Author: Reecha Agarwal Goyal
Price: 99 rupees
This is a book of musings, concerned very specifically with being a woman in today’s world. The book contains very short but hard-hitting and impactful lines. Many of the obvious and not-so-obvious atrocities that are committed on women, especially in India, find their way through anger and vivacious words. However not all is dark and many hopeful lines show a hopeful brightness ahead as well, celebrating women’s courage, power and resilience. It is a book that will set you thinking.
What does it mean to be HER in today’s world? What does it mean to be a woman today? Reecha Agarwal Goyal, in her debut book, takes an honest and hard look at the experience of womanhood. She does this through a collection of musings- short but impactful lines that use the least amount of words to convey some hard hitting realities.
The prologue sets the tone for what’s to come:
She couldn't stop biting her nails in nervousness. What if they are unhappy on seeing me, thought the female foetus who was about to be delivered.
The following lines illustrate gender discrimination within families:
She was brimming with joy. Her brother was to get a new pencil box. She would get to take his!
When we talk of gender discrimination, we often ignore subtle events highlighted quite cleverly in the following lines:
The day he saw her in an army uniform, his heart swelled with pride and tears rolled down his cheeks. “You are better than a son,” he said. She wept too. ‘Son’ was still the standard!
Any work of literature that highlights issues must also give hope and probably solutions. Some of the couplets and lines are hopeful and encouraging, showing the positivity and resilience of women.
“Fragile but unbreakable!”.
She tolerated as much and for as long as she could. The day she found her mettle, there was no turning back. How she wished she had known the liberating power of NO earlier.
One fine day she stopped explaining. Period.
Some of the lines portray hidden qualities of women:
Ever wondered why a mother never seems to like anything that is scare on the dining table?
These are but a few example of issues highlighted. She touches upon varied issues such as love, abuse, rape, marital rape, dowry, neglect of women in old age, motherhood, working women, societal expectations, preference for male children, gender discrimination and so on.
While it is true that some of the basic experiences of women transcend geographical boundaries, some issues are specific to the Indian context. Hence, while the authors thoughts on objectification of women or discrimination at workplace for instance is relevant in a global context, there are issues such as dowry and female foeticide that is applicable to India, probably more so in the rural context within the country. As such the book talks about the different areas where women are disadvantaged.
This is a book about realities that women have to face. It will disturb, trouble, shock you and re-think the world we have so created for the gender that brings life on the planet. It gives women’s struggle a bold voice.
For, how long can one keep pushing things under the carpet? It’s time to change things forever and this begins with acceptance of what is wrong.
RC Rating: 3.5 on 5
About the Author
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Book reviewed by Dhanishta Shah
Dhanishta Shah is a Mumbai-based freelance writer. In her work over the past ten years, she has explored and devoured a range of genres such as education, architecture, lifestyle, fashion, art, literature, people-profiling, parenting, health, travel, specialist areas such as watches, trade publications and so on.