Mini Book Review | One Part Woman by Perumal Murugan
As I write this piece, I'm trying to recollect all those vivid emotions I felt while reading the book. One Part Woman is a beautiful book on marriage and love. Ponna and Kali have been happily married for 12 years, more than content with each other and their idyllic lives in their small village. However, they have one unfulfilled desire. A child. Despite trying hard, Ponna and Kali haven't been able to conceive a child. No amount of prayers, offerings, and pilgrimages have helped the couple with their one single desire. Just because of this, they have become a matter of ridicule in the village. In spite of all these, Kali loves Ponna dearly and no matter what, he wont agree to a second marriage, such is his dedication towards Ponna.
Kali's mother and Ponna's family hatch a plan to send Ponna to the chariot festival where the God Madhorubagan (or Ardhanareeswara) is celebrated. The half woman - half man God. It is said that the Gods descend from the hills on the last day of the festival and takes the body of a man and helps women conceive a child. This is the night when Ponna and Kali's future change and so does their relationship which was so delicately built on trust and love.
This Tamil literature truly is one of a kind. And I know a lot of you have seen this book all over Instagram and have been thinking whether it's worth reading. Believe me, it is! I wish I knew all about the Tamil festivities and cultural nuances so that I could better relate to the book, but it was a great experience learning about it alongside enjoying the simple yet strong plot. As the story moves forward, unraveling bits and pieces of Kali and Ponna's past - their struggles of conceiving a child, and their growing bond as a couple, we as a reader get to peek into these two characters' minds, and finally understanding them in respect to their other half's perspective. It's a beautiful book! Do read it.