Manchuparvatham – Yandamoori Veerendranath

Not too sure when this novel was exactly written but assuming it’s around 1988 based on the content. As always, reading in telugu is such a treat. As such, since it’s very less of telugu I get to read and most of them Yandamoori’s, I love him and his analysis of the characters.

This novel has four main characters – Vishaala, Vyjayanthi, Anuradha, Bhargavi – Friends in Intermediate and agree to meet 15 years later. What happens to them over these 15 years and how intertwined their lives become towards the climax is the plot. Life of a woman – even if she is independent, educated and working – is so dependent upon man and society and as per their rules and hypocrisies. I guess this may have changed now (25 years later) but there are still communities where this mediocrity and immaturity prevails.

Vyjayanthi is a pampered kid and both her parents are doctors. In a way, she is the richest of the four and has been a topper all her life. Her nickname is ‘timid genius’ because she is just a studious girl but may not be brave even to talk. However, after her parents get transferred to New Delhi and she joins a college in Delhi, life is changed forever with the introduction of Avanthi, his father’s colleague’s daughter. Avanthi opens a whole new world for Vyjayanthi – Books, nature, sports, etc. and she just opens her eyes to various things around her – apart from her studious behaviour. Vyjayanthi is a changed person in the next few years and becomes an IPS officer – a popular one instrumental in encountering the dacoits in UP/MP. She believes in her duty and tries to discharge her best without compromise in spite of the pressure from politicians and officers up above. As a result, she gets transferred to the remotest and dangerous places in the country. Undeterred, she tries her best to motivate personnel and continues her duties to make things better.

Vishaala is the typical average middle-class-mentality girl with a lot of jealousy/envy towards others – including her friends. She is an average student and wants a ‘normal’ life which she can boast and ‘show-off’ to others. She gets married to her own relative, Viswam, who turns out to be good but has a ‘weakness’ for other girl. Vishaala refuses to believe that Viswam is wrong but always thinks the ‘other’ woman is the reason for the relationship and however and wherever possible, she tries to please her husband – at times going out of the way. She pampers her husband so much that he is used to everything now. Vishaala devotes her full-time towards her husband that they both neglect their children. Vishaala thinks that she is the ‘aadarsha’ naari who is discharging her duties as a wife religiously and she thinks she is the best. Viswam’s character very conveniently changes arguments to suit the situations and always projects himself as an altruist or intelligent or mature fellow.

Anuradha’s family is a well-to-do family thanks to his father’s hard-working mentality and he being in good position. He has so many responsibilities and all his family members – his brothers and sisters and other family – take him for granted for everything and anything. Anuradha has been noticing this as a kid and she didn’t like the way her parents go way out of their way to appease them all and she noted appallingly that there isn’t even a grain of gratitude from any of those ‘beneficiaries’. She becomes a loner and spends time with nature, books, a bit of music, etc. She falls in love with a guy called Mohan and since she is still a teenager, it makes her blind to think further and when confronted by her parents, she decides to get out of the house and marry Mohan, who is just a car mechanic. But both of them think that their ‘love’ will see them through. Long story short, Mohan turns out to be a drunkard, womanizer and a parasite – living off his wife’s salary. Mohan and their family had expected that her parents would soon welcome her back to the family and give her a major chunk of their wealth but it doesn’t happen, which makes them impatient and mentally torture Anuradha. She tries to improve things as much as possible but it has become hopeless – so she moves out along with her daughters and feels happy to be on her own. She meets Subhash in office, who is an idealist, mature and respects her personality. He proposes that they be married and he would give her a respectable position in society, etc. After giving the matter some thought, Radha refuses to go because she doesn’t want to ‘ruin’ his life. Later on, she is just content with life but under some circumstances, meets Viswam (Vishaala’s husband) and they both have an affair – mostly due to their interests/opinions being same in many things. Intellectual spark, that is. But Anuradha doesn’t completely let Viswam be in her heart and this just remains a physical relationship.

Bhargavi was brought up in a family where her Father is like a hitler. Even though her mother works and earns, every single paise has to be acounted for to her father. He hates girls and woman and like a typical Indian male, thinks that Women shouldn’t be given freedom. With this kind of childhood, Bhargavi, becomes a negative person and hates her father as well as her mother because she doesn’t have the guts to talk against his father or to let him understand that she’s human too. She gets married to SriRam, who is a workaholic and has a lot of inferiority complexes. She is vexed with his behaviour and after several attempts, tries to restore the relationship and after a lot of hardwork, she is successful.

In the climax, Anuradha is murdered by Vishaala when she comes to know about her relationship with her husband, Viswam. Vyjayanthi is the officer dealing with the case and arrests Vishaala. Later on, Bhargavi and Vyjayanthi meet and Vyjayanthi tells Bhargavi what happened. Bhargavi is shocked and distraught. Life moves on…

What I liked in the book was the various analysis of the characters and how they behave and react in different situations. Apart from the pleasure of reading in Telugu, I was impressed by the character Vyjayanthi and especially, the way she moulds her life after interactions with Avanthi in college. Also, how mediocre Vishaala and her life was. Viswam is an opportunist. The sacrifice Anuradha makes in Subhash case.  How Anuradha inspires Bhargavi to re-set her life with husband Sriram, etc.