I was once reading in Heidelberg, when a German woman claimed that the only reason I could write so realistically about Kilvenmani was because I was there! And I was like, no, I was born like nearly two decades later – and she was like, no, you were there, you were there. It was your previous birth. I don’t know what to say when someone throws the idea of reincarnation in my face – but it taught me something. You can write about anything, and people will assume that it is about you, and find ways to believe that it is indeed about you.Having said that, this novel is shamelessly informed by my own experience. This is not the exact way in which things happened – my mind had blocked out a lot of the sadness and unpleasantness and trauma, possibly as coping mechanisms. But this is how I remember them, and this is how the form of a novel allows me to give memory some coherence. It was to allow any reader to imagine herself in the shoes of the narrator, I left my narrator unnamed, undescribed even. She could be any woman. The specifics, the manifestations, the exact words may vary from one abusive marriage to another – but the woman’s experience of subjugation, humiliation, obliteration and pain largely remain the same.
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