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Embracement of Ordinariness and Everyday Life is a post-pandemic aura: A Postmodern Discourse of a Time-Spatial Boundary of Women's Lives through the short stories of Shobha De and Juhi Aisin Ghani

 


Embracement of Ordinariness and Everyday Life is a post-pandemic aura: A Postmodern Discourse of a Time-Spatial Boundary of Women's Lives through the short stories of Shobha De and Juhi Aisin Ghani

Amrita Das

 PhD Research Scholar

 Veer Narmad South Gujarat University

Surat, Gujarat, India

Abstract:

This research paper presents the everyday concept from the cultural feminist perspective of Rita Felski. Everyday life has changed both during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Irrespective of gender, class, and religion, people confront the new normal with a shift in the cultural paradigm. It has created an unprecedented experience for the everyday. But the question that arises here is the nature of experience. How and in what manner is this everyday making us different? Needless to say, the concept of ‘everyday’ is a marked feature while discussing cultural phenomena. With the ‘new normal’, the everyday definition also received a newness. In the modern era, feminist theorists have come up with a negative approach to this everyday concept. The mainstream feminists sought to break the cultural barrier between home and domesticity, where the ordinariness of life, although rich in context, was deliberately ignored. Through the theoretical framework of Felski, I want to highlight the newly changed sphere of this everyday concept with its time-spatial boundary. This middle-class, non-elite, playful concept of daily life can be a positive phenomenon of self-discovery. How women’s reciprocation with everyday life through its multiple attributes brings a new identity concept, and the possibility of it through the exemplification of the short stories of Indian writers Shobha De and Juhi Aisin Ghani, will be my point of critical analysis here.

Keywords: Everyday, Postmodernity, Repetition, Habit, Home

Introduction

Eschewing myself from demarcating the definition of the COVID-19 pandemic, I want to invest my research in a direct description of the after-effects of the pandemic life. The years 2020 and 2021 have left society with a new culture where humans are getting habituated to using masks, digitalization, sanitization, quarantine, and maintaining social distance. These new parts make a ‘new normal’ culture.

The world becomes impossible to imagine without this cultural part. The newness of society brings changes in everyday life too, without fail. The universe has witnessed the pain, trauma, solidarity, and anxiety of thousands of people. Mentally, physically, and sexually, the life world turns into its opposite. These notions are not based on practice and experience alone; literature and literary texts with anecdotes of mirroring society emerge with the description of those traumatic situations. The sociologists, literary theorists, and cultural critics grasped these portions with enamor.

The propositions that come in trend become the culture with which people learn to live and survive. I think this is the justification for everyday life. Along with literary texts, various newspaper articles and media houses proclaimed these aspects of life. The tumultuous part of everyday life is highlighted by exhibiting its normalcy. But interestingly, the other side of the coin is kept aloof from elaboration. The other side of everyday life also exhibits pragmatic, constructive, and undeniable features that are mostly ignored. This research article would like to delve into the constructive and aesthetic side of everyday life for women. This new invention will surely mark some changes in the thought process of knowing and understanding women, their power, self, authenticity, and identity. 

Everyday life

The concept of everyday emerged in the late 18th and early 19th centuries as an adjective form from the pen of Romantic writers. From the writings of Maria Edgeworth and Jane Austen, a glimpse of everyday life is found. Jane Austen used this concept to make a distinction between contemporary and canonical. In literature, the concept of everyday comes with two ideas: first, it is no more than a variant of the probable, and second, it is just a looked-over concept of the real possibility of it.

However, it came at first as a general concept. Later, its engagement with literature marked its important existence. In the beginning, the everyday concept was ignored, but with time, it has gained a place in literature. In literary studies, everyday emerges conceptually, as stated by Stanley Cavell. This everyday world is always with us, but it is negligible. We always discover it in a new way, creating an oxymoronic situation.

 I think this discoverable attitude is very much present in literature, and my study also discovers the traits to be discovered in everyday life. After Austen, in the writings of Wordsworth and Keats too, we get glimpses of everyday description. William Galperin says, in the poems of these two giant poets, ‘a sense of life interrupted, where, in tacit acknowledgment of what literature has recently discovered, life and everyday life finally merged (Galperin 8)’.

But before literature with the pen of social scientist Henri Lefebvre, this everyday concept was introduced famously. Lefebre's famous book Criticism of Everyday Life is about the efficaciousness of everyday. He makes a difference between everyday-ness and everyday and adds the repetition concept in a positive approach. According to him, “the everyday has always existed, has always been repetitive. It emerges nonetheless at the intersection of two modes of repetition; the cyclical and the linear.” (9) The cyclical dominates nature and the linear dominates rationality. About these two ideas, I will argue in the next sections. The monotony of modern life is reflected in his writings.

Apropos of this monotonous modern life, this is significant to mention that in the modern era, this everyday possesses a negative prospect. The varied form of daily life receives its skillfulness in the postmodern period. Lefebvre prefers to view culture through the postmodern lens. This is because postmodernism sets a constructive notion of ordinariness. To quote from the article “Feminism, Postmodernism and the Critique of Modernity” of the book Doing Time: Feminist Theory and Postmodern Culture “This postmodern era, by contrast, involved a breakdown of foundational truths, an exhilarating liberation of difference and multiplicity and blurring boundaries between high and popular culture (60 Felski)”.  The culture although an old concept, but its meaning has changed in the modern era. Modern contemporary scholars tend to consider culture as an unstable affair with disparate behaviors, perceptions and lifestyles.

Another reason for rejecting modernity is its aestheticism which is commonly found in elite groups of people. Citing the example of Dadaism and Surrealism, Felski says, ‘The modern world speaks of the chaotic workings of the unconscious, the fragmentation of the self, the unreliability of language, the confused nature of perception (58 Felski)’. The reason for mentioning the elite class is because Felski opines that modernity tends to describe the culture of the privileged groups.  Contradicting this fragmentation, postmodernism seems to trace all life aspects in a single thread. To make the culture approachable all disciplines can convulse and feminism is not separate from this.

Postmodernism evaluates the positivity of local and popular culture which is excluded by the ‘universalistic pretension’ (159 Featherstone) of the modern. It tends to be the ignored, undefined, unnoticed part of everyday life. In the words of Featherstone ‘postmodernism as enhancing tendencies to transform the cultural sphere which gained a strong impetus from the 1960s’ (159). The women are not the carriers of the ‘heroic life’, a term that denotes the opposition to everyday life used by Featherstone. The quotidian life is the base for the fabrication of the conceptualization, narratives of life, and definitions of ordinariness.

Everyday Feminism

Feminist theory typically voices up for equality and sameness. Since its origin, the different waves’ approach towards liberating women sums up the articulation of various formations. The concept of everyday is not used much in feminism and cultural studies because of its abstract philosophical traits. Feminist critics and theorists are not always treating this concept as a theoretically valued one. According to them, this everyday concept is a natural order that does not need any philosophical content to verify. Quoting Mike Featherstone again, ‘…everyday life is the sphere of women, reproduction and care (162).’

This everyday life is not simply a negative part of life. It can have its supremacy and significance. It potentiates the value of women through their everyday acts of resistance. My research delineates the strata of these findings with a qualitative approach to these forms of resistance in the Indian context. To find the significance of the everyday concept, two Indian women writers' short stories are analyzed here.

Literature Review

Nabila Kazmi in her paper ‘Feminist Resistance Through the Lens of Everyday Lived Experiences of Young Women in India’ examines the lived experiences of two young women from urban slums in India who participated in an after-school program focusing on issues of gender inequality within their homes, communities, and schools. Her article evaporates everyday life and its narrative against patriarchy. The simple transformation of the quotidian life, making the household a space of their agency.

No further research has been done as such on this unique theme. This idea pushed me to work on this and with the theoretical concept of Rita Felski and her valuable approaches to quotidian lives, I have worked to find the relevance of this in constructing the agency of Indian women. Indian women abide by culture and tradition. Disrespecting these is considered as equal to sinning. Indian women, although very small in number there who can happily and enthusiastically revolt against their cultural boundaries. Therefore, this research could be the articulation of those women’s voices. The voices I have extemporized are of Shobha de and Juhi Aisinghani.

Shobha de is an Indian novelist and columnist who is best known for the depiction of socialites and sex in her works. Another writer is Juhi Aisinghani, a very recent writer. Their books Lockdown Liaisons and Unlocking the Lock down Stories I have analyzed here to understand the aestheticism of ordinariness. Through the short stories of these two books, the writers have presented us few women characters who awaken themselves using their very act of everyday resistance. To bloom these acts, I have used the framework of the feminist cultural theory of Rita Felski who is a contemporary feminist theorist of aestheticism, feminism, modern and postmodernism, and at last cultural theory.

Rita Felski is an academician and critic, who holds the John Stewart Bryan Professorship of English at the University of Virginia. She talks about the everyday aesthetics of women and their life world. Through her lifelong research, she focuses mainly on a new way of liberating women. But her way is not a divergence from culture, as culture is an integral part of human life. She observes that everyday attributes towards a mundane life, taken-for-granted beliefs, and practices, the sphere of reproduction, towards a non-reflexive sense and most interestingly it points out the frivolous, playful nature of others. It’s the activities outside the ongoing institutional domain. It also talks about heterogenous knowledge.

Contemporary feminists in their search to find women's authenticity and to establish their identity contradict these before-mentioned every day attributes. Felski criticizes these modern concepts stating that this traditional belief system is not always something that subordinates women. Most feminists believe that this traditional system should be removed – such as Betty Friedan, and Maria Mies who criticize the homely concept. Felski in her essays finds aesthetics in the everyday life of women. Complete research will help us to know that she believes not only does the contemporary concept or modernity help us to find identity, but rather it is making humans selfish neglecting everything and incommensurate with the life world.

The established cultural phenomenon has a limited focus on the life world. Felski’s innovative phenomenology, different from Husserl’s’, with its amalgamation of cultural studies creates a new aesthetic concept. This newness focuses on everyday aesthetics. Rita in her essay Everyday Aesthetics defines the aesthetic concept of everyday focusing on the commonplace and quotidian. Her theory conjures up the concept of repetition, home, and habit and their positive role in making women's identity.

The age-old concept which is regarded as a cardinal sin in practice by contemporary theorists accepted by Felski as an impeccable part of existence. From the chapter “The Invention of Everyday Life”, ‘A repertoire of background beliefs, sedimented assumptions, and every day practices turns out not to be the antagonist of knowledge, but its fundamental preconditions’. (Felski 175) She considers habit, repetition, and home not as a perennial part of women's lives but practicing these facets of existence empowers women more.

She looks at these tasks positively rather than merely commodifying them. She asks for a new phenomenological method that deviates from Husserl’s and pays attention to the subtle, multi-shaded form of everyday aesthetics. To prove my point more impactful along with the framework of Felski I have scrutinized two books that conveyed the lockdown stories during the covid-19 pandemic.

Felski’s feminist approach

Women possess an affinity with nature. The lack of proper structural organization, women's language, and their involvement in writing denied their essentiality in creating their agency from the cultural perspective of women's subordination. The reality behind this- feminists' approach to finding the identity of women- is based on a constraint against those disharmonies. Women’s engagement with everyday life and ordinariness forms a new language, a new self. Felski says, in the chapter ‘Subjectivity and Feminism’, “The assertion that the self needs to be decentred is of little value to women who have never had a self; a recurring theme of feminist literature is the difficulty many women still experience in defining an independent identity beyond that shaped by the needs and desires of those around them” (78 Felski)

Thus, my research tries to find the tale of the identity of those women who experienced this self from the new postmodern perspective. But beyond the needs and desires of the shaped feminine theory, how the identity concept can be explained from the ordinariness of cultural phenomena wants to get discussed here.

Rita Felski’s everyday concept is associated with feminism. She desires to make a solace, a connection between these two concepts. This is because she feels the ordinariness of daily life has intentionally marked itself as submissive. This space always weakens women. To juxtapose this age-old concept, she stresses the liveliness of everyday. It is noteworthy to mention that that this everyday theory does not instruct us to accept everything of daily life widely; rather it suggests making these habits transparent and self-evident. These habits are needed to experiment practically, and logically. Accepting the quotidian logically does not remark one as non-intellectual, but Felski believes those are ever-intelligent persona.

Felski considers this everyday as a form of consciousness. Everyday life resides in the unconscious part which is already always ignored. It has become a taken-for-grant part of life. She wants to drag out this so that consciously we can this life. Aesthetically this everyday life will be enlivened to excoriate. She says this ‘aesthetic encounter is defined by a distinctive temporality; it pivots around moments of world-disclosing rupture and shock that are contrasting to the homogeneous and soul-destroying routines of daily life’ (608 Rita).

The feminist confession notion talks about not rejecting the traditional but bringing modifications to traditional concepts. The first-person narratives of these stories confess their acceptance of tradition not verbally always but by their attitude and actions. Felski in her early writings about feminism and the development of feminist theories discusses the various issues from language to individuality, authenticity, self-discovery, and all that. Her focus and criticism of feminist movements of emancipation are divided into two sections Bildungsroman and self-awakening. The latter is a matter of discussion.

Felski in the beginning of her research is influenced by Henrey Lefebvre. His two repetition concept of cyclical mode which is represented by women whose words are predominant with nature and linear is always added on with male culture and male rationality. In the linear world, everyday practice gets vanished although it is connected with our lives and becomes a sacramental part of existence. But we ignore this because we are tending to become modern and rationalized. This everyday is a product of life, not a stratum of everydayness.

This aesthetic part will rescue the divinity of everyday life and transform it into a lively texture contrasting defamiliarization. Felski is one of those radical intellectuals who finds resonance in the traditional gesture of life experience. The linear modernist part always tries to be under the limelight to revamp a new rational future but results in achieving numbness and solidarity. According to Raoul Vaneigem, modern rationality is a part of ‘seething unsatisfied desires, daydreams in search of a foothold in reality, feelings at once confused and luminously clear, ideas and gestures presaging nameless upheavals’ (609)

In the process of awakening, she exemplifies a few novels where women characters discover their selves by leaving their homes. It’s a kind of romantic quest. The quest to know the self, finds the self, and understands the self. This discovery is an awakening of self-consciousness. To understand the concept that ‘identity is not something to be worked toward, but a point of origin, an authentic and whole subjectivity from which the protagonist has become estranged’ (143 Felski). This inward and individualistic process marks the ‘threshold between two states’ (143) and invites the romantic theme and structure. So, when it is elucidating romanticism then the traditions like mythology, nature, culture, and civilization play a part.

This romantic motif works as a desire to return to some mythic structure. These motifs Felski disconnects with the concept of cultural feminism constituting the idea that ‘Romantic feminist vision is the product of the psychological and aesthetic concept of liberation, less concerned with strategic means for ending the oppression of women than with expressing a paradisal longing for harmony fuelled by a revulsion against the conditions of life under contemporary capitalism’ (147)

Later she favors and speaks in favour of cultural feminism, the importance of myth, and tradition to value the feminine culture and to lessen the power of capitalist patriarchal culture. So, a new approach to feminine subjectivity arises with tradition and culture which is the failed status of the socialist feminist. This new approach does not highlight the regressive side of the traditional culture but of modernity and progress. She evaporates the postmodern cultural assumption critiquing the Marxist approach that always ‘relegates women to a solitary footnote’ (2 Felski)

The vision of time as “project, teleology, linear and prospective unfolding” is linked to the universalizing logic of modernity and the ideology of the nation-state. When they enter historical time, women consent to the erasure of their specific identities as sexed subjects” (16 Felski) the feminists after 1968 talked about the alternative version of time related to the mythical and cyclical. Felski’s focus on this time concept is worth understanding the ordinariness of lifeworld.

Time, she divides, into three parts – everyday time, lifetime, and large-scale time. Life is the inculcation of these three parts. Everyday time is the phenomenological time.  How and at what pace our life is going on? Life-time is the cohesion of everyday life. Large-scale time is ‘the long-term process of time that transcends the limits of our existence (Felski 18)’; again time is ‘phallocentrically structured, forward-moving time’ and ‘gynocritic recurrent time’. Agreeing with the idea of Barbara Adams that the linear and cyclical nature of time are male and female respectively is a prototypical concept. The cyclical nature is not wholly attributed to women. This is in belief because cyclical is natural that automatically demarcates women's sphere.

Everyday life needs to be rethought from the repressiveness against this. Felski is influenced by the second volume of the book The Practice of Everyday Life, where Luce Giard and Pierre Mayol’s descriptions of the everyday lives of women are important. She says, ‘Metaphors of everyday time are intricately intertwined with metaphors of genders’ (612 Felsski). Lefebvre quotes, ‘Everyday life weighs heaviest on women, they are the subject of everyday life and its victims’ (612). The quotidian life is a horror to them, disrespecting the tasks of everyday works of women, and often women themselves disparaged it. It is not likely that the mainstream feminist's apprehension of domesticity, and capitalistic subversion of women are avoidable, but instead of considering this as a traumatic part or soul-destroying notion, how everyday quotidian part, the repetition of chores and continuing capitalism can be a strong part of women, I think Felski wants to theorize that which I also want to prove through the analysis of these two writers’ writings.

But at the same time, Felski also believes that linearity and cyclical nature are not apart from each other. Both are interdependent and based on repetition and ritual. Women also try to develop likewise rational men in today’s world. Women are trying to be developed and progressive in rationality, economics, and political fields. Women maintain both these time schedules by doing both household and office work. But the unpaid and not recognized works of women in the household cannot imagine their self-directed future like men. ‘their lives consisted of a series of fragments, not a carefully choreographed upward ascent(21 Felski).’

 Reading modernity through the cultural lens is a new aspect of knowing modernity where daily life is hidden. Felski focuses on three attributes of everyday life – Time which is repetition to her, Spatial which is home and modality is habit. The stories I have discussed here are from the perspectives of these three attributes. Linear time is a trait of modernity, of progressiveness which often creates complications in self-understanding.

To mention Johannes Fabian here whose ‘time’s arrow’ is masculine and ‘time’s cycle’ is a feminine concept Felski uses to make her three time-spatial attributes more focused. The trait of repetition has a connection with tradition and values, so it never marks women as failures rather it helps to transcend the historical existence of women. Repetition or routine is considered as a horror as a threat, but Felski argues ‘Repetition is one of how we organize the world, make sense of our environment and stave off the threat of chaos. It is a key factor in the gradual formation of identity as a social and intersubjective process” (21)

Home is a metaphysical concept. ‘Being at home in the world is an implicit affront to the existential homelessness and anguish of the modern intellectual’ (Felski 23). As per modernity home has the anti-home concept. Against the idea that home is considered a boring, regressive concept, the women in the analyzed stories have made a domain of finding their agencies. Return to family and familiar beings is badly criticized, and home is portrayed as a place to celebrate liveliness, cheer up existence, and fabricate a new identity.

The everyday significance of home is trinocular. First of all, home is a place, a space for creating familiarities, and of course this place is created by women. With the reality of home changes, the reality of daily life. Secondly, home is a place to reflect the social construction also. Whatever happens in the outside world, home is always the reflection of that. Thirdly home is a space of power struggle. In each home, women are struggling either by accepting the struggle or neglecting it. But she is creating a space for her self-identity. This a place of cathexis of self. The characters in the stories are found to resonate their cathexes in their created home. Some politically, some submissively, Some lovingly with kindness and compassion.

The third one is habit which is not an action only but also an attitude. All these are very necessary parts of life. This is the unconscious reality. In the hands of modern theory, this habit becomes an ideology that is against the authentic life. Habits of dailyness, ordinariness of daily culture household works such as cooking, rearing taking care, and very interesting sexuality is also a part of this habit.

Repetition, habit, and routines ‘bespeak creativity as well as coercion’ (Felski 613) Felski says these are the know-how attitudes, these are skills to use to control or win the situation. Talking against the everyday life-world, repetition, habit, and homely nature is so familiar and smooth that going against this, walking on the opposite side is quite unfamiliar in the beginning. It needs to spin the mind, rotate the thought process, and generate new thought processes to accept the attitude. Most of the articles, and books talk about smoothness but this research paper is ready to accept the resilient path to show the new attitude, to mark the quotidian as happening and lively. In the words of Gilbert Ryle, ‘We are often more worried about people’s competencies than their cognitive repertoires’ (Felski 616)

Critical Analysis

Sobha De, a writer who is well-known for her boldness in writing has circumnavigated the short stories from her book Lockdown Liaisons. The novels she wrote like Socialite Evenings, Starry Nights, and others portray the boldness of women characters, their modernity, and their sexuality, irreverent views. Her writings have consistently chronicled her deeply felt socio-political-cultural concerns. These stories from the book Lockdown Liaisons are not exceptionally different from her normal writing style. Stories are based on time-spatial concepts.

Sobha De in her book Lockdown Liaisons does not talk about the pain and plight much about women like her contemporary writers. But rather how these situations have empowered women, how love, the homely nature, and the home abode make women more powerful, and how everyday life has given them a new way to talk about their identity, she discusses. It is visible in her writings that tradition is reflected through her conceptualized modern theme. So here through these stories, I want to show the stories of those women who are modern, new women of the 21st century but to find their existence relevant they are grasping their roots. Their originality is not completely removed from their life world.

The book consists of 24 stories. I have analyzed within the framework of Felski’s theory five stories here. To begin ‘My Girl friend’s Theplas’, this story is about Aarti who is a representative of modernity. She is from Gandhi Nagar Gujarat. At the beginning of the story, we are told by the writer that she spends her days in countries like Tuscany. She is an ‘enthusiastic bunny’ who is always cheerful in life. During the pandemic, she initiates charity for needy people. To help the people she starts making online videos of cooking.

Woman, unlike the other characters of Shobha, Aarti from this story is ‘pure, na├»ve and trusting’. She starts a seva mission. She cooks food and delivers it to needy people. At first, she wants to go to South America to commence her project, but she limits herself to her city realizing the poor condition of the people. Her charity is mocked by others, but her helping attitude never stops. To frame Felski’s theory here the women do not need to be completely resistant towards the modern approach. But they are finding solace in their own space.

 To mark this here it is worth mentioning that she starts to make videos in her western wear, in her ‘bikini top and jeans’ but later this same Aarti turns into Indian attire after a few days. She clads herself into that attire which she once regarded as ‘auntyji outfits’ (Shobha 53). Luce Giard says, ‘Alimentary habits constitute a domain where tradition and innovation matter equally, where past and present are mixed to serve the needs of the hour, to furnish the joy of the moment, and to suit circumstances’ (e CERTEAU, Geard… 151) Aarti’s deeds to the underprivileged persons are an example of ordinary culture. She is an example of women’s right value in everyday life. She makes the usefulness of time, and home as her domain and habit of naiveness is a positive attitude to uplift herself.

The next story I want to discuss is ‘Stuck’. The story is about a memsaab named Sweety. She is a memsaab, a modern woman as well as ‘a perfect housewife’ (Shobha 79). The story is told from the voice of her husband. The beginning of the story shows the reluctance of Sweety to engage herself completely with her in-laws' house. Even with her husband too, she is fed up. She has affairs with another man just to get out of the boredom of her married life.

But as the story gradually goes on, it shows how Sweety is adjoining herself with her husband again. She worries about her home, her husband, her pieces of furniture, and all the material things she has in her home. She takes care of her husband’s meals, clothes, and other things when her husband tells her she is the emblem of ‘a perfect housewife’. So, this story is set in the lockdown period, and the husband wants to get rid of a girl Ronita. He finds many options without help. Finally, his wife helps him to come out of the problem. So, it can be said that the new normal helps them to get reunited again happily with love. Felski already notes that the self-awakening process is included with love and healthy relationships.

‘Pressure Cooker Romance’, a story is again about cooking. The pressure cooker works as a good omen for the life of the protagonist of the story. She can’t cook food; she keeps herself at bay from cooking. The sound of the neighbour’s house pressure cooker makes her repentant and angry at the same time. But at last, this cooking part, the pressure cooker helps her to get romance. So again, with the cohesion of everyday time, she is represented as a representation of the lifetime with the gesture of love.

The next story is ‘No Chicken Please’. This story is a prime example of habit which Felski says is not an action always but attitude too. The story is based on madamji, the main character, an 86-year-old woman. She is completely alone during the lockdown. She is taken care of by Ayas. The story introduces her as an aristocratic woman, rich, wealthier who possesses two maids to take care of herself. At that time, her home is different and her habits too.

But lockdown solidarity changes her attitude. She finds cathexes in the kholi of her maid who lives with her drunkard husband and 10 years old son. The fear of death alone and being lonely in the last days of her life change her definition of everyday life. She is habituated with a western-style washroom, clean toilet, and comfortable king-size bed. But in the house of her maid, she is just using the Indian toilet, normal tea, and a simple cot. With time she accepts the ordinariness accepting the simplicity and happiness from that life. ‘Really times are strange’ (De 138)

The last story is ‘A Quest Ends’ where Shobha de has given the reader the taste of different types of family stories. The story is about two bankers and their healthy love life. This couple has everything except a child for which they are dying to. But the story never presents any glitches between them because of the scarcity of a baby. Rather it ends with understanding, love, and happiness.

From breakup to being in love with each other, the importance of love, home, habit, and a saga of everyday life is again worth mentioning in the stories mentioned above. Love, fighting, friendship, and enmity are discussed here broadly and eloquently. The daily life and ordinary household works are specified. Sometimes in a negative manner, often in a positive approach. The various facets of everyday life from the perspective of women she has drawn well. Even her stories glimpse the necessity of figuring out the rituals, and traditional bondages, return to them, and come back approach.  This approach truly satisfies the nature of everyday phenomenology and makes it a new social construction to look at. Set in the modern background, the women are not typical housewives indeed, but during their lonely time, their household chores help them to come out from the trauma of Corona virus.

‘When everybody is talking about the uncertainties happening during the lockdown 2020, she tries to show you another side of it’ (online). This line is about the new very recent writer Juhi Aisinghani. This Mumbai-based writer through her stories in the book Unlocking the Lockdown Stories portrays another side of lockdown with a positive air of spreading love and happiness.

The first story of Aisinghani is ‘Love is in the Air’- This is the story of finding love in motherhood. While contemporary feminists are criticizing motherhood, here Juhi through this story is celebrating motherhood. This motherhood is not only for Angel’s mother for Angel but for the whole nation. The mother earth’s caring attitude is also described here. Angel’s mother after serving the whole nation during the lockdown, by helping everyone to come back to their mothers’ laps, says that motherhood is something that gives her a new identity.

Another story ‘Revamping Together’ is about a relationship between Jay and Natasha. Their love story is majorly prioritized. How lockdown instead of separating them, which Jay thought before, bringing them together. Corona virus helps them to get to know each other again in a new way with time they spend together, in their own abode and recurring their lost habit of togetherness.

The Guy Next Door’, This story is again talking about the love, the return to love of Anika. Anika, a small-town girl from Dehradun, comes to Mumbai with lots of wishes to be an actress. To make her position in the glamour world. She becomes undaunted and limitless to fulfill her dreams. She chases her dream only and to fulfill that dream she ignores all her relationships with home and friends. But to fulfill her dreams, she becomes alone day by day. Her focus diverges and she loses every hope in the glittering city. But every time her home, her parents are her only solace. At last, she returns to her friend Sushant whom she ignores once.

The second last story is ‘Love in Lockdown’, the story of Sarah, a frustrated younger sister of six siblings. Her frustration is with her life as her childhood is not lively and for a new life. But she ends up understanding the happiness in the home, homely love, homely food, and homely atmosphere. She feels secure there. In the new city, with the new job, she forgets her origin with Mike. Her boyfriend Mike takes her up to the moon at first. Later he only drags her down from that fictional world. She comes back to her reality where she understands herself. She finds herself. Moreover, she learns the most important thing in life which is love. Love with her own self and love with her family. The importance of home and homely gestures.

In the stories, we find a glimpse of the mundane, materialistic touch, and elements of ordinariness. In the first story, it is the cooking, in the second story it is the motherly love, in the third story it is the normal love relationship between two lovers. Intentionally I choose these stories to show the simplicity, and ordinariness which are not fictional, but rather integrally connected to the deeds and feelings of our everyday life. Democratization is marked everywhere.

Again, to mention that characters are not completely traditional or conventionally diagrammed women. But during the lockdown when the pandemic gulps every life, and relationship, both men and women comfort themselves in their very own space. Their own culture, traditions, family and home become their saviours. The story ‘Fortunately Unfortunate’, is again about cooking’s grandeur.  Culinary skills which are regarded as boring, unproductive, repetitive, and monotonous tasks now become a source of authenticity. To quote here, ‘Doing cooking is the medium for a basic, humble, and persistent practice that is repeated in time-space, rooted in the fabric of relationship to others and to one’s self, marked by the “family saga” and the history of each, bound to childhood memory just like rhythms and seasons’ (Aisinghani 157)

Thus, the postmodern aspect of everyday life surely becomes an important facet of understanding the significance and momentousness of cultural phenomena. This ordinariness is the very own undeniable nature of our lives. Making this everyday as a noun and persuading requires multitasking which pays attention to ‘diverse and often contradictory strands of cultural expression and affiliation without losing sight of broader social determinants of inequality (206 Felski)’. 

Works Cited

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