A Married Woman (2002) is the story of Astha an educated, upper middle class, working, Delhi woman.
Astha longs for a purpose in her life, other than being a wife and mother against a vividly realized backdrop of Indian politics. She was the only child of her parents. Her education, her character, her health, her marriage were her parent’s burdens. She was their future, their hope, and though she did not want them to guard her so carefully, they did. Astha?s mother prayed for a good husband for her daughter. Her father also took enormous care of his daughter. He even slapped her once or twice to shape her in his estimate.
Manju Kapur brings out her young heroine?s emotions “Tears surfaced, but she wouldn?t act sorry, would rather die than show how unloved and misunderstood she felt” (2002 2). By the time Astha turned sixteen, she was well trained on the diet of “mushy novels and thoughts of marriage” (2002 8). However, like a common school going girl she often imagines a romantic and handsome young man holding her in his strong manly embrace. It was then that she saw Bunty, a handsome solider who frequented her house. Day and night, she thought of him. Nursing the illusion of love at first sight, she penned her emotions and sent letters to Bunty at his Boarding School. After an exchange of few letters, Astha?s flirting came to an abrupt end the day her mother smelt of it.
Later Astha understands much to her chagrin that it was her mother who was instrumental in sowing the seeds of discord in her daughter?s friendship with Bunty. When Astha was in college, her mother focused anxiously on their primary parental obligation. In the mean time, she becomes emotionally engaged with Rohan and they enjoy a physical relationship.
This relationship is finished within a few days as Rohan moves to Oxford for further studies and she gets married to Hemant.