In the two bold and gripping novellas brought together in this volume, the inimitable Ismat Chughtai writes of subversive womenâ€”subversive in unexpected waysâ€”as they experience romantic and sexual desire, defy societal restrictions, struggle, scheme and sometimes court tragedy.Obsession (Saudai), deals with one of Chughtaiâ€™s favourite themes, the â€˜master-servantâ€™ romanceâ€”in this case, two brothers, sons of a feudal household, in love with the same orphan girl. And Wild Pigeons (Jungli Kabutar)â€”based on the experiences of a famous Bollywood personalityâ€”probes the theme of infidelity, dissecting the emotions not only of the partner who is betrayed but also the one who betrays.In Chandni and Abida, the main protagonists of the novellas, Chughtai gives us two of the strongest women in Indian fictionâ€”clever, self-willed, flawed and, in the end, far braver than the men in their lives.
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