The central character in this story, unique in her ways of sublimating her perceived inferiority to her husband and also her forthright feminist friend, is strangely resistant to male domination even while she seemingly acquiesces into it. It is easy to mistake her for a spineless entity. It is tempting to write her off as a submissive helpless person who deserves no better from life. Yet she is sensuous, incorrigible, happy with her own ways of life, resistant to domestic injustice and shows of power is her ingenious ways. She lacks a name in this story, which is symbolic of the fact that the story situates her nowhere, gives her no specific identity, ascribes no weight that follows from a name. Yet at the same time she is a universal figure precisely because she is devoid of a name and therefore can be imagined to be true anywhere at any time, she is you, me, and us, all at once. Her resistance is subtle, her independence of mind is uncontrollable, her protest is visible even though she herself has accepted her role of playing second fiddle.
This story ‘In Mixed Herbs’ is intentionally insignificant and its everyday narratives portray the gossamer ways in which questions of power, domination, equality, rights can go on to be overlooked and brushed aside within the domestic space, yet it establishes the point of how narratives hijacked either by patriarchy or by feminism are thoroughly inadequate to comprehend the fact that ‘womanliness’ goes beyond being a woman and can actually be a fulcrum of stubborn celebration despite the innumerable odds faced by a woman’s existential identity.