Bonds that Bind

The story unravels with tenderness and detail, tracing Tatya’s growth into an empire builder and 
his foray into filmmaking.

Published: 11th June 2023 05:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th June 2023 10:07 PM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

Tejaswani Apte-Rahm has, in The Secret of More, given us more than a tantalising title. The book is 
a well-spun saga of three generations of a family headed by a man whose ambition takes him far beyond his roots in a village in Maharashtra.

The author has based it on the events surrounding her great-grandfather’s life to weave a fictional tale of aspiration, passion, love, hopes and failures. Rooted in research and long conversations with her father, grandfather and other relatives, the book, which took years to write, blends fact and fiction to recreate life in a typical Indian family in the mid-20th century.

Through the eyes of the protagonist, Tatya, and his wife, we see a changing world. Descriptions of scenes like King George’s visit to Bombay are recreated through the eyes of the couple’s children, who watch wide-eyed as the royal carriage floats past, as if on a cloud. Also poignant are chapters that deal with Tatya’s wedding. Set in a village, where the author has faithfully recreated the surroundings of the bride’s household, the wedding brings in not just the rituals of the time, but also the emotions of a widowed mother who is hoping her daughter will never have to live through the wretchedness her own life has been forced into by the death of her husband.

Some touches of humour add sparkle to the wedding scenes. The renaming of the bride, according to common custom, gives an insight into the reasoning that goes behind the selection of a new name. The bride is comely, not fair, and all of 12. Tatya himself has no real understanding of what the marriage will bring. Yet, he is evaluating the child bride as she travels with him by train to his home. He is relieved that she did not burst into tears as they climbed the bullock cart or when the train started pulling out of the station. “He realised he was looking for some signs of weakness on her part, for he was anxious on how she would adapt to life in Bombay.”

Apte-Rahm deals with situations like the bride not attaining puberty for longer than was considered normal, and the fear of a second marriage that would set her aside as barren, with delicacy and tact, yet bringing in the horror of such practices. To Tatya’s credit, he is not eager to find a new wife either, and prefers to chase his business ambitions.

The story unravels with tenderness and detail, tracing Tatya’s growth into an empire builder and 
his foray into filmmaking. Through the eyes of Radha, we get to see how women subjugated themselves to their husband’s way of life. When his financial situation allows them to move into a house of their own, Radha misses the bonhomie of her chawl women, the comings and goings, the borrowings and lendings.We leave the story when generations have grown under Tatya’s roof. It is a book to be 
read at ease and savoured. You won’t be disappointed.


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp