Ladies Coupé

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Ladies Coupé is a novel by Anita Nair published in 2001.[1] The novel follows the journey of a middle-aged Indian woman named Akhila as she travels to Kanyakumari in her search for independence and on the train's ladies coupe, swaps stories with 5 different women who inspire her to live her own life. [2]


Akhilandeshwari or Akhila for short is a 45-year-old single Indian woman from a Tamil Brahmin family who works as an income tax clerk. She feels that she has never got the chance to live her own life, always fulfilling the roles of the daughter, sister, aunt and the provider. Until the day that she resolves to break free from her conservative Brahmin life and buys a one way train ticket to the sea side town of Kanyakumari to start a new life alone. She shares her ladies compartment (coupé) of the train with 5 different women:

  • Janaki,a pampered wife and confused mother;
  • Margaret Shanti, a chemistry teacher married to the poetry of elements and an insensitive tyrant too self-absorbed to recognize her needs;
  • Prabha Devi, the perfect daughter and wife, transformed for life by a glimpse of a swimming pool;
  • Fourteen-year-old Sheela, with her ability to perceive what others cannot;
  • And Marikolanthu, whose innocence was destroyed by one night of lust.

As they all swap stories on their lives, Akhila questions them of her eternal dilemma - whether a woman needs a man to complete her or whether she can stay single and happy? In the space of one night, the women change her life with their stories, while at the same time,reminding her to think for herself.[1][2]


  1. ^ a b "Ladies Coupe info". Retrieved 19 February 2013.
  2. ^ a b "Ladies Coupe Author's Synopsis". Retrieved 19 February 2013.