Most of us, the 90s kids, loved series like Malgudi Days because it was closer to reality, funny and satirical even. This short story by Perumal Murugan called The Blouse, which I read on Juggernaut app, happens to be one such story.
This is a story of a modern doctor who is irked by his mother’s unconventional (in his perspective unconventional) ways of living. His mother hasn’t worn a blouse all her life. She has been comfortable all along doing the menial rustic duties like taking care of cattle and household chores without having to cover her breasts. But her son finds it odd and wants a quick solution to this “problem” because he is to meet his prospective bride soon.
Here lies the satire and humor and reality in this story. We all have had, at some point, been averse to the “unconventional” or “not-so-modern” outlook of our parents. We call it “generation gap.” The character of the doctor son is shown to have nightmares about his mother’s breasts. Those breasts that nurtured him! Further we see how satirically and humourously Murugan pens all the facade of the family’s urge to cover up the mother’s breasts with a blouse. And then the cliffhanger only adds to the fun.
This story is a quick read, only 22 pages. It was my first by Murugan. And I totally loved reading it. The story’s simplicity wins the reader’s heart.