Chathuri Chandrageetha's debut work of fiction reimagines the female strereotypes
As a society, we’re stepping into an era of difficult yet necessary conversations with viral social media movements like #Avalkoppam (I stand with her) and #Metoo. Over the last couple of months, online platforms saw over a million women speaking up on various subjects including unsettling experiences surrounding workplace harassment. But, debutante Chathuri Chandrageetha’s anthology of short stories go beyond these mainstream discussions. Titled Avalumar, this social auditor tuned writer’s work sheds light on aspects like the lives of women factory workers in various parts of India. “They often end up working without basic facilities such as a toilet,” begins Chathuri, adding that the stories are inspired by her own life experiences and the women she met while auditing remote facilities across the country.
Presenting a diverse set of narratives through 16 of her stories, this 28-year-old takes on patriarchy’s vices, one at a time. “From the employer who asks a potential female employee about her family planning practices to the mother doesn’t have the freedom to cook as she pleases, my characters tell different tales,” explains Chathuri. However, she’s adamant about not making victims out of her characters. The women in Chathuri’s stories are bold beings, who aren’t afraid of exercising their free-will and breaking conventions while doing so.“I think we need the female perspective in literature. The characters we have admired so far arethose written for us by men, based on what they like and want to see. It often fails to represent the reality,” shares the author, whose work challenges the very foundations of marriage and family with its sexually liberated protagonists.