(My Rating: 4/5)
This is the first book I have completed towards my 2016 Reading Challenge.
I don’t really know what made me buy it, way back in 2007, and honestly, as I sat to read it now, my expectations weren’t very high.
The first thing I have to get off my chest is that throughout the book I consistently kept feeling that the text just wasn’t up to the mark. I felt that greater attention needed to be paid to things like grammar and syntax, if not by Sharma, than at least by the editors of the book.
And normally that is a big deal for me – enough to put me off reading a book. However, what these touching stories were about and the humour with which Sharma writes captivated me enough to continue.
The 8 stories, mainly set between the 1940’s and the 1960’s, feature Indian women as their central characters and explore the hardships (big and small) that these women face. Very real issues are touched upon, such as child marriage, widowhood, the longing of a mother to see a son she hasn’t met for a long time – just once before she dies, adjusting to changing times during India’s Independence, a young girl’s misguided notion that her married life will be better than her current life and the difficulties of adjusting to married life in a strange place, with strange people.
My favourites were Aunts and their Ailments, A Child Bride, Bishtupur Landing and Mayadevi’s London Yatra in that order. I didn’t read one of the stories – R.C.’s First Holiday – I didn’t find it appealing after reading the first page.
The book speaks about very ‘Indian’ situations and problems faced by women of the time (though much of it is still relevant in India even today) so I’m not entirely sure if someone who isn’t Indian will find the book appealing. I just wonder if I liked it because I understood where she was coming from.