The Binding Vine..

17 02 2005

The Binding Vine written by Sashi Deshpande is the narration of Urmi, who was grieving over the death of her baby daughter and surrounded by the loving care of her mother, Inni and her childhood friend and sister-in-law, Vanna. Through her grief, Urmi is drawn into the lives of three very different women. As the stories of these women unfold, so does a tale of quiet courage and strength.

The first woman Urmi is drawn to her long-dead mother-in-law, Mira who exists only in the notebooks she has left behind, discovered by chance in a dusty storage trunk. Mira’s journals and poetry reveal the pain of a vibrant young woman trapped in an unhappy arranged marriage, and of a gifted writer whose work, because she is a woman, must remain shrouded in secrecy and silence. Then there is Kalpana, the survivor of a brutal rape and a young woman who has also been silenced. As she hovers between life and death in a hospital ward, Kalpana is watched over by her impoverished mother, Shakutai, with whom Urmi forms an unlikely bond of mutual comfort. The lives of three women who are “haunted by fears, secrets, and deep grief” are bound together by strands of life and hope—a binding vine of love, concern, and connection that spreads across chasms of time, social class, and even death.

Memories from the past stray to Urmi’s mind and a journey to the past helps Urmi uncover mysteries about herself, but not her past alone: “The past is always clearer because it is more comprehended”. One theme that was stressed in her book is rape – both as a random violent act and within marriage. The disgrace is not the girl’s, the disgrace is the criminal’s. That is not how it is. It’s really the dilemma which Urmi, the narrator, faces because, if she makes it public, it’s possible the family is going to be affected, and if she does not, you know it’s like saying the woman is the one who is in disgrace, who has done wrong.

When Bhaskar, a doctor in the hospital, raises the question of why it’s so important for women to marry, his question is raised right after Shakutai pleads with Bhaskar not to release the report of rape because it would ruin Kalpana’s chance of marriage. In his eyes, she is focusing on false significance. She should be more concerned with the fact that her daughter is lying in a hospital bed unconscious. Reputation becomes everything for a woman.

The issue that has mattered the most is the conflict between the idea women have of themselves and the idea that society imposes on them of what being a woman is. And there’s a struggle to conform to this image, the guilt when you can’t do that. Though, the characters are women, they represent the human being lurking inside. And that human being is often a lonely one though not one who is alone. It is a loneliness deep rooted in their souls. It is a result of being honest with oneself.

A question Urmi often asks herself is why does she feel the need to forget her dead daughter? Women are tied to their children, and the binding vine, as written by Mira, signifies the umbilical cord to which mother and child are physically connected. Urmi is emotionally numb in the beginning after the realization that her daughter is really gone: “what’s broken cannot be mended” She learns, however, that pains can be mended after she learns to reach out to those who need to find their own strengths.

Shakutai’ s decision towards the close of the book, to reveal the truth about her daughter’s rape gives her a new sense of liberation. The Binding Vine beautifully brings about the feelings, which are left unspoken in the Indian women, and shows the pursuit of love in their journey of life. It’s a triumphant story of victory and defeat, when women find their voices.



13 responses

31 01 2007
esha gulati

binding vine is a story like a story of every women cos it is signifying a story of dat women who is surrounding wid a cirrcumstances of struggle,impatience.

7 03 2007

“The Binding Vine” is a slice of life, depicting a woman’s role in this world of black ,white and grey.A sense loss and then finally the dawn of realisation.

30 04 2009
Shankar Paudel

The real sketch of the social status feminine in the context of the South Asizn countries can be found in this story. It signifies the whole feminine society.

7 12 2009

Its reality dat d passage of time has not brought any change in d mind-set of dis so called patriachal society, the novel depicts d true picture ….

9 12 2010

Love the summary of the book. It’s something I’d read a long time back and this just brings it alive for me. I also identify with the kind of books that you are reading – I love Alice in Wonderland and The Happy Prince is a wonderful story!

Good blog! Keep it up!

10 09 2011

a gud story line up
truly reflects the suffering of the woman folk in a magnicient way……………

11 02 2012

How is the theme of loss portrayed in this novel? Please give me some ideas. Thanks very much

23 05 2014

Thanks for your explanation

17 10 2016
The mother we end up being | Beyond the Railways

[…] The Binding Vine by Shashi Deshpande is a true and sensible study of the mother-daughter relationship. The world of fiction came alive for me. The protagonist tells her mother that she can never imagine herself in her mother’s world, and wants her own. Soon I realised this is what happened between me and my mother. […]

23 05 2017

Why women sholud nt arise her voice against male dominated society, ? May be they are willing to accept their position as it is

9 10 2017
Saroj kumar


15 09 2018
Ravikumar jp,MA,Mphil english

thats good and present generation have read the binding vine fiction how urmila lost her baby daughter due to someone had raped this is one kinds of dilamma condition of urmi akka,when i read this story I had felt bad my mind also thought to killed that bloddy rapist, be console urmi sister,by melancholy person RK,english lecturer,

11 10 2018

Short and sweet,ok

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