A Small-Town Girl
Copyright © Milind Wani, 2012
From India’s urban metropolitan center (New Delhi) to its remote rural hinterland (Sonachura village in West Bengal); from psychological breakdown to emotional healing, from closure to opening of senses, from isolated self-centered concerns to a concern and sense of solidarity for others, from particular to universal; from personal to political; – the narrative of this story records Jhanvi’s journey to reconciliation and self discovery.
Young, lesbian, journalist – but most of all, human – Jhanvi’s world collapses when her lover, the superior, self-assured academic Asmita tells her that she (Jhanvi) is not necessarily her only love, and from thereon begins Jhanvi’s quest for the meaning of her situation.
Yet, this story is not only about Jhanvi’s psychological troubles. Weaved within Jhanvi’s story, is the story of two young girls from India’s rural landscape, who have been lovers and forced to take their own life rather than give in to the demands of social prejudice; Jhanvi’ who goes to Sonachura for investigating the story, can no longer treat the death of the two girls as if they do not impact on her life directly. Instead, she develops a bond of solidarity that goes beyond the tragic death of the two girls. In the process of doing so she heals some of her own wounds and also develops a self-understanding about her place in the world.
About the Author:
Milind Wani is based in Pune, India. After twenty years as a corporate IT executive, he is now working with the NGO Kalpavriksh on ecological conservation and livelihood security of indigenous peoples. He writes occasionally on cinema, media, politics, and the environment, and in his spare time he also writes short and long stories. He is working on a novel, a love story, set during Operation Blue Star in Punjab and the subsequent anti-Sikh climate of the 1980s. He dedicates this story to the memory of Swapna and Sucheta Mondal, on whom it was based, and to the memory of Malini Murmu, a brilliant Santhal girl from Jamshedpur who was pursuing her IIM at Bangalore and who hung herself, apparently because of the humiliation she went through when her boyfriend dumped her on Facebook.