Friday, January 05, 2007

Blog Story Review: Progati - The Tale of Progress

Have women progressed with time? Can the progress of small percentage of women in India be really called 'progress'? Do circumstances play a role in their progress or progati? What is women's progress anyways?

Some of these questions were answered by a lazily written story by Anks, Progati - The Tale of Progress. The story is about two women, Saira - the protagonist and Rewa/Progati. The story starts with a passage from a book that Saira is reading and she is reminded of Rewa, the progressive girl she always idolized. Saira then describes her circumstances, why she was the way she was. She then describes Rewa from her eyes, the way she saw her, the confident, intelligent, passionate, Rewa. Rewa who won debates by advocating 'freedom of women', against Nabin. We get to know through Saira, how one of the numerous articles written by Rewa, changes Saira's life for good. This answers one of the questions above, Do circumstances play a role in their progress or progati?. An article, a personality, had finally managed to change life of Saira for good.

We are then transported to reality. Saira not only progressed but how. She wins the award for writing in the non-fiction category. A shy, timid girl, progresses to complete her PhD and is doing her best to change the world though her words, the same words that changed her life. Although, for Saira, progress doesn't mean leaving her family behind. She is a progressive Indian woman, who not only manages to make their mark in the society but knows how to take care of their family, in her case, her husband, her Abbu and the kids.

For long, Indian men have been wary of the progress made by Indian women. I think they fear that their women may leave them once they progress in life but that what makes Indian women different from the rest. Indian women's idea of progress includes their family and is indeed its their first priority. This is wonderfully portrayed by the character-sketch of Saira in the story.

Saira then meets Rewa after few years, who is the winner of the best fiction, Progati. Although, Saira takes time to recognize her because she seemed to have changed, she notices that Rewa is as strong willed as she was in her college days. We get our first shock of the story (which I won't reveal) but it is as shocking for Saira as it is for us all. After the party, Saira calls Rewa for coffee and asks a favour. It is there that we see Rewa for the first time through Rewa's eyes. This answers the same question, Do circumstances play a role in their progress or progati?. Do circumstances change people or do people create circumstances? Rewa's story proves that both part of the above question can be true at the same time. Circumstances can change people to change their circumstances. Also, it gives a valuable lesson that first impression may not be the last impression. We don't know half the time why people do what they do and so it gives us no right to judge them rightly or wrongly. We get some more twists in the story which actually leads to the right conclusion of the story and helps explain everything that lead to change in circumstances of both Rewa and Saira.

The story ends with an answered question. What does progress of women mean in today's day and age? Which women has more progressed, the one who achieves fame, great career, bright future at the expense of family or the one who has a place in the society, has a good career if not great but who still has her family right behind her in every which way? The answer to this question may vary but the author and myself agree that there need be a balance between career and family, for a women to be truly progressive (or progatisheel). Family should come first for both the spouses but a good career is necessary for that family to get all the comforts of the world. Also, people should realize that women who are housewives are as progressive if they give good education, sanskar and love to children and the family. Infact, their contribution to the Indian society is immense. So, definition of progati as mentioned in the story can vary from person to person depending upon each and everyone's circumstances.

It was Saira's words that in the end planted the seed of progress in Rewa when she says, "...if you want love, you have to first give it."

This was without doubt my favorite story from Anks collection. Her another story that impressed me was Kaya's Story but the filmi twist in the end, made it look hurried. Progati was written lazily, in a long span of time, but each episode was very well written esp. the conversations between Saira and Rewa, which were the heart of the story. The story had right amount of twists, not too many, but the story was more about human relationships from a woman's perspective. The characterization, the setting, the dialouges, the flash-back, were all neatly arranged in the story of two women and their progress.

Although, the story had feminist perspective it was not anti-men story by any stretch of imagination. Feminist was a great movement but it has been relegated to lowest common denominator, which is to put men down. This story gives a better perspective of the feminism by giving respect to men in the story while giving inspiration to women to make a mark in the society.

The story didn't manage to answer all the questions mentioned in the beginning but it was able to raise some and answer some, like a good story should. Progati of women is in their hands and they just need some inspiration, some idols, some words, some stories (like this one) to realise their potential and contribute to the society.

Happy Birthday Anks.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

heylo jee..Mein aa gaye !!

10:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Birthday Wishes Anks.

1:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anks, Many Many Happy returns of the day :). Hope you have had a wonderful birthday celebration...

I read this story. More than thrice :).

This is one of the best story I read in the blog. My all time favorite story. She was taking too long time and I was after her to finish this story :)

You would not believe that my niece needed an article, story or any write ups for her project and I gave her this story. She also liked it very much but she didn't work on it because she needed a page of write up. But she loved this story :).

Ricky, very well reviewed. Tussi great ho as usual.

11:04 PM  
Blogger The Bhandari's said...

Belated b'day wishes Anks, woah what a review, I need to read this story right now :)
good write up ricky

7:42 PM  
Blogger Fuzzylogic said...

Hey great story!Your friend Anks has really great potential.The topic is so sensitive and story deals with it in such a realistic manner.Belated 'day wishes to your friend Anks.

9:21 PM  
Blogger faith said...

belated happy bday Anks..

Champ wow very nice review..

*sigh* iam tired though.. subah subah itni lambi post :P

10:10 PM  
Blogger Urvi said...

Beautifully written... Belated B'day wishes to ur frnd Anks.. :)

1:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

very nice very nice ... will try to read the story sumday... i know..progessiveness is truly upto individuals.. honestly, i think it doesn't matter at what cost you have progressed, as long as yu havenot hurt any one.. if u don't raise a family for your career's sake, fine with me. end of the day, its totally upto the individual n nobody else has the right to question it...

4:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As Juneli says,tussi great ho ji!
What a wonderful way to wish Anks on her bday!U always wish ur friends in a very unique way,and this beats them all! I have read Progati(it tested my patience to the max,rather Anks did!)..and it is all that u say and more!For someone to come with a plot like this and then develop it into a story so well..amazing stuff.

3:12 AM  
Blogger മര്‍ത്ത്യന്‍ said...

Good One there

let me go and read progati

Never been there

And dude you have a nice blog

will wander around more often

5:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

belated birthday wishes to anks.i haven't read the story but ricky ji tuhadi post par ke man kar reha hai ki jaldi ja ke padan.

8:47 PM  
Blogger Nupur said...

read your whole post.... looks like a very impressive story. I'll read it when i return to melbourne tomorrow. In the meantime.... ricks.... you have got me thinking of sooo many things! Just like you always do.... :)

4:58 AM  
Blogger Nupur said...

read your whole post.... looks like a very impressive story. I'll read it when i return to melbourne tomorrow. In the meantime.... ricks.... you have got me thinking of sooo many things! Just like you always do.... :)

5:05 AM  
Blogger Ricky said...

mehak - Tusi First!!

juneli - I starting reading this story quite late, so it wasn't that frustrating waiting for the parts. Thanks for liking it.

bhandari's - Thanks Preeti!!

fuzzylogic - Thanks!! Yea, she is good.

faith - Thanks!! Subah suabh mehnat karve de aapse :P

8:32 PM  
Blogger Ricky said...

urvi - Thanks Urvi !!

payal - Thanks!! Sure do. Its true but what about progress as an individual and society? Why is progress only tied to job/school/work??

ragz - Thank You jee!! Yea, it was a very refined story. It was my favorite too.

marthyan - Welcome to my blog!! Thanks for liking it. Keep coming.

8:36 PM  
Blogger Ricky said...

red jee - Zaroor padho jee :D

nupur - Thank You!! It is very well written. Kahan ghoom rahee ho aap?

I have got you thinking, ho hee nahin

Thanks for double comment, double the mazza...ha ha

8:38 PM  
Blogger Roopa said...

your review has evoked a lot of interest in me for the book..well written!

10:37 AM  
Blogger Ricky said...

roopa - Welcome to my blog!! Thanks!! It's a blog story and the link is on the top. Do read it. Cheers!!

10:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good words.

8:29 PM  

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