One Part Woman signifies the God who we call “Ardhnariswar” meaning half man and half woman. It signifies that the world is incomplete without the very existence of both man and woman. And without them the world cannot sustain. One Part Woman is a book written by Perumal Murugan depicting one of the biggest issues of modern day — Infertility. Its a story about a rural couple working as a farmer in Southern Part of India where the woman failed to conceive even after 12 years of nuptial bliss.
The book shows the very pain the couple goes through when they are taunted by almost everyone in the village starting from immediate family members to neighbors and friends to outcasting them in every auspicious occasions just because they failed to produce an heir. If they retaliate people stop speaking to them. The taunts were provocative enough to cause grief to the already grieved. And they seem to be at fault if anything goes wrong. If the crops doesn’t yield good harvest it is because a “barren” woman has planted them. Barren or “baaj” as we call in our local language applies to the woman who don’t have a child. The entire book deals with the humiliation and they innumerable offerings to temples to satisfy God and get his blessings. They leave no stone unturned in this process. The ending is not smooth neither does it ends in a happy or positive note.
Ponna and Kali were married for 12 years and from the first month of her marriage she is expecting not to menstruate but everytime she does and cries at the barn. Things doesn’t get change to the slightest even after repeated and numerous offerings to the temples. And finally Ponna was made to sleep with another man just to see if the problem was with her or Kali. And that thing was considered sacred among the villagers as it was a part of monthly festival.
The book is a good read with a very captivating way of writing but the story loses its sheen at the end. The same humiliation spoken in different ways but doesn’t show any way out. Infertility is no doubt is as grave and as emotionally draining disease where human have absolutely less control. It definitely questions 2 persons their motives of existence. As if you were born to give birth and if you fail you are no human.
Apart from Inertility the book shows the importance of education. At least I believe it to be so. If they were educated they would have consulted a doctor. And not keep doing rounds of temples. Also the people around them would have been considerate on these matters. Lack of education,knowledge adds to their woes.
Personally saying I was disappointed at the end. The end wasn’t half as beautiful as the beginning, The author could have shown how the couple overcame their curse. The word “curse” was used in the book but in general Infertility is not a curse. Its same as Cancer, Heart problems where you can only try to keep things under control but not cure it completely. Probably the author wanted to show that not every couple have kids and that results in the breaking of marriage. The years of trust, love breaks just because you don’t produce a child. Again would have loved had the couple showed strength of character and dealt with situation firmly and positively.