“Virodhabhasa” is basically a romantic novel woven around primarily a hero like hero Preetham, his other Half Priya..a traditional Indian brought -up wife and her widowed mother, Dheeraja .
Preetham brought -up in American value system, marries Priya and as a typical libertine sans any sober social and cultural values, runs after other women and when caught red handed by his deeply loving and unsuspecting wife,takes divorce from the court to lead a licentious and louche life. His aberrant and freakish ways of indulging in amatory excursions ultimately makes him lonesome, isolated and alienated from the human society. To make his self -inflicted ruined life livable,after a dose of flirtations and frustrations,he seeks solace and diversion in domesticating some pet animals.
What troubles an average reader is Pritham’s irrational and idiotic advocacy of licence to guard his personal space and the legitimisation of his libertarian style of living as airtight compartments away from his married life.
As writer says,there are countless such cases in human history and society, but in no case open justification of such objectionable views and obnoxious practices and vows so overtly and explicitly made. This peculiar characteristic nature of Pritham,takes away the brilliance of his other extraordinarily humane traits.
The character and personality of Pritham, stands as an embodiment of American familial and social institutions,where too much of individuality, personal space and privacy, materialistic and carnal needs are given priority over and above family,marital, conjugal and emotional bonds and relationships. However bad Pritham may be, in his reprehensible cravings for privacy in extra marital relations, he is blessed with some rare qualities like helping his employees unconditionally, respect for dignity of labour,taking total care of his child rearing, utmost care and concern for wife Priya,hard work, fellow feelings, compassionetc.And these make his identity most endearing and adorable and gains readers’sympathy too.
As Priya, Pritham’s wife brought up in the traditional, socio cultural ideals of time -honoured Indian family mores,finds it preposterous and perversional in the unethical behaviour of her husband Pritham and accepts the divorce though she is ready to forgive him, for the second time, if there was any penitential realisation and honest resipiscency on the part of Pritham.. which she as a typical Indian woman expects of her guilty husband, to save the sacred,indissoluable and indissociable marriage. But gets shocked over Pritham’s remorselessness.
Priya and Pritham are diametrically bipolar zones in values and worldviews. The clashes and contradictions have no viable middle path for a reliable solution and the disgregation was inevitable and ineluctable.
Priya as a deceived mother of two kids,forced divorcee and as a professional medical practitioner is right in accepting Vikram as her life partner in her second marriage in the interests of the future of the battered children.
The role of Dheeraja as the mother of Priya and support for her in times of trials and tribulations and bringing up of the second child as her own daughter is a realistic situation in most of the families in India in such circumstances as Priya is in.
The depiction siblings’ rivalry for attention, mutual jealousies, emotional disturbances, adjustments,(mis)understandings, reconciliations,compromises, accommodation, confusion as to who’s mother father and uncle …are the burning issues which have a devastating impact on the growing children,staring at the American and western societies for a healthy, scientific and lasting solution…. may hit other developing third world societies sooner or later.
The Idea to go for second marriage on the suggestion of Pritham, son- in -law, is reflective of the socio cultural changes in the closed and conservative Indian society,where widowed and lonely women and men, of late are seeking companionship to avoid helpless and hopeless isolation and for emotional support in the face of alienation.
The role of unmarried Siddhartha,a decent and dynamic lecturer-colleague in the same college, who dreams to marry Dheeraja, is a great twist in the novel. When he wanted to marry her, she was hesitant,uncertain or in Hamletian to be or notto be dilemma and when she hastens to accept the hand of Siddharth,well after asking him to marry someone else as she decides to stay with her daughter in US it was too late.He gets engaged to another woman… a tragic and unexpected twist and turn that creates suspense and sympathy for the hapless Dheeraja.
The court scene and the cross examination of Pritham, and the attitudes and outlook of Pritham towards family, privacy, marital obligations,conjugal sanctity, fidelity are culturallyoutlandish and shocking even to the liberal,open and permissive American society.
Pritham stands for unbelievable extremes in personality traits, seeking creatic pleasures without and finding wife’s natural jealousies and womanly possessiveness as unwarranted and intolerable intrusions into his reckless freedom and unchristian liberty,loving wife and child without any reservations and yet expecting his consort not to question his sensuous orgies outside connubial relations… speak for his split personality and sickening social ethics.
The care and concern for child care in divorce cases in American legal system and services is highly humane, progressive and responsive as shown in the novel.
The art, craft and science of child -rearing, professional brought -up,the hyper sensitive problems pertaining to children that crop up in the divorced cases, the psychological and emotional disturbances, the role of near or dear are all scientifically and educatively dealt with in the characters of wayward Pritham, grandma Dheeraja, Vikram and Siddhartha and are riveting and rosy aspects of the novel.
The sum and substance of the undeclared message of the novel it seems… life is an undecipherable puzzle and governed by innumerable factors from psycho-somatic to socio cultural to circumstantial to existential and myriad other causative agencies.
Pritham is a victim of many factors and Priya is successful because of her socio cultural values, and in spite of idealism and ideals, Siddhartha is victim of existential circumstances and the same idealistic Vikram is a winner circumstantially.
Each life has its own unique identity …positive or negative or a mixture of both.
The novel is richly laced with pregnant and constitutive sentences… ” Kathi dinchina chetulu,Kathi digabadda dehaalu,nindutula vakalthaalu, baadhitula pakshaalu( Court is a place where stabbers,stabbed, advocates on behalf of victims and perpetrators)Ashaanthi ranguthoshaanthini saadhinche nallakotu saastravettalu(black robed advocates for the victory of peace)throughout the novel and makes it an un-put-downable !
The author Ms Jhansi Koppisetty, a well read, knowledgeable, established and scholarly writer with two post graduational degrees in Telugu and English literaturessays somewhere in the book that she is enamoured of the beauty of the sentence, but,for any lay reader or a literateur her “sentences”(prose)are out and out are “lines” poetic, rhythmic and lyrical in diction. Her novel is highly musical, and magical in the presentational techniques and the alliterative and assonantal style of lingual flow of the novel is awesome and arresting.
The heel of Achilles of any literary genre brought out after painful and careful proof reading in the print form is literals…. and the novel under review is no exception, in spite of commendable and visual friendly fonts and glossy paper,the novel carries its meed of typos on page no. 70 and 71 and as such disturb the smooth and suasive readability .
The medicalese germane to fertility, and technical jargon here and there though act as barriers, don’t spoil the subtext of the novel.
A critical assessment and scholarly analysis of the novel by well-known literateur Dr. C. Mrinalini and the learned and erudite interpretation by the scholar-critic Vamsy Krishna are additional ornaments of the novel.
The title of the book by any benchmark is its unique identity and strength and paradoxically it is equally a distraction, since it is prima facie a discouragingly unappreciated word.
The cover page of the novel is richly meaningful the design by Brahmam Bhavana Grafix is paradoxically symbolic.
Writer Ms Jhansi Koppisetty deserves kudos and appreciation for her elevating and enlightening master literary piece.
Review: Nakka Sudhakar Rao
Title of novel : VIRODHABHASA(Paradox)
Writer : Ms Jhansi Koppisetty.
Publisher:Palapitta Books, Hyderabad.