'A Stench of Kerosene' written by Amrita Pritam, portrays the
consequences of the strong influence of Indian culture in a village,
which destroys a couple's marriage. Manak and Guleri have been happily
married for eight years.
The story opens to give the reader an insight into Guleri's
homesickness. "Whenever Guleri was home-sick she would take her
husband, Manak and they would go up to the top of the hill. 'She would
see the homes of Chamba (her home village) twinkling in the sunlight
and would come back, her heart glowing with pride'. This passage
illustrates a happy couple in love, turning to each other for comfort.
However the reader is given an impression of Guleri's imprisonment by
her village customs and culture. Only 'once every year, after the
harvest had been gathered in, Guleri was allowed to spend a few days
with her parents'
They would send a man to collect and bring her back to her own
village. The story begins with Guleri recognising the neighing of the
mare. She ran out of her in-law's house and put her head against her
neck as if it were a door to her father's house! Doing this would
relieve her from her homesickness. Pritam show sympathy for Guleri's
homesickness, as she is cut-off from her family and there's no one
apart from Manak to relieve her and comfort her.
Because of the village culture her freedom has been taken away from
her. Due to her homesickness one would assume that she would be
allowed to stay at her home a reasonable period of time, but this
isn't the case as she is only allowed to stay for a 'few days'. To add...
... middle of paper ...
father's lap'. It was likely that her prediction will comes true
seeing as she was able to manipulate her son and plan the destruction
of his marriage and future. Manak accepted this due to the influence
of his custom, of respect ones mother and doing what she says.
The baby boy was placed in 'Manak's lap, he stared' at his son. 'He
stared a long time uncomprehending, his face expressionless. Then
suddenly his blank eyes filled with horror, 'take him away' he
shrieked hysterically, and 'he stinks of kerosene'. The author depicts
the dreadful story of Manak and Guleri who were both imprisoned by
their village custom, which led to disbelief circumstances. The
village customs back fired on Manak's mother, having children is a
gift but not necessarily the key to happiness when love and happiness
is already evident.
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