Tag Archives: Mallard

Battle of the Sexes in The Story of an Hour

The Story of an HourTrue to the title, The Story of an Hour is a story of one hour in the life of the protagonist, Louise Mallard, who is ‘happily married’. When she hears about the death of her husband her immediate reaction is remorse. However, a while later, she feels ecstatic on being free! Mrs. Mallard cries with abandon instead of being paralysed with shock at the misfortune. While she withdraws to her personal space to reflect on her future life, a realization dawns on her which makes her cry out “free, free….Free! Body and soul free!” Ironically, she dies on seeing her husband alive and unhurt by the train accident.

The simple words of Mrs. Mallard allude to her subjugated status. The experience of ecstasy at being liberated from what seems to be an agreeable marriage is the crux of the story. Mrs. Mallard’s situation is not an isolated incident of repression in the lives of the so-called ‘happily married’ couples. The significant sentences which convey the rigid patriarchal domination and Mrs. Mallard’s subsequent relief at her husband’s demise were, “There would be no powerful will bending hers in a blind persistence with which men and women believe they have a right to impose a private will upon a fellow-creature. A kind intention or a cruel intention made the act seem no less a crime….”

The subtlety with which Chopin delineates the mindscape of a woman trapped in a despotic Kate Chopinmarriage and her realization of her zest for freedom is commendable. Mrs. Mallard’s first name being revealed only towards the end of the story is significant since it shows the subsumption of the wife’s identity in her husband’s. Ironically, the protagonist experiences tragedy and liberty at the same time. But the real irony and paradox lies in the doctor’s comment of “a joy that kills” at the death of Mrs. Mallard.

A hardcore feminist, Chopin’s intention behind writing the story seems to be to emphasize the damaging results of the battle between the sexes. The subtle expressions, metaphors and paradoxes combined with the economy of words add to the impact of the story.

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Attractions in Bharatpur, Rajasthan: Part 3

This is the third of the three blog series delineating the unmissable attractions of Bharatpur. This post will talk of the Keoladeo Bird Sanctuary.

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Keoladeo Bird Sanctuary

Egrets, Cormorants, Siberian cranes, Pelicans, Darters, Herons, Pintail, Common Teal, Shelduck, Mallard – and you just have to name the variety to be able to spot it in the Park! Starting from the gracious Saras cranes to migratory water fowls to predatory Imperial eagles to some of the most beautiful peacocks you will ever spot – the park has all the varieties to complete the avian food chain.

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Keoladeo Bird Sanctuary hosts more than 375 species of birds and is the breeding ground for over 135 species. This is despite the fact that the park itself is just 29sq/km. For bird lovers, the Park is a pilgrim spot since migratory birds from China, Europe, Siberia and Tibet can also be found here. Some animals, too, can be spotted, including the Sambhar, Nigais, Black Buck, Spotted deer and Pythons.

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The sanctuary’s existence is traced to the British reign when it was known as one of the ideal duck shooting spots. In 1956, it was turned into a reserve for birds and soon named as a National Park. Keoladeo Bird Sanctuary has also been named as a world heritage site.

Quick Tips for the National Park

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  • Your visit to the park will last for 5 hours or more. Therefore, it is advisable to carry your sunshades and water bottles. For a very enriching experience of the bird sanctuary, you must carry your binoculars.
  • Entry fees is 50/- for Indians and 200/- for foreign nationals.
  • The best way to explore the park is either on foot or by bicycles. However, you can even opt for open horse carriages and cycle rickshaws. A horse carriage will charge up to 800/- for a 5-hour trip.
  • If you have opted for an Electra Van which is offered by the forest department, your vehicle will be allowed only till the Shanti Kutir.
  • There is an accommodation facility inside the Park – Bharatpur Forest Lodge – maintained by the government of Bharatpur.  There is also a lesser expensive Shanti Kutir, maintained by the ITDC.
  • Surprisingly, the carriage and rickshaw drivers can double up as guides and prove to be quite a repository of information regarding birds. For those of you looking to save some money can confidently rely on these drivers since they have been trained by the sanctuary management in bird watching.

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Quick Tips for Bharatpur

  • The best time to visit Bharatpur is between October and March. Summers and monsoons are best avoided. March to June sees the temperature varying from 37°C to 45°C. The monsoon month (July to September) is comparatively cooler at 27°C, but humidity makes sightseeing quite a task.
  • Bharatpur is 200kms from Delhi, 270kms from Jaipur and 70kms from Agra.
  • Bharatpur has a large number of hotels and guest houses – government and private, forest rest houses, budget motels and dak bunglows. (Check this). The mode of travel within the city is, more often than not, auto-rickshaws. You can even consider booking a jeep.