Author: Chitra Mudgal
Publisher: Samayik Prakashan, Vijay Prakashan
Publishing Date: 2016
In Post Box Number 203 Nalasopara, as the name suggests- Nalasopara is almost the last station in the Western suburb of Mumbai's Local Train. Anyone who has spent some time in Mumbai can realize how different the residents there are compared to other cities. This is the story of Vinod aka Binny aka Bimli aka Dikra is like a normal child in childhood. Top in sports, studies and mischief. Gradually, it enters his consciousness that he is different from normal children. Later, it is revealed that Vinod is a eunuch. But his upbringing is like a normal child. Very dear, very clever. His mother has high dreams about him, but the truth breaks the family altogether and their dreams and hopes. Distances appear among the loved ones. These distances have been made by the society. This book tells his journey and the shallow, regressive circumstances he had to face. The plot is unapologetically true to it’s roots yet will break your heart.
The book highlight the problems faced by transgenders/hermaphrodites in India. The author is successful in capturing the readers' heart emotionally, with her words, and leave them in an agonising pain in the end.
Novel 'Nalasopara Po. Box no. 203, Vinod is an important character and besides his primary agony and the subject of this book, his relationship with his mother and the complications they face in opening up to each other has been portrayed that almost feels claustrophobic for the readers. One would find oneself in craving for the resolution of such complications. Through the novel, the author has tried to present many aspects of the protagonist’s life. She shows how Vinod becomes a victim of emotional exploitation and then politics.
In this book, Chitra has tried to throw light on the situation of eunuchs in independent India. Before and after independence, we have broken all our stereotypes like Sati system, child marriage, discrimination from Dalits and untouchables etc., but there was no change in the lives of the eunuchs. Now recently the politicians have started an exercise to give them a separate category, while their status in the society is worse than the untouchables today. They are not included in any Teej-festival. Due to this, even today everyone looks at an eunuch with strange eyes.
Pouring her heart out in an interview, Chitra says:
“When I lived in Nalasopara, Mumbai, I met a young man who was forced out of his house for being a eunuch. This novel is the story of the rebellion of the same young man. This young man questions his family, especially his mother, that you do not expel a lame, lula, deaf, mentally challenged child out of the house, but if I was born with a gender disability, in which I have no fault. Why was I thrown out of the house?”
The whole story is in the form of letters addressed to the mother, which is not only different in style of portrayal but also an engaging way to capture audience’s attention.
- In 2019, 'Nalasopara Po. Box no. 203 ' won the Sahitya Academy Award.
About the Author:
Born on 10 September 1944 in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, Chitra Mudgal did her early education at Nihali Kheda, a paternal village in the Unnao district of Uttar Pradesh, and higher education at the University of Mumbai. Chitra Mudgal's first story was on the man-woman relationship, which was published in 1955.
Under her veil, she has about thirteen story collections, three novels, three children's novels, four children's fiction collections, five edited books that have been published so far. She has also been awarded the Vyas Samman for the famous novel 'Aavaan'. Apart from this, he has received Indu Sharma Katha Samman, Sahitya Bhushan, Veer Singh Dev Award. In 2019 she was awarded India's highest literary award, the Sahitya Akademi, for her novel Post Box No. 203, Naalasopara.