“Fiery-eyed and indignant, they would pen their stories for the whole world to read.”
Nikki lives in West London and serves as a bartender in a local pub. Being a first-generation immigrant she has distanced herself from her traditional Sikh family. But after her father’s death to support her family financially, she takes up a job of teaching creative writing to Punjabi widows in Southall, which is a closely-knit Punjabi community in London. But these classes soon take a different turn altogether. Bonding with the widows Nikki also learns a lot of dark secrets about the community, which sparks another scandal.
As told by Thomas C. Foster, sex in literature is never about sex. It is always a symbol for something else. And here also, all the erotic stories and sexual content is a mere representation of the women taking control of their life and their expression.
Sex is one of the most hushed-up subject in Indian culture. It is often considered scandalous if the young women in the family start talking about sex freely. And for the women of older ages, it is often similar.
Reading this book reminded me of the movie ‘Badhai Ho’ where a middle aged women got pregnant and suddenly it was talk of the town and shame for the family. After certain age women are supposed to give up their sexual desires and live the life of a hermit. And it is more true for widows who are supposed not to feel any passion and desires in life because their husbands are dead. And it doesn’t matter what’s the age of the widows. As if it is her fault that her husband died instead of her and she has to repent for this sin by curbing all her desires.
The book also