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Friday , May 4 , 2012
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A Life Long Ago (Penguin and Zubaan, Rs 250) by Sunanda Sikdar is a riveting tale of roots and displacement, of silence and memories. The novel was originally written in Bengali under the name, Dayamoyeer Katha. It won the Ananda Puraskar in 2010. The book was later translated into English by Anchita Ghatak. It tells the story of a 10-year-old Dayamoyee, who was forced to leave her home and her friends behind in the then East Pakistan and move to an alien Hindustan at the time of Partition. Shocked and hurt, she withdrew into silence and resolved never to speak of her homeland again. Many years later, a death opened up the floodgates of her memory. Language is a vital element in this work. The task of translating it, therefore, must have been challenging. The translation is lucid and luminous. The flavour of the original has been retained in essence.

Making news, Breaking news, Her own way (Tranquebar, Rs 250) contains stories by the winners of the Chameli Devi Jain Award for Outstanding Women Mediapersons. The volume is edited by Latika Padgaonkar and Shubha Singh. The journalists who wrote for this volume are from various parts of the country; they represent a wide range of socio-cultural moulds. Most of them have made a mark for their reporting skills. They tell the stories of their struggles and victories. Fraught with tensions of dilemmas, their experiences present a nuanced picture of journalism from the viewpoint of women. Each story is different from the other; each is unique in both content and approach. Yet, a common thread joins them, and together they paint a bigger picture — a bird’s eye view of the relationship between news and gender politics.

The point of vanishing: A tale of truth and things imagined (Niyogi, Rs 395) by Rashid Maxwell betrays on every page the author’s wholehearted devotion to Osho’s philosophy. Given the facts that the author considers his “real life” to have begun with his meeting with Osho, and that he spent the subsequent 13 years in the spiritual leader’s commune, this is expected. But the way the author’s inclination comes across as obvious throughout the story makes it a little tedious. The book contains numerous incidents upholding clichés of the Orient — from a tumultuous relationship with a tantric lover to the return of the dead in the “mirages of mind”. It is interesting in parts, when Maxwell explores the ironies of the modern world with a sharp sense of humour. But otherwise, it just makes the reader weary of mystical epiphanies.

Let go mom... I will be fine (Wisdom Village, Rs 150) by Shivi Dua looks at the relationship between the mother and the child from a fresh angle. It is a manual on parenting, where the role of the “sacrificing mother” has been re-evaluated to show how such stereotypical notions make childhood difficult. The book tells the mother to empower the child through surrender, and provide him or her with support, not crutches. This may be quite a useful manual for modern parents, who often grapple with questions of control, consent and boundaries when it comes to their children. Especially in the Indian family, parental control can often result in a stifling environment for the child. This book may help parents to avoid this. It also focuses on how to cope up with an evolving generation, and how not to impose obstacles in the name of protection. It explains how motherhood may become simpler with a clearer sense of personhood.