Sreela P. Nair’s novel Our Still Demigods urges women to realise their dreams and have an identity of their own

In her fourth outing as an author, Sreela P. Nair speaks for women. Her new book, Our Still Demigods, holds forth on how women, irrespective of their social strata, “are sidelined” at various stages of their lives. And she chooses to create winners out of these women who gradually pick up the scattered pieces of their lives and move on, instead of ruing over their fate.

Sreela moves through the lives of Madhavi and Geetha in the novel. If Madhavi’s husband deserts her and their son, Geetha had to suppress her dreams and desires on account of her husband’s insensitivity. But there comes a point when they find support in each other. Things take a positive turn when the women tap their inner strength and refuse to bemoan their fate. They decide to become their own captains.

But essentially it is about three demigods, Govindan Nair, an ex-Army man, his son Arjun, and Vinayachandran, a former non-resident Indian and Geetha’s boss.

“Demigods can have a positive or negative impact on others. In this case, Vinay is a positive character, while the other two come across as hypocrites,” Sreela says.

Govindan, though a respected man, ‘never cared for the scruples of traditional morality which were unfounded and out of date’. His son Arjun, a businessman, is a womaniser. “Why I made Arjun’s character like that was because, often, a son takes after his father. Whereas a girl child either turns aggressive or very submissive, she never turns out to be socially counterproductive,” Sreela says.

The author, an assistant professor in English at NSS College, Dhanuvachapuram, stresses: “Women are always made to play second fiddle to men. She is not even treated as a human being in some cases. In this book, I’m making a case for Third World women as a whole.”

The book, published by Folio, is priced Rs. 150.