Stepping Back on Unfamiliar Roads

A Journey Towards Self and Desire in Amruta Patil’s Kari

  • Kanika Yadav MA English
Keywords: gender, sexuality, cityscape, trans-literature, suicide


Love, passion, and desire often shape the trajectories of many literary characters. The culmination of love or the lack thereof often leads protagonists to embark on a journey of self-exploration. Amruta Patil’s Kari (2008) often called India’s first lesbian graphic novel, is one such tale. 

Patil’s narrative explores newfound desires against the backdrop of a darkly illustrated city after Kari survives an attempt at joint-suicide with her lover. Her journey, as she wades through the waters of a big city along with friends and acquaintances remains marked by a lost love- that of her lover who has since escaped. Thereon, the novel charts a course that is marked by Kari’s strenuous yet stellar mental dialogue. A graphic representation and articulation of such a dialogue lay bare the manifold challenges that often remain ignored in the larger discourse of love and desire. These challenges include but are not limited to one’s body image issues, sexual orientation, etc. 

This paper discusses same-sex desire and love contextualised within a cityscape as in Kari. It seeks to explore the tedious lived experiences of a single lesbian as she embarks on a journey of perhaps self-discovery and survival. 


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Author Biography

Kanika Yadav, MA English

Kanika Yadav is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Delhi. She completed both her undergraduate and postgraduate studies at the prestigious Miranda House College. Her master-level dissertation dealt with the cityscape of Delhi as portrayed in Cinema. Before foraying into teaching, she worked in the corporate sector as a 'semiotic analyst'-- exploring her interest in Cultural studies.


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How to Cite
Yadav, K. “Stepping Back on Unfamiliar Roads”. Contemporary Literary Review India, Vol. 10, no. 2, May 2023, pp. 66-74,
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