Teen Ghumti

Teen Ghumti
Photo by Mikołaj / Unsplash

Genre: Fiction

Author: BP Koirala

"Teen Ghumti" is a phenomenal psychological fiction written by Bishweshwar Prasad Koirala in the 1960s. The novel primarily focuses on the main character, Indramaya, and her three pivotal life decisions that shape different phases of her life.

In phase one (before marriage), Indramaya makes the decision to leave her parents' house and marry her lover.

Indramaya, a Newar girl, falls in love with a Brahmin guy named Pitamber. Since her parents disapprove of their relationship, she decides to leave her family to marry Pitamber. Pitamber, who is politically active and enjoys hosting gatherings and discussions with his politically inclined friends at their place, often invites them over. Indramaya actively participates in these conversations and embraces this lifestyle, holding no regrets about defying her parents' wishes to be with Pitamber. She loves him immensely. However, as the story unfolds, Pitamber is imprisoned for his political activism by the government.

In phase two (during her marriage to Pitamber), Indramaya makes another life-changing decision when Pitamber is arrested.

Indramaya's life takes a different turn as Pitamber is arrested and imprisoned by the government. Ramesh, a close friend of Pitamber who was also detained but released earlier, frequently visits Indramaya and grows closer to her. In contrast to Pitamber's quiet and composed nature, Ramesh brings joy to Indramaya's life with his jovial disposition. Over time, despite initial hesitation, Indramaya gives in to Ramesh's affection, and they decide to live together. Although Indramaya enjoys Ramesh’s company, she still feels the void left by Pitamber in her life. She continues to express her love for her husband by sending him food and clothing while he is in prison. Eventually, Indramaya becomes pregnant with her daughter and is delighted to embark on her journey into motherhood.

In Phase 3 (motherhood), she makes yet another crucial decision to leave Pitamber.

The birth of her daughter coincides with Pitamber's release from prison. While Indramaya is thrilled to have her husband back, Pitamber does not share the same enthusiasm upon returning home to an unexpected surprise. Indramaya’s dream of raising their daughter with Pitamber is shattered as he withdraws from both the mother and child. Later, Pitamber presents Indramaya with an ultimatum, asking her to make a choice. Without hesitation, she chooses her daughter over Pitamber, ultimately leaving him.

As the title suggests, "Teen Ghumti" portrays the interplay between Indramaya's life decisions as she navigates different phases of her life. What captivated me most was the exploration of her psychology throughout the narrative. With each pivotal decision in her life, Indramaya never looks back with regret. In fact, she embraces each phase of her journey with unwavering openness. What makes Indramaya truly fascinating is her enduring love for Pitamber, even though she appreciates her time with Ramesh and the companionship that leads her to motherhood.

Indramaya’s ability to compartmentalize her relationships with both Pitamber and Ramesh makes the story more intriguing. She doesn’t view her relationships with them through the lens of societal norms or measure herself against society’s standards. She maintains a clear and objective perspective, distinguishing between sex and love. Indramaya is indeed a free-spirited rebel, and her clarity on life and relationships is evident throughout the narration.

Personally, I find Koirala's bold portrayal of a female character who defies societal norms, whether through inter-caste marriage, unconventional motherhood, or the decision to leave her marriage to raise her child, commendable. I am still in awe of the author's visionary imagination, which was clearly ahead of its time when the book was written and published.

I 100% recommend this book. If you’d like to read more than this summary, you can get a physical copy of the book or listen to Achyut Ghimire's narration on Shruti Sambeg, available on YouTube.

My other book summaries can be accessed HERE.

See you in the next blog post!

Till then Happy Reading 😊