Sidharth Vardhan

The Palace Walk : A study in Patriarchy and Politics

(A review by Sidharth Vardhanof Palace Walk by Naguib MahfouzFirst written on November 3, 2016) The Cairo trilogy by Naguib Mahfouz is a work of Tolstoyan proportions, drawing a picture of a place during a certain period through its portrayal of a large number of well-developed complex characters. Though mostly it is a story of a joint family, it expands into the political and socio-religious arena of its times. There is a lot more to this book than I will go into this review of its the first installment of the trilogy, Palace Walk. Palace Walk The amorality of the narrator works for me most of the time but sometimes it is really irritating, particularly initially when he is talking about double standards of al-Sayyid Ahmad. When it comes to running his family, Ahmed is quite a traditionalist even for his own times (the 1910s and 1920s) – ‘strict’ (the polite word for oppressive) both as husband and father; so much that his (second) wife, Amina isn’t allowed to leave the house without his permission even after nearly two decades of marriage. When she gives in to the temptation to visit a pilgrimage place in the city (which she hadn’t

Vani

(A short story by Sidharth VardhanFirst written on June 24, 2016) “Papa, Pa-Pa, Pa, Pa” he has rolled the variations of the word;‘Daddy’ or ‘Dad’ too, but he wishes that Vani will call him papa. It has just the right kind of sound to it. It has always felt like a big responsibility – inwardly he still has a lot of mischievousnesses, immaturity in him. ‘Will he make a good father?’This fear has been in him though he hasn’t shown his nervousness to Taruna – not purposefully; it is just that with her around, he just forgets his worries; there has always a reassuring wisdom in her eyes; as if she held a sort of secret, a secret that will ensure their happiness, which she has kept so gracefully from him. Even now, if only she was around, he would rather be focusing on –‘Today I’m going to be the father’ version. But she is not around. She is in operation ward with doctors and he is waiting at the door of the room pacing up and down like a character in his position in a typical Bollywood movie would. He still can’t see her in pain. And especially not in

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