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SEARCH FOR SELF IN ANITA NAIRS NOVEL

**K.A.Agalya,Research and Development Centre, Bharathiar University, Coimbatore, Asst Prof & Head, Dept of English Sri Vasavi College (Self-Finance Wing), Erode-639316 ** Dr. Mahalakshmi Anna Universityof Technology Coimbatore..

On reading post-modernism English novelists in Indian Literature, one can get shocked by the way Anita Nair would have taken her Novel. . Both intellectuals and sociologists regard Indian society as a traditionally male-dominated one where individual rights are subordinated to group or social role expectations. Woman has often been a victim of male oppression and treated like a beast of burden. As a result, womans individual self has very little recognition and selfeffacement is the only course left to her. Indian woman has traditionally succumbed to this hierarchy, accepted her position and lived with it for ages. In her novels, she depicts all kinds of characters and explains how her characters are alienated from one another and from society. Her concentration is exclusively on the womens feeling and thoughts, and their search for self identity. Being a contemporary Indian writer, she talks about her characters self analysis and self understanding through and which they explore their self identity. Anita Nairs major themes are of social treatment, human relationships, particularly that of man and woman, their loneliness and lack of communication. An in depth study of her novels proves that she is mainly inclined to probe the womans psyche. In her novels, the reader is brought face to face with the legitimate longings, dreams, hopes, fears, disappointments and the traumatic experience that have been faced by a lot of women. Women, generally in the Indian concept, are growing like a plant with thorns. Here thorns refer to male dominated society. She has signaled that her book is a novel in parts and indeed, she seems more adept at stringing together a collection of short stories than in going for the long haul. In Ladies Coupe Nair's characters are singularly life-affirming. Though they do not confess their life stories publicly to each other, while sitting in what used to be a regular feature of rail journeys, the "ladies compartment" or coupe of the title, the manner in which she has them sharing their experiences with the protagonist, Akila or Akilandeswari, as she becomes towards the end, assuming her full potential as a woman, quite often sounds like a female version of Alcoholics Anonymous. Akila has never done anything for herself as she has been working her butt off to support her father-less family. She has been so busy that she had no time to even contemplate marriage. When finally she does like a person, she finds him too young for her. Her life takes a turn when she decides to take a break, alone, and finds herself traveling in this Ladies Coupe. All the experiences of her travel mates change the way she thinks and she sheds her old self and transforms into a new confident person. The main premise seems to be the fact that a woman needs company but not with all the strings attached which is perfectly all right. She needs her freedom too. Nair conveys her protagonists' dilemmas with a freshness and charm that makes her story more than just the predictable feminist homily it might appear. She is particularly good on the domestic details such as lazy Sunday lunches, a family row, the sights, sounds and smells of a busy railway station, which make up her characters' lives. These give her writing a sharpness and immediacy that lifts it above the commonplace. This coupe becomes the backdrop for Anita Nair's book. The story is told in first person by Akila, the protagonist, her story is contrasted with that of five other women in the coupe. Some stories are sad (especially that of the last narrator who was raped and subsequently ostracized from her community), others are rather funny (like the one where the wife figures out that the Achilles heel of her fit-and-trim husband is food, and cooks delicious food for him so he become obese because (1) he is a terribly malicious, petty, and evil person, and (2) this is the only way she knows how to get back at him.) suppose the intent of these stories is to assuage Akila's self-pity, but towards the end of the novel, one get the feeling that Akila is simply one of those people who think that martyring oneself is the only way to give pleasure to those you love (or at least are supposed to take care of). Ladies Coupe is a novel whose long-range impact doesn't sustain the intensity of its first reading" A woman should be attractive, but at the same time not too headstrong which can be seen

as unattractive. A woman should be a goddess for the men to worship, but still have some grotesque sides within her in order to show human characteristics. A woman should be obedient (tamed) but also rebellious (untamed) to some extent. Literary critics have interpreted the girls in several different ways: as lesbians, as the two halves of a single person, and as representations of the dichotomy between good and evil. The ambiguity of these two characters allows for infinite speculation, but regardless of how the reader interprets the relationship their bond is undeniable. The work a person does can define who that person is. Everyone needs an outlet and if a person is not given equal opportunity to explore the work that they would like, this can be very damaging to a person's being. In their life, at one point or another, people deny to themselves and others what they really feel and what really happened. Some people go on living their lives the way they should. Reference Primary source: Anita Nair, Ladies Coupe, New Delhi: Penguin, 2001 Secondary source: Anees Jung; Unveiling India (Penguin Books, Delhi, 1987, p.26. Shyam M.Asnani, Critical Response to Indian English Fictions, (Mittal Pub. Delhi 2985), p.80. In Conversation With Anita Nair: January 28th, 2007 Meenakshi Mukherjee, Women Creative Writers in Indian English Literature, Between Spaces of Silence: Women Creative Writers, ed. Kamini Dinesh (New Delhi: Sterling, 1994,15) Jasbir Jain, Gender and Narrative Strategy, Between Spaces of Silence 33.