Tip of the Day: MITRO MARJANI by Krishna Sobti

Wife: You never pay attention to my sexual needs. Have you ever asked what I want?

Husband: Look at the way you’re talking. Don’t you have any shame?

Wife: What’s there to be shameful? I’m a wife asking her husband to satisfy her in bed. Don’t you expect the same thing from me?

Husband: It’s natural for me to have the expectation. But you’re a woman. How dare you ask me the same thing?

Seems like a conversation straight out of an out of the box movie today, where the woman is openly stating her desire. Well actually not! Would you believe me if I say that this excerpt has been adapted from a Hindi novel, which was released way back in 1966? This novel was ‘Mitro Marjani’ written by Krishna Sobti.

Its amazing that how decades keep passing by and we keep on dealing with the same issue again & again, that a man has full right to expect sexual gratification in a marriage, but there’s something very unnatural if a woman starts expecting the same. 50 years ago, Krishna Sobti saw this pattern looming large in the society and ended up writing this piece of work from her heart.

Attempting to even take up a subject like this was a bold move in itself in those times. 1960s was an era where we were just coming to terms with our new found independence. An era where the youth of the country were exploring their goals and aspirations. An era where women were expected to make a family and bear children. During such a challenging time, Krishna stepped up and wrote a story about a fearless woman named ‘Mitro’. The story revolves around Mitro’s life at her In-law’s house and her individuality per se. Krishna succeeded in sketching a character who was fearless and who didn’t think twice before voicing out her likes and choices before anybody, even her husband.

The gamble had payed off then and the novel was a huge success. I had read this book years ago and Mitro stayed with me ever since. But finding it in an audio avatar on Storytel a month back got me curious once again. I started listening and finished the entire 3 hour rendition in one go. Narrator Sunita Sharma has done a stupendous job in fusing life into the story.  

I sometimes think that would a woman like Mitro be embraced by society ever? Why is it that a bold woman is accepted in a work of fiction but not in reality? These are questions I have no answers to but can surely say Mitro will live on forever in the hearts of people through Mitro Marjani. Any takers there?

By Ratna Saksena

Read the full Audiobook here: MITRO MARJANI

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