Most of you following me on Twitter and Facebook must be aware by now that I lost my beloved Grandmother just yesterday. But as they say, life must go on. And I'm sure the lovely lady who is no more wants me to just be happy. I can't stop missing her already but that seems to be a part of life. Birth followed by Death.
Anyhoo, Today, I shall be talking about a book that has recently made its way to the list of my favourites. A CALENDAR TOO CROWDED it is called.
Given what a bookworm I am, I am always on a lookout for new books with burning issues and that make a fabulous read. Just recently I picked up my copy of “A Calendar Too Crowded” by Sagarika Chakraborty. The book voices ‘Womanhood’ and what could have been a better issue than this? Ordering a copy via Flipkart left me really really excited, eager and impatient. But well, we all know how fast Flipkart deliveries are.
|Sagarika Chakraborty (Author).|
|She is from Kolkata, India. I just fell in love with her sweet smile.|
As soon as I received the parcel I just couldn’t resist ripping it off to take out the beautiful lady (the book) in it and started right away. Little did I realise that the next couple of hours are going to be a hypnotised moment for me. Stories after stories made me start to realise that this book was indeed an eye opener. I was in a different world altogether in just a few seconds. I started feeling like it was all my story. It was me who was talking my life in the first story (The Gift Called Life) and indeed ‘to be eligible for love in the world outside, it is very important for me to be a boy.’ It was me in the second story (Finding an Ideal Mother for my Unborn Child) who was following a mother so intent at ‘robbing herself of her precious youthful years’ only to provide a better and successful life to her son. Suddenly all the sacrifices my mommy made in the process of raising me and my little brother appeared very clearly to me. It felt as if it was me whose head was being shaved off just because my mother-in-law felt ‘a widow has no right to look beautiful’ and it was my entire fault that she had lost her son and therefore, I was a ‘WITCH.’ (Witch without a Broomstick). It was me again, a woman ‘who was born to break societal barriers and carve out a niche for herself’ and who did not ‘need a man in her life to make her feel complete.’ (A Life in my Mind). A particular poem (Behind those Whispers) made me all nostalgic. Even I had questions that ‘just kept on piling’, even I had complains when I discovered of my ‘childhood which had suddenly strayed’.
In yet another story Caste differences and racial discrimination is talked about. I totally start missing the days when I used to listen to stories my grandmother would tell me and the fact how fond we both were of each other. I remember how ‘she had a foolproof method of screening them (maids) before employment’. They obviously couldn’t be of the lower class. And just in case they were, none dared to enter the kitchen in my grandmother’s presence. The questions by the protagonist in this particular story just left a broad smile on my face. Plain and thoughtful they are. (When the Ganges Ran Dry).
Societal issues such as prostitution (Selling a Body to Gain a Mind), Sensitive personal issues like infertility (Barren yet Ploughed), adoption (Sisters by Choice and not by Chance) have all been written in a gripping manner. Sagarika even wrote about more important but often ignored issues like Breast feeding (Of Jatakarmas and their Stana Pradidhanas) and Old age woes (The Last Flicker).
Today, if a girl is raped, people will blame her instead of punishing the miscreants. 'Such women bring it upon themselves; they somehow deserve it'. She is called a 'Call Girl' who must have plotted her own rape for 'pocket money'. How disgusting can some people just be? Will they say the same things was it their daughter in the victim's place? A thousand questions will fill your mind and I bet you wouldn't be anything but angry and the instant urge that comes to break everyone's face. (Naked).
What appears to be picture perfect on the surface might not be so tranquil underneath. A perfect mother-in-law gets a perfect daughter-in-law. As months pass, the distrust grows and bruises appear. The daughter-in-law was always clumsy handling the kerosene stove and one day it explodes. Nothing out of the ordinary- we are told at the end of the story that 'one dowry death occurs in India every four hours. That for every one reported case, 299 cases go unreported and of all the reported ones, only five percent of the total numbers are actually pursued.' (Living by the Double Edged Sword).
Some of the stories are insignificant to women's rights. One deals with treatment of senior citizens, the other deals with adoption and the third is about nationality, which definitely is a priceless gift. All three topics are dealt through fiction, with mixed results.
One story narrated in third person, is of a woman coming face-to-face with a man who had rejected her while in college. The woman is now happily married, but is still nervous to meet her ex-crush, as long forgotten memories are revived. How does the story end? Is the woman happy to see the man she was once in love with? Do read this book to find out more for yourself. (The Homecoming).
On the whole, this is an interesting book, worth reading. You will find yourself smiling, crying, filled with anger, sympathising with women of 21st century, through the pages. Sometimes nostalgic and sometimes your eyes so huge, they might as well fall off any moment.
My recommendation- DO READ THIS BOOK AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. YOU SURELY WON’T REGRET SPENDING THOSE Rs.236.
Hope you enjoyed the post.
And now, as I always say....
Stay Young, Stay Chicilicious.