This is a sad story, with a somewhat touching folded ending. It tells of a nameless newly married village girl, coerced into coming to the city with her husband to do menial work during the dry season. In a quick successive sequence of unending cruel happenings, she is starved by her husband and tricked into being raped by a night watchman. Her husband finds out and beats her, before he mysteriously disappears amidst a bloody civil unrest. Then the watchman is accidentally killed.
She is lost in the huge city, begs for alms to feed, sleeps everywhere in the open and became friends with a madman. She discovers she is pregnant and couldn’t return to her village, without her lost husband and visibly pregnant for someone else. Still, she hopes she could return someday. She learns her father disowned her and her mother killed herself rather than live with the shame she had caused.
She painfully lost a helpful couple in an accident and had to live in a whore house because no one else would rent her a room. She got robbed of everything she owns and raped yet again, late into her pregnancy. Right then, she gave birth to a son on her own and had no choice but return to the selfless care of the madman.
The madman got beaten to death and she is also beaten up by the same vigilante group. She almost lost her son in a fire that burnt down everything she owns, again. She got badly burnt in the fire and was horribly disfigured. Her son’s first friend was a donkey and it mysteriously vanishes like it appeared.
Amidst such suffering and cruel mockery, she sold wood and her sole objective was caring for her son. He excelled in schooling and moved to a bigger school, staying far away from her love for too long. She went after him and discovered he had fitted into his new prestigious surrounding so well that she embarrasses him.
The tale gradually unfolds with chapter opening quotes and apt poetry. It reveals to be more than just the story of a suffering deformed maiden that suffers a lot of ill-fortune, or about how her gifted son grows into being ashamed of her, despite all her travails for him. The tale actually draws parallels with an ailed federation.
It handles a flawed state of nationhood. It highlights the nation’s relationship with its people, and their disdain for what made them anything special. It hints of their never ending and never ever accomplished ulterior desire to be something else, other than what they really are; mainly a country still forging statehood for itself.