By Maya Palit
An illustrator and recent graduate from Srishti, Pune-based artist Annushka Hardikar is taking on weird myths about virginity, hymen restoration, and what you should eat when you’re pregnant in her new satirical e-zine ‘Oh Nari So Sanskari’.
It revamps characters like Draupadi, Gandhari, and Kunti from the Mahabharata, by making them central figures on the covers of a women’s magazine which gives out bizarre advice on how to be a millenial good wife, erase all your memories of sex, and make the perfect cup of chai.
Hardikar decided to reinvent these women characters because it irritated her that across all the versions of the Mahabharata that she read, the women were were powerful figures, but their desires and inner lives weren’t extensively explored.
Instead, Hardikar decided to interview a hundred women about the challenges they face today, from harassment to the clothes they’re allowed to wear and the other boxes they have to tick to please their families. From the list of responses, she carved out various stereotypes tied up with the idea of being an Indian woman and these helped her with refashioning her e-zine’s protagonists and the obstacles they face. Read more of the e-zine’s panels here.