Gopika is unapologetic about not being bound by conventions and comfortable with her physicality. She listens to and understands her body, and a woman’s body is not about sexual gratification, it is many more experiences.
The most wonderful part about the book is the bond that Gopika shares with her grandmother. Of all the women in her life – her sister, mother, friends – her grandmother is the one who is possibly her soul mate. They share a warm camaraderie, indulging in leg-pulling, but also sharing some soul-searching moments. Sample this. When Gopika confides in her grandmother that she’s looking for a husband, grandma retorts:
‘That ain’t no secret. You have been looking for a guy since you were sixteen.’
Imagine a grandma who also shares sexual confidences with her granddaughter. A bit crazy perhaps, a bit irreverent, but also funny and warm. Like the tone of the book. Gopika invites the reader to join her in her journey and gradually casts a spell on you as you journey along.
Read the complete book review of A Grasshopper's Pilgrimage here, written by Irene Dhar Malik.
Irene is a film Editor (Sorry Bhai), novelist, online writer, and film reviewer. She mostly writes for a website called 4IndianWomen.
Irene and I go back a long time. We were classmates in the Film Institute. She once 'rescued' me from spending hours in the toilet.
place: Ftii girls hostel, 1st floor toilet.
date: holi, 1990
'Irene, help me out of here.' I yelled.
I was not locked in. I simply couldn't find the door, or the latch.
'Calm down, Manju. Are you standing or sitting?' She was so smart, even then.
'Am Standing. Straight.' I replied, glad to hear the authority in her voice.
Turn right.' she said. I obeyed.
'What do you see?' she asked.
'A white wall. It's beautiful.'
'Good. Turn right again. What do you see?'
'The toilet flush. It ain't so beautiful as the white wall.'
'Good. Now turn right again.'
'White wall. It's so beautiful.'
'A yellow door!'
'Great. You can see the latch? Open it.'
'Irene! You are so beautiful! '
'And you are such an idiot.' she said, but let me hug her.
I don't have to tell you, but some of you might be uninitiated. It was my first bhang experience.