Tell a thousand lies by Rasana Atreya is a story about a family in a small village of Andhra where the patriarch culture triumphs. The women are not allowed to study after high school for the sole reason of not able to be married easily. The dowry culture burdens the daughters so much that they are despised being born.
Amidst this, the two twin sisters are born in a household, Lata and Pullamma. Their parents have died, and they have been raised by their grandmother, who wants to marry off the two sisters in a good enough household. Pullamma is bubbly one who also thinks that her ultimate aim in life is to be married off and serve her husband. On the contrary, her sister lata wants nothing to do with marriage but has bigger dreams of becoming a doctor and be independent. The village has a strong politician figure, Kondal Rao, who won’t mind sabotaging his own family for wealth and power. As the story progresses, he creates turmoil in the paths of both the sisters and their grandmother.
The author has very beautifully incorporated the reflection of the patriarchal culture of Indian society via the oppressed woman. The women have accepted it as a way of life. And anyone who tries to break through is brought down by other women. The women see the system as irreproachable and the efforts to break through as impossible. The story builds on the narrative, and slowly steadily major plot twist happens that leaves the family in a state of turmoil.
The storyline does follow a very cliche Bollywood style story, which I felt went too far in the twist and turns for keeping the plot interesting always. But at the same time, I can’t deny the possibility of it being true at all. I like the writing style and metaphors that the author has put to reflect the effects of patriarch society on women, via women. The character development, however, I did not like. Like other readers, my heart goes out for Lata. I was rooting for her to do something about her situation and not be crumbled so easily by just one wrong incident in her life. I hoped that instead of showing a contrast between the two sisters at all points, the author could have allowed their personalities to converge and rise. One person’s success doesn’t have to impede the other’s.
Overall a 4/5.