An exclusive excerpt from Kalindi (Brahmakanya)- A Novel by Shridhar Vyankatesh Ketkar (Translated by Shanta Gokhale), published by Speaking Tiger Books, 2022.
1. Leaving Home
Intrepid champions of women’s education in the town were deeply grieved to hear Kalindi’s story. What can one say about Kalindi’s parents? They were filled with such disgust at her reckless behaviour that they swore never to see her face again. The townspeople were thrilled to have a spicy titbit to chew over. It is time we provided a full account of what Kalindi did to bring such shame on her family.
Kalindi was studying in the final year for her Bachelor of Arts degree. Her parents fully expected that, when she passed, she would be widely felicitated; that the news would appear in the press and her photograph in illustrated magazines. But now all their expectations were dashed. Kalindi had dropped out of college. That was not all. She had left her parents’ home to live with a merchant named Shivsharanappa as his mistress. Shivsharanappa, a Lingayat by caste, owned a tobacco shop in Bhavani Peth. His car had served to ferry voters when Kalindi’s father had stood for the municipal elections. Kalindi’s parents were naturally furious with Shivsharanappa. But what use was that? They could not even drag him to court for seducing their daughter. She was twenty-one years old after all. We have minted a coin that has turned out false they said to themselves, swallowing their anger in silence.