Divya Dubey reviews Shikhandin’s Impetuous Women (Penguin, 2021) and observes how the stories in this collection offer the readers enough variety.
Impetuous Women is the second collection of short stories by the writer Shikhandin – the pen name under which she writes – and which also suggests dissociation from either gender, following from The Mahabharata. The first compilation, Immoderate Men, was published by Speaking Tiger in 2016. Both collections are complementary to each other and together make a composite whole. While the former collection focuses on men and their intemperance, whims, and self-indulgence – sometimes leading to self-realization, the latter is completely and unapologetically about modern-day strong women and the myriad ways in which they fight their daily battles. Some stories out of this collection have been published before in different publications in India and abroad.
All the sixteen tales bring to the fore women protagonists of different ages, mostly from ordinary middle-class families, in tricky situations. Not all of them are pitted against men and patriarchy. Some, such as Dimple in ‘Taste’, or Liese in ‘Just Desserts’, or Miz Tiga in ‘Miz Tiga Does Not Play Holi, or Amma in ‘The Amma Who Took French Leave’, or Peace in ‘Patchwork,’ are victims of their circumstances, at times, pitted against people of their own gender or trapped in an impossible situation. They also hail from varied backgrounds.