Yatin

    Life should be given second chance is what it tells us, isnt it Ramya? No matter what stage of life it might be…
    I have read this book and after finishing it felt so empowered by the thought of being kind to self and letting the inner voice guide.

  • Natasha

    That seems like one very interesting read. Love the opening lines about the Bakula flower. I love Sudha Murthy for her simple yet honest writing.
    You captured the essence of the book so beautifully. Thanks Ramya.

    April Anecdotes
    Burden or Unburden

  • writershilpa

    I did come across this book the other day on my visit to my bookshop. And, I thought it had this very autobiographical angle to it. Now, I see it is a lot different than what I imagined! WIll add this to my TBR, too!
    Thank you, Ramya!

  • Varsh

    Dollar Bahu, Mahashweta had women characters in strong roles. Sudha Murthy does have a way with words. The simplicity in her writing sets her apart. I’m curious about this book though. Doesn’t she to talk to her husband and demonstrate her wish to make something of herself? Was walking out the only option? Guess I’ll have to read the book to find out.

    • Ramya Abhinand

      Sometimes demonstrating a wish may be a futile option, if the other ide is seldom reciprocal. WAlking out may seem to be the best option

  • pythoroshan

    I love her style of writing. As you mentioned, it’s simple but sometimes simple is what is needed to. Convey the message. Think of Eric Segals Love Story.

  • Shalini🌻 (@kohleyedme)

    Why haven’t I read her yet? I know what a great author she is and I’m surprised I haven’t read even a single book of hers. I’m ordering it today! Phew. Thanks, Ramya.
    B at Kohl Eyed Me
    B at Something’s Cooking

  • Sejal Khanna

    I had decided on reading 12 books this year (a rather low target but was a target nonetheless). Now i think I’ll end up reading 26 by the end of this year! Keep them coming Ramya.

  • Nibha

    This is interesting! I have been always an admirer of Sudha Murthy, her simplicity and her perception of life! Very inspiring and down to earth stories.

  • Tarang

    Yes, her writing is too simple. I’m not a fan of Sudha Murty’s writing, however I remember I liked Mahashweta (read many years back).

    Gently Falls the Bakula seems interesting. Adding it to my TBR list. You are crafting your posts nicely. 🙂

    • Ramya Abhinand

      Agree with you Tarang, her writing isnt any great piece.. Ut often sounds like someone is talking to you. But you know there are days when I like that tone too. its sort of down to earth, and i find a warmth in her characters, and thats when I feel her storytelling is like as though someone is seated by my side narrating a tale 🙂

  • Shalzmojo

    I am so glad I read this review today; been contemplating reading Sudha Murty’s books for a long tiime. Your honesty in saying they are not the greatest piece of literature is simply what has made me decide to pick up one soonest – prob this one!!

  • Mayuri Nidigallu

    Yes, Sudha Murty’s books may seem simple, but writing simply is the toughest thing to do. I admire the fact that her women protagonists are always strong and not over the top.
    Another balanced review, Ramya.

    • Ramya Abhinand

      Thank YOu Mayuri.. She is simple in her writing, and I like most of her books because of this one reason.

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