Water by Bapsi Sidhwa
I found my original receipt in this book. I bought it April 26 2007. I remember buying it because I was bored and Mr. was working or at a friends house for another hour or so. And I needed something quick to read. At that time I was maybe read two or three books a year.
I don't think the characters, except for Gandhiji, are actual people. But the events and such are definitely based on truth. It is such a sad horror that someone would put their own kind, their own blood through the horrors the widows in this story go through. Chuyia is our main character, and how I wish I could see the colours and food describe at her wedding! I also very much want to try a Laddoo! My favorite part in the entire book is when Chuyia gives Bua the laddoo and the feelings Bua feels while eating it.
Kalyani is my favorite character along with the endearing Kaalu. To have the strength to survive forced prositition so that her fellow widows can live better is amazing. The end of her story really came as a shock and I just can not imagine how she survived as long as she did. I also don't know how Narayan can live after meeting Kalyani. If he didn't become a major activist against the treatment of widows after that I would be sorely disappointed.
While I know Madhumati lived through some terrible things, she should have taken a different approach instead of using the widows like she was used. I think it has something to do with the way she grew up, as a spoiled child who got anything and so she just took advantage of the faith and belief of the widows and destroyed them even more. The one thing I don't get is why she would cut of Kalyani's hair? Not only does that majorly affect Kalyani but by doing so destroys Madhumati's business.
And lastly Shakuntala decision is the best one in the book and I really hope it worked out for all parties involved.