Thicker than Blood by Munmun Ghosh explores the relationship of a childless couple – Mayuri and Vimal and their stressful journey towards parenthood. Everything looks perfect in the marriage, the family, the surroundings, the relatives and most importantly compatibility between the couple, which is most important factor in any marriage. The turmoil begins when Mayuri fails to conceive and she traverses all paths on the planet to conceive. As a natural reaction, for any anomaly in the body we reach out to medication/ surgery and Mayuri and Vimal just did that. The account of what goes in the mind of childless mother is very vivid, how far a woman can go to become a mother right from consulting a gynaec, fertility specialists, babas, religion, superstitions, home medication, extramarital affair, IVF, Surrogacy…what not, and Mayuri does it all. Her desire of motherhood is so strong that she is ready to sacrifice her biggest asset, her relationship with her husband Vimal, who loves her immensely. It was quite a revelation to me how fertility treatments tax the couple physically, emotionally, socially and financially and shops running in the guise of fertility clinics.
I must admit, I am yet to read a book like this, opening chapters of the book made me feel as if I was reading a biology book on reproductive procedures where names have been given as Vimal and Mayuri. They could have been little subtle rather than being so explicit. At some point I thought of leaving the book as it didn’t seem to be going anywhere…but after few chapters book literally grows on you.
I must admit, it is the most wonderful book on the most unexplored subject. Authors may not want to venture into this genre easily but Munmun has done it. Her thorough research on the subject be it on the medical, biological or emotional aspect is evident in this special title. This book can be torch bearer for all women who are confronting this issue. Book’s pacy narrative, lucid language, styling, fine detailing, well-nuanced relationships and realistic settings & situations make it stand out. Reader can sense that it comes from a seasoned journalist and even more seasoned writer Ms. Ghosh. For the first time I experienced what a woman goes through if she is unable to bear a child through this poignant tale of husband and wife who fight out all adversities to make their family complete. Last but not the least, Jaico’s production values add immense value to the title.
There is an interesting contrast presented between the two women – Mayuri & Seema. Seema, who is blessed with two children but gives priority to her ambitions, whereas Mayuri is ready to sacrifice everything in want of a child. Vimal’s character is well etched; he fits the bill completely as a torn husband who at times want to revolt to Mayuri’s desperation to bear a child and on the other hand cooperates too just to make her happy.
Thicker than Blood – As the name suggests – there are some other things too which are thicker than blood. Mayuri’s progression from a restless, depressed, frustrated childless woman to a doting mother of three is wonderful. The second half of the book is interesting, especially the entry of Mayuri’s college mate Shreyas which gives interesting twist to the story. But it doesn’t stay long as reader gets the shock of untimely death of Payal, Mayuri’s niece. Author has handled the account of heart – broken family most sensitively.
Coming back to Mayuri and Vimal, who fail to become parents biologically after going through big emotional and physical turmoil, so much so that they come are on the brink of losing it all. Which decision changes their lives, and brings happiness makes very interesting reading and gives a lesson too. Blood is not everything; there are certain other things which are thicker than blood. Everyone should read the book to know about these things so that you can face the question “Does motherhood need to be biological always”.
When book ended, there was a sense of loss, why did it end as I had almost started living with Mayuri and Vimal in their world, in their shoes??? No!!!