Happily ever after

January 5, 2007

AK Ramanujan, poet and teacher, on the male-centred and women-centred Indian folktales:

In male-centred tales a hero is featured prominently and moves out of the parental family in search of adventures. The hero may start out with a sense of rivalry with his father, kill or master an ogre (a father figure!), win princesses from different worlds, befriend animals (often a bird of the air, a fish or crocodile of the waters, ants of the earth), undertake tasks in which these animals (or the women) help him, and then return victorious to receive recognition, a princess, a kingdom — or atleast half of one. Women are no more than pawns or prizes or helpers in his life’s game. His antagonists tend to be male, though a stepmother or ogress might also want to get rid of him. The story usually ends with a wedding.

Women-centred tales have a different focus. Saving, rescuing, or reviving a man, often solving riddles on his behalf, becomes the life-task of the heroine. In such tales, women predominate and men are wimps, ruled by mothers, mistresses, or wives. The antagonists are usually women — co-wives, sisters-in-law, stepmothers. Sometimes a male — a father, a brother, or a guru — may desire the heroine inappropriately and turn into her enemy. Her chief helpers also tend to be women. In contrast to the male-centred tale, marriage begins rather than ends the story; a separation ensues, and then a rescue of the male by the female.
—Β  Folktales from India

17 Responses to “Happily ever after”

  1. M O H A N Says:

    buddy…. balaji telefilms is missing you badly. They have gone on a single track till date in all their soaps and heard that TRP’s are falling.

    Maybe you can have a truck to churn out the balanced version for them and give me some royalty too

  2. Vijay Says:

    LOL… maybe write a “black box” program where you feed in the various characters and preferences and you end up with a story.. just like the famous machine in R.K. Narayan’s Vendor of Sweets…

  3. Srik Says:

    As the famous saying, marriage is an institution in which a man looses his bachelor degree and a woman gains her masters. These tales are written on the same lane.
    Man is everything from a super hero to an adventurer to a saviour to a friend…. until his marriage, while his life becomes woman-centric after marriage!!

    How true!!

  4. M O H A N Says:

    Srik remember “marraige is not a word it is a sentence”

    πŸ˜‰

  5. Vijay Says:

    Srik: Eagerly awaiting to see how you turn out πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  6. anoop Says:

    What are these so called ‘Story templates’ pointing to?
    That a man’s life comes to an end after he marries, or nothing significance happens after he ties the nuptial knot. On the other hand, a woman’s life seems to start from her marriage and her life holds not significance that point in her life.
    I can’t argue on this, as I have read many books which follow the style.
    Have you noticed that quite a few of S.L.Bhairappas books (not obviously all) have such a story line. but of course, not all of his books end in a happy marriage [:D] either, what im trying to say is, the protagonists role in life comes to an end by the time he/she reaches middle age.
    but, in case of Shivram Karanth’s books almost all stories cover the characters entire life span.
    was wondering, has this got to do anything to do with the above two authors experience of life!

  7. Vani Says:

    Oho Bellur,

    Now you are making me look forward to marriage. Lemme see if what you have pointed to is true………. πŸ˜‰

    But seriously, why are men so scared of marriage ? Is it so tough ?

  8. M O H A N Says:

    vani,
    still not packed ro rajasthan? πŸ˜‰

    marriage = commitment = responsitbiliy = answerability.

    Men are not scared but accept it as a necessary evil.

  9. praneshachar Says:

    marriage is an institution marriage is not a word it is a sentance.
    what ever it may it is a cart pulled by two if one does not do their duty correctly the cart/institution will collapse
    if institution collapses what is the use of phd or masters or bachelors degree.
    as already said there is no woman without man and there is no she wthout he
    yes for balaji telefilms or for some others they may have lot to get so bellur please charge them and spend for welfare of mankind all the best!!!!!!!

  10. rk Says:

    mohan,
    great idea! πŸ˜‰

    vijay,
    yes… i remember jagan’s son importing the huge machine!

    srik,
    your comment reminds me an oft quoted incident. an english professor wrote the words, β€œWoman without her man is nothing” on the blackboard and directed his students to punctuate it correctly.

    the men wrote: β€œWoman, without her man, is nothing.”

    the women wrote: β€œWoman: Without her, man is nothing.”

    anoop,
    πŸ™‚ i love reading books which follows a person’s life from birth to death.

    vani,
    not all men are SCARED of marriage. some also feel it is SACRED!
    nice that you are looking forward to marriage. all the best.

    praneshachar,
    beautifully said! agree with you totally.

  11. Vani Says:

    Mohan

    Reporting from Rajasthan…no one yet has passed my tests! πŸ˜‰


  12. I better don’t comment here. Atleast not for happily married people.. Atleast not whene Mohan is around.
    Srik…Good luck…! nimage olle heMdati siktaaLe bidi, I am sure! you can write it & keep πŸ™‚


  13. Srik, please provide that SHE link here. Man.. very good one.. I still remember that.. it was so fantastically written…!

  14. M O H A N Says:

    veena madam,
    Dont worry madko bade… you will definetly have some angled version – I promise not to eat you up πŸ˜‰

    Please do comment

    cheers
    mohan!

  15. M O H A N Says:

    veena madam,
    Dont worry madko bade… you will definetly have some angled version – I promise not to eat you up πŸ˜‰

    Please do comment

    Vani,
    The apprenticeship period is supposed to be one year and obviously you wont get any body so soon…. good luck anyway.

    cheers
    mohan!


  16. Thanks for the concern! takshNa marthoytu en heLbeku anthidde adu.
    amele, nimmanta seniors paapa heege hedrisidre juniors gathi enu ? swalpa serious aagi positivie influence maadri…

    olle vajramuni tara aagbiTre?? He acted as a nice villian liked by all .. πŸ™‚

  17. M O H A N Says:

    Beda re beda…

    Vajramuni kathe yarigu barbardu. He suffered a lot in his end days due to renal failure. Shiver hearing his name for all the sufferenings in real life!

    Nobody should be afraid of anybody then he becomes a villain as you rightly say. Senior or junior does not matter – its only truth thats supreme and out there…

    Life is a rainbow – sometimes we see only one shade of the colour but dont forget white has every shade in it and this is the optimisum in which life can go on

    en anthira?

    mohan!


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