GENRE: Poetry, Realism
My Rating: 4.5/5
Browsing through Amazon looking for new titles I came across this book. The uniqueness of the title drew me towards it and I was held captive. The bold HER drew me to know more. My mind was busy racing thinking of possibilities that the book would offer. But I was not prepared for what hit me. The thoughts penned down by the author hit me in the gut and had me wiping my eyes every other page and bite my lips to hold the pain that was building up inside me. I am a woman, a daughter, a wife, a mother and I too have a daughter. So when I finished reading this book I was left dead beat. Each syllable, each word seemed to pinch me hard and even though the reality is nothing new, reading it made me squirm and also nod in agreement.
Friends do not be mistaken by the alluring cover of the book. It is more than just a beautiful cover with the face of a woman formed by birds. The idea of the cover drew thoughts that made me want to look at the cover long. The psyche of Indian society in general is that the female race is delicate and fragile, just like the birds. And just as caged birds only desire to fly ,most women and girls also have that one desire: freedom to fly and soar to their dream.
The blurb is hard hitting and you get a faint idea that the book is not an easy read:
‘You know her as a mother, daughter, sister, wife, daughter-in-law.
But seldom as a woman . . .
And maybe never as a human!’
Get ready . . . it’s time to unlearn and learn.
A collection of musings that will have you reeling in a wave of emotion long after you are done reading, this powerhouse of work will make you smile, cry, go red in anger, nod your head in agreement and grasp the finer nuances of what it means to be her in today’s world.
A SMALL BOOK OF BIG LEARNINGS.
‘Such is Her Life’ by Reecha Agarwal Goyal is a collection of musings by the author. The book covers fragments of experiences, of realities, of dreams, of pain, of desires and of needs. Why I say fragments is because the poems are written as thoughts and not really lyrical verse in accordance to any meter or style.
We are well into the twenty first century but the situation women face in India seems as though still living in the dark ages. Men still perceive women as chattel and like a rogue to have their way as when they feel so. The story is no different in other countries but the degree to which females suffer here is much higher.
From the moment a mother conceives a child, she is hounded by the question:Girl or Boy? In many places the mother does not even have the right to decide the fate of her own child. The discrimination against girl child is so rampant that she is killed in the womb itself. A lot of the girls do not get to see the light of the day and they breathe their last in the womb for no other reason than the fact that they were girls. And if the survive that they are handed over diktat, norms rues and codes of conduct by the male in their family and our patriarchal society. But mind you these rules that are not universal for both the genders but only for girls. She isn’t permitted to go to school because education is a boy thing and not meant for girls as eventually she is to be married off. She is placed with the yoke to carry the family honor which crushes any dreams they might have for themselves .
The book speaks of some very vivid and heartbreaking truths of being born as a girl child. Her struggles, her dreams, her fear and the atrocities that are meted out to her. Ms. Reecha delves into several topics which include female foeticide, sexual and domestic abuse, rape, slut-shaming, sexism, and the society’s obsession with having only a boy child. The author doesn’t curb herself and neither shy away from the truth of the situations girls are submitted to. She deftly manages to capture the trials and tribulations that have become the be all for most women. If only you could pause from your routine life and sneak a peek into the life of any woman around you, you would be able to gather knowledge not only about her, but also the society that she lives in.
But not all is depressing and gloomy in this book. There are some beautiful tender moments as well for instance the verse about a girl missing her dad or a mother breastfeeding. But the style of writing is so crisp and lucid that the book overall seems to wet your emotions and you feel completely out of the loop.
The author, like in the cover of the book does manage to incarcerate the strength of women in an underhand way. You may not experience them all but one or more will surely make you shift in your place when you recall them in your own life. Readers might feel angst after reading it but do remember that its these struggles that have women strong and indomitable.
Definitely a must read, one that can be finished in one sitting. I myself finished reading in under one hour. But to be true, it felt more. The book will make you think and reflect on the injustices done against females as a whole. There is no gender specific to rad, as men who respect and love the women in their lives would definitely appreciate the debut by the author.
I hope boys and men read this book and pass it on to others not to educate rather to create awareness about women and their sacrifices. Maybe they would be more grateful towards women.