Madras on Rainy Days

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This charcoal drawing depicts a bride and groom on their wedding day. This is the image that persisted in my mind as I read Madras on Rainy Days. The couple, whose marriage was arranged, stands back to back to back facing outwards as their hands are joined by a chain. This seems a standard representation of an arranged marriage, but I felt the difference in this particular story was the weight that was attached to the marriage. There was pressure felt by both parties from the outset, when Layla had her miscarriage and her family discovers that the groom has a faulty leg. These initial problems never seem to subside, and the weight continues to become heavier. In some ways, this weight can also be perceived as a bomb, I left it purposefully unclear what the exact structure was. In a marriage as tenuous as the marriage in the story, the conflict is so strong that the marriage could detonate when one of the two character’s secrets comes to light. Because of this, I felt it appropriate to chain the couple together with a heavy object, restricting their freedom. In some representations of marriage, the couple joyfully holds hands, sometimes with both hands, and stares longingly into the eyes of their spouse. In this case, a chain representing the bonds of marriage would be not only welcomed, but desired. For Layla, this chain could not be any less desired, in fact, in the conclusion of the story, the chain is cut from her husband, leaving the weight of the ball and chain solely her burden as the woman in the arranged marriage.

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