The novel begins with the death of Toto and ends with Gautam’s murder and Maya’s insanity. The fear of the threatened death, though initially submerged, surfaces periodically to haunt, unnerve and terrify Maya: “And four years it was now, we had been married four years… I knew the time had come it was now to be Gautama or me”1. This pendulum of predicted death precariously swining from the ceiling gradually descends and threats to fall over her head any moment.
The mounting fear of death begins Slackens Maya’s hold over herself, drawing her closer to insanity. She begins to have hallucinations of various odd creatures – of the dead ants who got drowned in attempting to drink the sweet oil, of doves” as omens of ill fortune, of separation” asking her to go away, of rats causing plagues, and of lizards in whose hissing sounds she hears “ the death rattle.” The dark spaces between the stars signify her separation.
There was not one of my friends who could
act as an anchor anymore and to
The absence of relief from any quarter unnerves her. With her sickened imagination and neurotic mind, she begins to form many frightening images from remotely correspondingly objects after being to convince that she has been caught in the net of the inescapable and there was no possibility of mercy. During daytime, she suspects them not to be nightmare but in the night, her “memories came to life were so vivid, so detailed, I knew them to be real, too real. Or is it madness?” (PP.97.98)
When Maya comes to realize in the fourth year that her days are numbered, love for life spring in her and she becomes hysteric over the oncoming threat of death. She claims in desperation: “Am I gone Insane? Father! Husband! Who is my savior? I am in need of one. I am dying, and I am in love with the living. I am in love, and I am dying. God, let me sleep, forget, rest. But still I’ll never sleep again. There is no rest any more-Only death and waiting” (P.98). With her renewed love of life, she begins to rationalize that since one of two was to die, according to the prediction. “It might be Gautama’s life that was threatened” (P.164), and thus transfers the prediction of death to him, not knowing that the idea was already there in her unconscious, repressed state. While sitting down with Gautama for tea, she had visualized earlier that one of the two would be “left alone to always pour out his or her tea, in loneliness” (P.142). The sentences show her repressed desire to get rid of Gautama for being a poor substitute of her father and being unworthy of her love. Her logic is that she has love for life whereas Gautama, believing in the Bhagavad-Gita, considers death to be the termination of human activity and is therefore, indifferent to both life and death. Maya feels undismayed by her decision to go away with him. Hence she feels tenderly towards him, “as towards a departing guest who might never be encountered again” and talks of him “as unreal ghost” stalking beside her (P.196)....