The Nitty Gritties of Marriage

by September 23, 2018 0 comments

Author Mukul Kumar’s book, Seduction by Truth, is an entertaining piece that talks about how marriage often threatens individual identity. Naturally given to offering his readers slice-of-life tales, bureaucrat-author Mukul Kumar seems to be on a quest to solve possibly mankind’s oldest puzzle — marriage. The result is his second novel, Seduction by Truth, which will be released by Bloomsbury, India just before Dussehra in October.

Belonging to the Indian Railway Traffic Service, Mukul is a civil servant of the 1997 batch. In his successful career of 20 years, Kumar distinguished himself from others with his dedication to service in the Indian Railways. He has  been honoured with the National Award for outstanding performance by the Ministry of Railways. The officer takes pride in and draws immense satisfaction from his service. He fondly shares, “Individual efforts, even the small ones, that are aimed at keeping the wheel moving, and helping the huge population reach their destinations fill me with a thrilling sense of service.” Kumar holds a senior and an important position in Northern Railway, Delhi.

Passion and love for literature is something that he has inherited from his father, a professor of English Literature. He would often talk to Kumar about accomplished authors and introduce him to their worlds of imagination when he was enjoying his early school days in Bihar. Poetry came naturally to this little author, then. He started composing poems as early as when he was in Class VIII. His creative sensibilities were first embodied in an anthology of English poems — The Irrepressible Echoes, which was published in 2012 at Nagpur. Kumar had lots of stories to share with the world — stories of young minds, old people, and couples in love. Now, he shares stories of couples struggling with dwindling passion in marriage. Kumar has a penchant for going into the seemingly inaccessible recesses of human psyche, reading the human behaviour and crafting lifelike characters that readers can instantly relate to. His writings show the conflict between individual and society. Philosophy, mythology and poetic style complete the package of Kumar’s writing.

Seduction by Truth is a bold and unorthodox take on marriage. It deals with the dip in passion when the initial gloss of attraction between the spouses dries up after a few years of marriage. It spins a story about what happens after that. Can desire be renewed or is overstepping the bounds of marriage the only panacea for passion? Daringly yet honestly, Kumar has captured the sensitive truths about marriage, adultery, society, and tradition, which many couples grapple with in the modern world.

Dark realities like marital rape and deprivation of sex have been portrayed in a subtle and sensitive manner in this narrative. The author has very diligently tried to study the matrix of sex, love and trust in marriage through the protagonist’s extramarital relations with many women. While writing about adultery, the author adds complexity to the narrative as ideas about revenge, religion, and gender roles also creep into the account. Shiva, the protagonist, calls his journey an act of “intellectual masculinity” even as he struggles with handling the complex emotions emerging in the course. It’s a unique journey which has to do with Shiva’s attempts at ‘winning’ against his adulterous wife and at fulfilling the void of sex in his life. It also deals with Shiva’s need to study the behaviour of other couples in order to understand marriage as a social institution. Eventually, Shiva’s journey takes a spiritual turn when he begins to seek redemption. The novel tries to understand the complexities of marriage, studying the bond between a husband and a wife as distinct individuals. It rethinks accepted ideas and analyses adultery in fresh light. Since the setting of the story involves many countries, the readers get a peep into Hindu, Islamic, and Christian traditions and beliefs about marriage and sex. The narrative travels through the posh suburbs of Delhi, the land of Baku in Azerbaijan, and then through the Renaissance country, Italy.

Through this novel, Kumar has tried to distinguish the woman from a wife, a man from the husband, the extraordinary from the tradition, and the absolute truth from deduced truth. He concludes that there is no absolute truth.   Seduction by Truth gives the woman the centre stage. It argues that she can unapologetically choose to be a woman first, and a wife later.

Writer: The Pioneer

Source: The Pioneer

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