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The renowned author Bapsi Sidhwa and the equally renowned filmmaker Deepa Mehta share a unique artistic relationship: Mehta adapted Sidhwa’s novel Cracking India for her brilliant film Earth, and here, Sidhwa adapts Mehta’s controversial film Water to the printed page. Set in 1938, against the backdrop of Gandhi’s rise to power, Water follows the life of eight-year-old Chuy The renowned author Bapsi Sidhwa and the equally renowned filmmaker Deepa Mehta share a unique artistic relationship: Mehta adapted Sidhwa’s novel Cracking India for her brilliant film Earth, and here, Sidhwa adapts Mehta’s controversial film Water to the printed page. Set in 1938, against the backdrop of Gandhi’s rise to power, Water follows the life of eight-year-old Chuyia, abandoned at a widow’s ashram after the death of her elderly husband. There, she must live in penitence until her death. Unwilling to accept her fate, she becomes a catalyst for change in the widows’s lives. When her friend Kalyani, a beautiful widow-prostitute, falls in love with a young, upper-class Gandhian idealist, the forbidden affair boldly defies Hindu tradition and threatens to undermine the ashram’s delicate balance of power. This riveting look at the lives of widows in colonial India is ultimately a haunting and lyrical story of love, faith, and redemption.


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The renowned author Bapsi Sidhwa and the equally renowned filmmaker Deepa Mehta share a unique artistic relationship: Mehta adapted Sidhwa’s novel Cracking India for her brilliant film Earth, and here, Sidhwa adapts Mehta’s controversial film Water to the printed page. Set in 1938, against the backdrop of Gandhi’s rise to power, Water follows the life of eight-year-old Chuy The renowned author Bapsi Sidhwa and the equally renowned filmmaker Deepa Mehta share a unique artistic relationship: Mehta adapted Sidhwa’s novel Cracking India for her brilliant film Earth, and here, Sidhwa adapts Mehta’s controversial film Water to the printed page. Set in 1938, against the backdrop of Gandhi’s rise to power, Water follows the life of eight-year-old Chuyia, abandoned at a widow’s ashram after the death of her elderly husband. There, she must live in penitence until her death. Unwilling to accept her fate, she becomes a catalyst for change in the widows’s lives. When her friend Kalyani, a beautiful widow-prostitute, falls in love with a young, upper-class Gandhian idealist, the forbidden affair boldly defies Hindu tradition and threatens to undermine the ashram’s delicate balance of power. This riveting look at the lives of widows in colonial India is ultimately a haunting and lyrical story of love, faith, and redemption.

30 review for Water

  1. 5 out of 5

    Nusrat Mahmood

    I cried thrice while reading this heartbreaking ,heart wrenching piece. It gives a picture of Hindu widows and their miserable lives. how they are forced to choose a path of self deprivation in their tender ages. just go through it. read the book and then watch the movie. a very good adaption of the book. though I am little confuse about the casting of JOHN ABRAHAM as Narayan. I swear after reading the book if anyone listen to the songs of the movie adaption, he/she would cry an ocean. the read I cried thrice while reading this heartbreaking ,heart wrenching piece. It gives a picture of Hindu widows and their miserable lives. how they are forced to choose a path of self deprivation in their tender ages. just go through it. read the book and then watch the movie. a very good adaption of the book. though I am little confuse about the casting of JOHN ABRAHAM as Narayan. I swear after reading the book if anyone listen to the songs of the movie adaption, he/she would cry an ocean. the reader can relate the lyrics with the story after reading it so perfectly that it aches in the heart.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Nashwa S

    She ceased to exist as a person; she was no longer daughter or daughter-in-law. While I initially gave this book four stars, I'm bumping it up to five stars. Why, you ask? Because I can - but also because I had time to sit on my thoughts for a couple of days and because this book tells a stunning tale of how widows were treated in India in the 1930s. I don't know much about the practice in this day and age but widows back then did not have much of a place in the society once their husbands died. She ceased to exist as a person; she was no longer daughter or daughter-in-law. While I initially gave this book four stars, I'm bumping it up to five stars. Why, you ask? Because I can - but also because I had time to sit on my thoughts for a couple of days and because this book tells a stunning tale of how widows were treated in India in the 1930s. I don't know much about the practice in this day and age but widows back then did not have much of a place in the society once their husbands died. The widows were sent away to an ashram, where they had their heads shaved, dressed completely in white unstitched clothes, led a life of self-denial which included eating no fried foods including sweets. In this set-up, we find 8-year-old Chuyia, a child bride who becomes a child widow after the demise of her husband. The reason I initially gave this book four stars was because it's not a perfect book. The character of Narayan was very underdeveloped and his storyline wasn't as fleshed out as the women in the book. This book is unique because it's based on the movie - Sidhwa was given three months to finish the novel to coincide the release of the book with the movie, since the controversial movie faced backlash in India. Because of the time-crunch, I can't fault Sidhwa for the shortcomings of the book. Working with the script might have tied her hands a little bit, which is why this book is not as developed in some parts as it is in others. While watching the movie, I felt a little bit underwhelmed by it because Sidhwa draws such a vivid picture of the time, the treatment of the widows at the hands of men, and at the hands of the other women. The patriarchal setup is suffocating but so brilliantly executed that you really can't stop reading the book. Sidhwa has explored religion and its interpretations well, and she has shown us female bonding in this book. The movie is great too, but I feel like the book has more of an impact on me.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Marcy prager

    This is a wonderful story, a painful story, of young widows and old widows, who were deserted by their in-laws when their husbands died, to live out their lives in an ashram. An ashram or a brothel? You need to read this book to find out the terrors and injustice that befell widows in India during Colonial times. Sati had been outlawed, (widows would put themselves on a pyre of fire and die for their husbands), but terrible injustices prevailed for widows. This book portrays the pain, the unhapp This is a wonderful story, a painful story, of young widows and old widows, who were deserted by their in-laws when their husbands died, to live out their lives in an ashram. An ashram or a brothel? You need to read this book to find out the terrors and injustice that befell widows in India during Colonial times. Sati had been outlawed, (widows would put themselves on a pyre of fire and die for their husbands), but terrible injustices prevailed for widows. This book portrays the pain, the unhappiness, and the injustices shown to widows. (Many of India's widows were young children, as young as six years old). Bapsi Sidwa is Pakistani and tells the stories of India with truth and compassion.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Manjushree’

    "She ceased to exist as a person; she was no longer either daughter or daughter-in-law." ".... a widow's head is shaved, her ornaments removed, and she is expected to remain in perpetual morning. She is to observe fasts, give up eating 'hot' foods in order to cool her sexual energy, avoid auspicious occasions because she is considered inauspicious (for having caused her husband's death), and to remain celibate, devout and loyal to her husband's memory." This is my first book by an Indian autho "She ceased to exist as a person; she was no longer either daughter or daughter-in-law." ".... a widow's head is shaved, her ornaments removed, and she is expected to remain in perpetual morning. She is to observe fasts, give up eating 'hot' foods in order to cool her sexual energy, avoid auspicious occasions because she is considered inauspicious (for having caused her husband's death), and to remain celibate, devout and loyal to her husband's memory." This is my first book by an Indian author and I loved it. However, this is a heartbreaking story. Bapsi managed to give readers glimpses of the Brahmin religious views and how widows, and even women, were (in some places still are) unjustly treated in India - unworthy of anything humane. Forcing a young child into marriage (often to men who are old enough to be her grandfather), belittling her worth and purpose in life to simply satisfying the needs of her husband and reproducing sons, denouncing her as family or even human for that matter and ostracising her when her husband dies, deeming her unworthy of love and viewed as cursed, and blaming her for being such bad luck and for causing the death of her husband as a result. On the other hand, widowers are free to live their life with respect and are not at all responsible for the death of their wives. Reading this book made me feel sad and angry at the same time.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Victoria

    This story is heart wrenchingly sad. Life in a widow's ashram in India in 1939 is not a pretty story. Rules of the Brahmin caste state widows must go through a life of seclusion and separation if their husbands die. They live out their lives in ashrams with shaved heads and white saris.(white being the colour of mourning) 'Water' is the story of a child, who was married off at 6yrs (but remained at her family home until puberty). Fortunately or unfortunately her 45+yrs husband dies before she ev This story is heart wrenchingly sad. Life in a widow's ashram in India in 1939 is not a pretty story. Rules of the Brahmin caste state widows must go through a life of seclusion and separation if their husbands die. They live out their lives in ashrams with shaved heads and white saris.(white being the colour of mourning) 'Water' is the story of a child, who was married off at 6yrs (but remained at her family home until puberty). Fortunately or unfortunately her 45+yrs husband dies before she ever gets to leave her own family and go to his house. She has no or little memory of her wedding except the food she enjoyed and the attention lavished upon her at the time. With the death of her husband she is caste off to the ashram at around 8 yrs of age. The story is about the lives of the child and other widows in the ashram and how their relationships evolve. Bapsi Sidhwa has an amazing capacity to relay her knowledge of Indian life (and Pakistani life written about in her other books) and in this case, the story is sad beyond words. Sad, because from my culture, religion, and perspective widows are to be cared for and loved and given uplifted status; not, in the culture described in this story, cast out and thrown onto the garbage heap. They instantly change from a "person" or a "she" to a "thing" or an "it". When I finished this story I immediately did some research into the treatment of widows in India in 2012. Sadly, not a lot seems to have changed. Thanks to NGOs, some caring religious organziations, and other caring Indian people, some kind of a basic existence is offered to some of the 40,000,000 widows of India. If you have not read any of Bapsi Sidhwa's books then do yourself a favour and pick one up. Dont start with this one, though. Try 'Cracking India'.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Hafsa Sabira

    Why does something has to happen in a person's life when it doesn't need to happen? Is it karma? Is it the penance of the sins from the last life? These heartwrecking questions are asked again and again in Bapsi Sidhwa's widely recognized novel Water. The renowned novel was adapted from Deepa Mehta's controversial movie of the same title. The plot is set in 1938, as Gandhi rises to power in the background of the story, Water follows the struggles of eight-year-old Chuyia,as she is married off an Why does something has to happen in a person's life when it doesn't need to happen? Is it karma? Is it the penance of the sins from the last life? These heartwrecking questions are asked again and again in Bapsi Sidhwa's widely recognized novel Water. The renowned novel was adapted from Deepa Mehta's controversial movie of the same title. The plot is set in 1938, as Gandhi rises to power in the background of the story, Water follows the struggles of eight-year-old Chuyia,as she is married off and as her distress follows the death of her elderly husband, she is abandoned at a widows' ashram. There, she is forced to live a life without any kind of behaviour/activity which may arouse the 'sinner' in her. Defiant and feisty Chuyia, the little mouse, gradually starts to accept her fate but at the same time, unknowingly takes part in changing the lives of others around her. When Kalyani, the beautiful widow-prostitute, falls in love with a young, upper-class Gandhian idealist, Narayan, the forbidden affair threatens the Hindu tradition and the ashram’s maintenance of hypocrisy. In attempt to keep things balanced, Kalyani and Chuyia must sacrifice something beyond their imagination. This is a novel that will make you love those moments depicted in the scripts, break your heart and make your eyes run a river. The way the the lives of the widows in colonial India is portrayed here, it makes you want to question the boundaries and restrictions that question love, penance and existence.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jo

    The last of Bapsi Sidhwa’s novels I had left to read so a bittersweet experience but still another engaging and insightful read from an author I admire. Based on the film Water, this novel did feel a little different to her others, the language more simplistic, the characters less fleshed out but at the same time there is a cinematic quality to the descriptions of the scenery, particularly the Ganga and the ghats that line its sides at Rawalpur. I like to know nothing about the plot before going The last of Bapsi Sidhwa’s novels I had left to read so a bittersweet experience but still another engaging and insightful read from an author I admire. Based on the film Water, this novel did feel a little different to her others, the language more simplistic, the characters less fleshed out but at the same time there is a cinematic quality to the descriptions of the scenery, particularly the Ganga and the ghats that line its sides at Rawalpur. I like to know nothing about the plot before going in so if you’re one of those people I won’t spoil it except to say that this book focuses on widowhood in India and what that experience is like for a whole range of women. It will make you angry and frustrated yet there is hope and a bond between the women that enables you to transcend the despair. It takes place during the rise of Ghandi but this is very much in the background and it is the relationships between the women and their oppression that is the heart of the book.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Christiane

    This is a shocking novel dealing with the plight of widows in Brahmin culture, exemplified by the child Chuyia who is married to a middle-aged widower at the age of six, becomes a widow at eight and is then dumped into a dilapidated ashram to spend the rest of her life in poverty, misery and perpetual mourning for the husband she never knew. Due to bad Karma accumulated during a previous sinful life a widow is responsible for the death of her husband and can only atone for this by being disowned This is a shocking novel dealing with the plight of widows in Brahmin culture, exemplified by the child Chuyia who is married to a middle-aged widower at the age of six, becomes a widow at eight and is then dumped into a dilapidated ashram to spend the rest of her life in poverty, misery and perpetual mourning for the husband she never knew. Due to bad Karma accumulated during a previous sinful life a widow is responsible for the death of her husband and can only atone for this by being disowned by her family and in-laws, shaving her head, living at near-starvation level, wrapping herself in a piece of (unstitched, of course !) white cloth, wearing no ornaments, sleeping on the floor, begging, ceasing to exist as a person, not even thinking of remarriage, regretting her continued existence and remaining celibate (which doesn’t stop the head-widow in the ashram from forcing the prettier widows into prostitution). The saddest thing is that there seems to be no female solidarity in that society whatsoever, not even among the widows themselves. The child Chuyia enters the ashram without any preconceived notions and her innocent questions reveal the absurdity of the tradition, as when she asks : “Where is the house for the men widows ?” and the women are aghast at the thought that a fate as horrible as theirs should befall a man. Widowers, of course, are in no way responsible for the death of their wives, and old men may happily marry young children, as the holy texts say that Brahmins can sleep with whomever they want (including sinful, inauspicious and polluted widows) and the women they sleep with are blessed. Didn’t Krishna marry 8.000 women and take up with any of the milkmaids that took his fleeting fancy ? Unfortunately, Bapsi Sidhwa’s writing is not up to her usual standard, maybe because she wrote the novel based on a film or maybe because of deadline pressure. The love story between Kalyani and Narayan is contrived and melodramatic.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Raj

    These are some of the last words Chuyia hears from anyone familiar to her, as her condition abandons her in an ashram for Hindu widows to spend the rest of her life in renunciation. Chuyia, failing to realize her condition upon arrival, enters the ashram innocent and naive, as the elderly widows surround her and one proceeds shave her soft head. Watching Chuyia begin to understand her circumstance as she terrifyingly runs for escape screaming for her family, one can only feel a tragic catharsis These are some of the last words Chuyia hears from anyone familiar to her, as her condition abandons her in an ashram for Hindu widows to spend the rest of her life in renunciation. Chuyia, failing to realize her condition upon arrival, enters the ashram innocent and naive, as the elderly widows surround her and one proceeds shave her soft head. Watching Chuyia begin to understand her circumstance as she terrifyingly runs for escape screaming for her family, one can only feel a tragic catharsis watching an eight year old being sentenced to life in prison for a “crime” she did not commit. The ideas and criticisms that come to one’s mind are undoubtedly what writer and director, Deepa Mehta, aimed to evoke – injustice, patriarchy, and oppression by way of religion. "Unwilling to accept her fate, Chuyia becomes a catalyst for change in the lives of the widows. When her friend, the beautiful widow-prostitute Kalyani, falls in love with a young, upper-class Gandhian idealist, the forbidden affair boldly defies Hindu tradition and threatens to undermine the delicate balance of power within the ashram." Water offers an examination of the lives of widows in colonial India, but ultimately it is a haunting and lyrical story of love, faith and redemption.Do you remember getting married? Your husband is dead. You’re a widow now.” Water is an excellent book and is worth reading. I highly recommend it. You can also watch the movie which is wonderfully done.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    Based on the script. Terribly written. The movie is in subtitles which qualifies it as a book. Read the movie instead.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Rabia

    The book has been started with normal scenery of village and the cheering sound of children. Story has been following the 6-7 year old girl name as Chuiya (little mouse) who was sharp and stubborn girls. She played in streets with childern, with dog (tun tun). The year of 1938 was going on in the era Gandhi was prevailing in Indian society through his follower and the teachings. Ghandi has been proven as catalyst towards hindu religion as well as old traditions which were strict to happen but in The book has been started with normal scenery of village and the cheering sound of children. Story has been following the 6-7 year old girl name as Chuiya (little mouse) who was sharp and stubborn girls. She played in streets with childern, with dog (tun tun). The year of 1938 was going on in the era Gandhi was prevailing in Indian society through his follower and the teachings. Ghandi has been proven as catalyst towards hindu religion as well as old traditions which were strict to happen but inadequate for the change of time. He started his mission by visiting various places of India as well as preach Hindus about change is required in their society. Furthermore many followers of Ghandi were with him vis-a-vis opponents particularly religous leaders were against him because they consider him rebel of traditional Hinduism. As far as the story is concern, has been consist of miserable lives of widows in hindu society, while they don't know when their husband have been died and from which year they are living in Ashram. Chuiya the main character of the book got married to an old man almost of her father's age Hiralal only reason of marriage were that she is a burden over her parents because she was a girl. Mother of chuiya was against this marriage but she have not deny her husband and she also know the reality of society. The old man who has married to Chuiya bear all expenses of wedding as well as no dowry will be taken from the parents of Chuiya and she can live with her parents untill she reached at the age of went to in laws. Saddest thing happened soon after two year the old man have been died and leave chuiya a nine year old girl as his widow for all her life. Widows in hindu society have only 3 options to live (i) to leave all colors of life and start living in religous devotion without any liberation (ii) if the family is agreed then to get married with the younger brother of deceased husband (iii) to burn herself with the body of husband (Satti) But no other option have been left for her if she remained alive she can't wear any color, eat any delicious food, attend weddings or any thing happen in normal life. So the chuiya's husband died and her father let her to the place where they burnt dead bodies as well as shaved her head and left her to Widows Ashram where all widows live in miserable life and have no option to go back to life. Because remarry of widow is considered as sin and she can not see any dream in her life as well. In Ashram chuiya met various widows in which Kalyani and Kaushaliya. Kaushaliya played mother figure for chuiya in whole novel. Kalyani was a widow who have no idea from when she was living in Ashram. And she remain as prostitute-widow to Barhamn rich man for supporting Ashram financially. In the novel a character Naryan came who was follower of Gandhi and met Kalyani and Chuiya while they were at ghat to give bath to Kalu(dog). He fall in love with her and meet him various time at night. They decided to get married but when head of widow ashram who was also a widow came to knoe she shaved Kalyani's head and locked her room after saying remarriage is sin for a widow. Kashuliya who devoted her life for religion and always busy in serving Ashram and other widows. When she came to know about Kalyani and Naryan affair. She consult all these issues with the pandit came ghat. He told her that Ghandi is giving education of learning and to spread love for widows and remarry of a widow is her right. She is unaware of love society should allow these human beings for their rights. When Kaushaliya know these she compel the head widow and open her and ask her to run away. When Naryan and kalyani reached at Naryan's home then she came to know she is already mistress of his father. She ask him to turn back and ask her father. When Naryan talked to his father he said she is no goddess just take her a mistress and live your life. Kalyani reached ashram and met head of Ashram she ask her to go to that Barhman again she drowned herself in Ganga and do suicide. And end her life. At the same night head of Ashram send chuiya for prostitution of that state. Kashuliya found her everywhere but when she came to know she ran towards ghat and ask boat man to take her otherside but no one listen to her at mid night. Suddenly chuiya and Gulabi(the dealer) came back. And chuiya became the part of lust if Barhamn at that time kaushaliya decided to take her anywhere she live a safe life from this ill custom society. Ghandi came to village and people went to see him. Kaushaliya took chuiya with her. When ghandi left she ask caravan to take her and handover her to Ghandi and take care of her from this miserable society and customs of this side. Naryan took her with himself and left the area. This story made me cry various time om miserable condition of women in pre partition era. As well as we can say Ghandi is prophet for the time being in Hinduism. He ask them to change the life of women, talk about parallel rights of man and women and stop these child marriages which make little girls miserable and push her to live below the life style no matter of her age. How critical that timr and place were for women one women can imagine all these thing after keeping her at that place. Bapsi wrote this story very beautifully which kept reader capture and took reader towards past in that difficult time where girls were burden and for lessening the burdeb she married to old man and ruin her life.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Amalie

    This is the novel based on "Water", the Canadian film directed and written by Deepa Mehta. It is also the third part of Mehta's Elemental Trilogy, preceded by "Fire" and "Earth." I really liked all three films but with water, I had to struggle to experience the emotional factor which was lost in the movie due to the bad acting of Lisa Ray and John Abraham. However having said that, I still really liked it so I grabbed the book the first time I saw it and hoped I'll be able to find those emotions This is the novel based on "Water", the Canadian film directed and written by Deepa Mehta. It is also the third part of Mehta's Elemental Trilogy, preceded by "Fire" and "Earth." I really liked all three films but with water, I had to struggle to experience the emotional factor which was lost in the movie due to the bad acting of Lisa Ray and John Abraham. However having said that, I still really liked it so I grabbed the book the first time I saw it and hoped I'll be able to find those emotions in the book, and I did to a certain extend and I felt the author had done a wonderful job with editing this into a novel. The story is set during the period of the British Indian Empire in the year 1938, when India was still under colonial rule by the British. It follows the life of eight-year-old Chuyia, a child-bride, abandoned at a widow’s ashram after the death of her elderly husband. There, she must live among other Hindu widows to spend the rest of her life in renunciation. Unwilling to accept her fate, she becomes a catalyst for change in the widows’s lives. She befriend Kalyani, a young beautiful widow-prostitute, who will eventually falls in love with a young, upper-class (Brahmin) Gandhian idealist, the forbidden affair boldly defies Hindu tradition and threatens to undermine the ashram’s balance of power. What I find really amazing is the symbolism of water in this tale which is incredible. You could really specify that it was in terms to purify the characters and wash away negativities that they had lived through. Highly recommend this and if you're not keen about the novel, at least try the movie.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Smita

    Amazing book. She rips your heart out with the book in such a way that you enjoy it. It's beautifully written, despite the fact that it's based on a movie, and not the other way round. Beautiful book. I'd highly recommend it.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ayesha U

    An amazing novel written by Bapsi Sidhwa! This books is basically a film script turned into a novel. It's about the young widows and customs surrounding them in India.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Manisha Nagpal

    This book is based on Deepa Mehta’s movie with the same name. Quite contrary to the fashion, book was written after the film. Film was a success as it was nominated for most of the categories in Foreign Films of Canada and won them too. Already a huge success, writing this book must be a huge challenge for Bapsi Sidhwa. In my opinion, she didn’t do justice to the story telling. For a script of a film, this narration can do; but for a book writing, it lacks a lot of elements. Despite of having a g This book is based on Deepa Mehta’s movie with the same name. Quite contrary to the fashion, book was written after the film. Film was a success as it was nominated for most of the categories in Foreign Films of Canada and won them too. Already a huge success, writing this book must be a huge challenge for Bapsi Sidhwa. In my opinion, she didn’t do justice to the story telling. For a script of a film, this narration can do; but for a book writing, it lacks a lot of elements. Despite of having a great story in hand in which she could have added a lot of background; Chuiya’s story could have many details. This shows a lazy writing. This was just an example; the author has skipped detailing at many places in the book. Language was quite simple; no complex sentences were used throughout the text. The flow of the book could be twisted and not be a straight forward one. She didn’t take any liberty to twist or play about any character. For example, the love of Kalyani and Narayan was impromptu. It could have built up in a slow and better way. Overall, this story had a lot of potential and could have been delivered better by Ms. Sidhwa.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Daphne

    This book mostly deals about the life of brahmin widows in the pre independence era. The surprising part of the book which I only found out in the end was that the book was made from the movie and not vice versa which is common. The journey with chuiya the protagonist is unbelievable, and makes us thankful that all these policies and practices is done for. It makes us feel totally bad for the plight of widows especially young ones who don’t even remember their wedding. The book is made more inter This book mostly deals about the life of brahmin widows in the pre independence era. The surprising part of the book which I only found out in the end was that the book was made from the movie and not vice versa which is common. The journey with chuiya the protagonist is unbelievable, and makes us thankful that all these policies and practices is done for. It makes us feel totally bad for the plight of widows especially young ones who don’t even remember their wedding. The book is made more interesting with the love story of Kalyani and narayan, hateful madhumati, and chuiya s strong support system Shakunthala. This is definitely short and recommended read.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ellen

    This novel is fantastic...but the story is tragically sad. It tells the story of widows in Brahmin culture, and about Chuyia who is married to a middle-aged man at the age of six, is a widow at eight and then abandoned at an ashram for widows, where she would live the rest of her life in poverty, atoning for death of the husband she never knew. It is a cruel existence that is magnificently described by Bapsi Sidhwa, with moments of beauty and hope within the painful story. It is an exceptional b This novel is fantastic...but the story is tragically sad. It tells the story of widows in Brahmin culture, and about Chuyia who is married to a middle-aged man at the age of six, is a widow at eight and then abandoned at an ashram for widows, where she would live the rest of her life in poverty, atoning for death of the husband she never knew. It is a cruel existence that is magnificently described by Bapsi Sidhwa, with moments of beauty and hope within the painful story. It is an exceptional book- far better than the movie. Recommended.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ildiko

    Thanks, Bapsi Sidwha, for writing this gem of a book! I saw Deepa Mehta’s movie by the same title, years ago. I found it to be a deeply moving film. I loved the book, which the movie followed very closely, just as much. The storyline is interesting but also troubling, and the characters represent all that is good, and all that is bad, in humans. The book also offers a fascinating and horrifying glimpse into India’s history and culture.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Bijay Kant

    Water is but all about a Hindu child widow, destined to live a life of her own, so much despised and alone to eke out a living and passing of time, but the ashrama, is it a place for a growing young lady? How will she lead the life of an ascetic, a brahmacharini is the truth? With the tulsimala, how will she pass her time if the heart dwells it not in? Bapsi is right in describing it here, but can she describe the things of the Muslim society what it ails them?

  20. 4 out of 5

    Paolina

    "Striking" is the best word I can use to describe this book. Sidhwa paints a vivid picture of the role of women in this time period. I rooted for the characters, even though I knew going in the book would be heartbreaking. Sidhwa writes such life into them, you can't not wish everything would turn out all right. It was a bit hard to read knowing that while some of the practices have died out, mistreatment of women remains nearly 100 years later.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Eesha Noor

    I totally love this book! I saw the movie this bool is based on and I was amazed to see how Bapsi Sidwah captured the moments with details and how she brought life to the dull moments too! The way she described the view and what I love about this book is bapsi didn't leave amy characters' story. She really broight justice to every single character in that book!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nancy C

    As Ghandi rises to power, 8 year old Chuyia becomes a child bride who is abandoned to live the rest of her life in a widows' ashram when her 50 year old husband suddenly dies. The backdrop of colonial India provides a colorful setting, with water always at the center of the action. The book was made into a foreign film, subtitled, with the same title, which is a must-see!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lesley

    Heart breaking at times - interesting to find out about another kind of life and beliefs.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Hafsa Tahir

    "She ceased to exist as a person, she was no longer either daughter or daughter in law.".

  25. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    I love this author. Her stories are easy to read and find myself pulled back in time to my childhood. I thought of many of my village friends who were child brides.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Martianflash

    Too slow-paced for me.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Amber Manning

    The novel is a didactic adaptation of the excellent film.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Oshozokha Ugabi

    I like it

  29. 5 out of 5

    Christie

    OMG ... I’m bawling my eyes out ... like the ugly cry ... seriously! Such a fascinating and emotional story. I thought arranged marriage was one of the worst things ... but no, there are even more horrible degradations for women after the arranged marriage. And why are stories from this region always so sad ???? Guess it’s what one can expect from living in that region? I’m willing to admit that the handful of novels I’ve read are probably not a fair sampling of the culture, but it’s an odd stat OMG ... I’m bawling my eyes out ... like the ugly cry ... seriously! Such a fascinating and emotional story. I thought arranged marriage was one of the worst things ... but no, there are even more horrible degradations for women after the arranged marriage. And why are stories from this region always so sad ???? Guess it’s what one can expect from living in that region? I’m willing to admit that the handful of novels I’ve read are probably not a fair sampling of the culture, but it’s an odd statistical coincidence if you ask me! I would have given this book a 5 star rating, but I had some irritations over the writing and mechanics of the book.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Robbin Melton

    One of the most amazing books I've ever read, Water isn't so much about a six-year-old widow than it is about a beautiful young widow who defies tradition and finds love. Through a cruel twist of "fate," Chuyia, the child widow, is abandoned by her family (as with all widows) and forced to live in an ashram with other widows. Deprived of fried foods, a bed, sweets, colorful clothes and jewelry, the widows live on a meager subsistence but few accept Chuyia. Kalyani, a 20-something widow befriends One of the most amazing books I've ever read, Water isn't so much about a six-year-old widow than it is about a beautiful young widow who defies tradition and finds love. Through a cruel twist of "fate," Chuyia, the child widow, is abandoned by her family (as with all widows) and forced to live in an ashram with other widows. Deprived of fried foods, a bed, sweets, colorful clothes and jewelry, the widows live on a meager subsistence but few accept Chuyia. Kalyani, a 20-something widow befriends the little girl, but Kalyani has her own troubles...she's forced into prostitution to help the ashram widows' survival. A young man, however, falls in love with Kalyani and she with him, but widows aren't allowed to interact with the rest of society, let alone fall in love. This is an amazing story, but far too short. I could've read this over a lifetime. Beautiful, poetic, haunting...you'll never read another one like this.

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