Posted in Books, Family, feminism

To my little girl

My dear little girl,

I fell in love with you the moment I saw you. Your father, well, he thinks the sun rises when you open your eyes, and the best music in the world is your laughter.

As parents, we have many hopes, dreams and wishes for you. And we also have our secret fears, that we hope never come true.

To my little girl

Your world today is filled with people who care for you, take pride in your tiny victories, and want you to be the best ‘you’. But what if you choose someone who breaks your heart and makes you cry? No, I don’t mean a brute who may lay a hand on you, for that will be the last thing he ever does. (we intend to teach you to ‘don’t start a fight, but finish it’). My worry is about the boy who will not “let you” meet your friends, or get that degree abroad. The man who thinks he should handle your money, or worse, that you don’t need to earn any. The spouse who asks you to “adjust or get out” when his mom throws ugly tantrums. The partner who demands all your passwords to “prove” you’re worthy of his trust.

I worry, child, that you may unwittingly let an abusive monster into your heart. If, God forbid, that happens to you, remember this, dear. You are kind, courageous and smart. You deserve a relationship of love and support, where you both will grow into better people. You are worthy of a rock solid friendship with someone who will cheer at your successes, kiss away your pain and encourage you to try again tomorrow.

Anything less than this, and you get out. You get out with your head held high and a smile on your face. We got your back, kannamma.

 

  • I wrote this post as part of the Blogathon series #ALettertoHer by Women’s Web to create awareness about domestic violence.
  • I would like to read Meena Kandasamy’s new book, When I Hit You, to see if she has brought in a fresh perspective on the subject of domestic abuse, especially in a society where the primary tool to deal with this is adjustment, and silence.
Posted in Books

Book review: Shattered dreams

Shattered dreamsLike every other Indian kid, I grew up hearing the Ramayana at my mom’s knee. Amma kept me interested (and obedient) at the dinner table and during bed time with little tales of Rama’s life. Later on I graduated to Amar Chitra Katha, Rajaji and Devdutt Patnaik’s versions, but every retelling of this great epic brought new insights, interesting facts and thought-provoking questions.

This book ‘Ramayana – The Game of Life – Shattered Dreams- Book 2’ by Shubha Vilas also does not disappoint in this regard. I was delighted to be picked to review it and here’s my 2 cents on ‘Shattered Dreams’.

King Dasaratha of Ayodhya plans to retire from his position and install his eldest son Rama on the throne. Rama is not only his personal choice and the darling of the masses, but most suitable to be the next ruler of the Ishvaku clan. But as we all know, destiny has a different plan. The book outlines the events leading up to Rama’s entry into exile.

Drawing references and inspiration from Valmiki, Kamban and Tulsidas’ work, the author does a good job of describing Kaikeyi’s cruelty, Dasaratha’s anguish, Kausalya’s turmoil, Ayodhya’s despair, Rama’s equanimity, Lakshmana’s protectiveness and Sita’s love.

What stands out in this book:

  • The author paints a vivid picture with words when he describes the celebrations for Rama’s coronation, Ayodhya grieving for their beloved prince, departure for exile, Rama and Sita’s deep bond, etc.
  • There are various lesser known tales interwoven into the main narrative – stories of Ravana’s origins, Yama’s rebirth as Vidura, Shilavati stopping sunrise, Anusuya turning the Holy Trinity into children and so on.
  • The characters could have been more multi-dimensional instead of merely black or white. But maybe then the author wouldn’t have been able to stay true to his epic inspirations.
  • There is a moralistic tone to the entire book, which may not be everyone’s cup of tea. For instance, footnotes like this: “Just as the rushing water of a river uproots the trees on its banks, the restless and unrestrained mind can uproot one’s existence.” Plus there are various ‘points to ponder’ at the end of each chapter. However, these can be used for discussion with young minds, opening their minds to life lessons and values. This is, after all, why Rama’s story has been handed down from generation to generation over many centuries.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!