Books corner: Bubble Wrap by Kalyani Rao

  • Ambica Gulati

When I read the synopsis of Bubble Wrap, I thought I would be reading Balika Vadhu. The serial has gained so much popularity that any storyline connected to the child marriage immediately takes you there. And Kalyani Rao does mention the serial in passing in her book too. So I can’t be blamed for this thought. But the book is a tale of two sensitive girls, one a newly-wed at 12 and one a widow at 15. Now the ostracised widow, Gudiya, is the newly-wed, Krishna’s, constant companion but does not share the same privileges. She works in the kitchen, does not wear coloured clothes or jewellery, sleeps on the floor and is treated like an outsider. Both are not allowed to study but Gudiya’s hurt gives her a maturity far beyond her age.

This is where the story begins to grip the reader. The little teenager is raped, the women of the house do not want to acknowledge it, and they do not even get her treated. The innocent Krishna is looking after her favourite Gudiya. She does not understand the ways of the cruel adult but she does understand that the girl she loves the most in her new home is hurt and needs her. Gudiya is forced to run away, become a prostitute, is pregnant, does not have a support system except a fat maid who is all out to make money. The young ones land up in Delhi; get caught by a prostitute home owner. And eventually Krishna loses her life to save Gudiya. In short, the tale of two young friends, a system and society which kills innocence and cruel adults who only look at females as selling items. Writers are now focussing on the evils of a society which still hides behind rituals, rites and so called customs.

The storyline is simple, yet the thought behind it profound. The tale is a tale of fragile threads and human bonds. Nothing and nothing ever seems to honour the strength of a woman but all feed upon her frail body and her ability to give pleasure. The book also makes you wonder why all girl trafficking is focussed  along the northern parts of the country.

Each chapter is well packed with some new drama. There is adventure and mishap and eventually death. It’s a sad story with a strong lesson. The evil reside in complacent, decent homes and the good are forever persecuted. 

As a reviewer I have been reading about atrocities on women but what about young boys, males… Why aren’t they ever touched upon and written about? Maybe if that was highlighted we would begin to find a balanced society where all are nurtured on an equal platform. 

Book details
Bubble Wrap by Kalyani Rao
Publisher: Harlequin India
Pages: 184
Price: Rs 250


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