Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows – Balli Kaur Jaswal

(Reviewed by Ishita RC)

Everyone sees Nikki as the wayward daughter without any responsibility, but the truth is far from it. With visions of emancipating the women of the Sikh community she left behind as a self-important teenager, Nikki is shocked to find her creative writing class is a group of barely literate women who have no interest in her ideals of liberation.

To her surprise, the white dupatta of the widow hides more than just their modesty – these are women who have spent their lives in the shadows of fathers, brothers and husbands; being dutiful, raising children and going to temple, but whose inner lives are as rich and fruitful as their untold stories. As they begin to open up to each other about womanhood, sexuality, and the dark secrets within the community, Nikki realises that the illicit nature of the class may place them all in danger.

Looking at the title, I honestly didn’t hold much expectation though it definitely captured my attention and intrigued me. I am glad that I took a chance. The books is a wonderful amalgation of Indian culture and the modern views that the current generation brings into it, combined with an equal share of light-heartedness, intrigue and all things feminine. Though it may feel like lot of characters are involved, all of them help in defining the role of the lead character, Nikki. The idea of female empowerment is beautifully written throughout the entire plotline and is quite invigorating to be honest.

The structure of narration needs to be fixed, and there are few places where there are some errors in grammar, but none of it distracts the reader from the big picture. The title is finally justified in the end, though the cover image needs a more dramatisation than what it is right now.

Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows is a thoroughly entertaining book that I wouldn’t mind recommending further.

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