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Harshali Singh’s debut novel A Window To Her Dreams celebrates the indomitable spirit of a woman. Read on to find out more.
Looking for an empowering read by a talented author? Looking for a story close to home – of a woman next door who has several more layers to her than what is superficially visible? Looking for an inspiring read that not only shows how to dream but also how one needs to tread the thorny path of resistance in the pursuit of those dreams?
If your answer to all these questions are “Yes” then I recommend you to read Harshali Singh’s A Window To Her Dreams.
This is the author’s debut novel. Here she has crafted a story that unfolds across many Indian households, and yet the story is important because it is seldom told!
Let me begin with the cover of the book: designed by the author herself, the cover features a woman draped in a sari, standing next to a window. Even before I delved into the story, the image got me thinking that it might be the story of a woman who is bound within the four walls of her house but who has her eyes set on a bigger horizon, a woman who might be eager to learn how to fly, and yet someone who finds her wings too heavy to lift her up. I gradually discovered that this theme was woven into the story as well.
The main character Aruna is the eldest of the seven children in a Punjabi family. Aruna has dreams of taking her life in her own hands, to build a future of love and fulfillment. Yet she is held back by her nightmarish past, a past that shackles her feet when she dreams of starting life afresh with her new husband Bhuvan.
This is the story of Aruna and Bhuvan’s journey of knowing each other, facing each other’s weaknesses, fighting the most fearsome battles that put their relationship at stake. Whether they conquer those battles or succumb to those is something you need to find out by reading the book.
The novel also revolves around Aruna’s family, her siblings and her parents living in an old haveli in Old Delhi. Aruna has got a divorce from a painful marriage and the book starts with Aruna about to enter her second marriage to Bhuvan.
The book is told from multiple perspectives and each of the character’s struggles and dreams become clear to the reader through their stories. There’s the only son Dheeraj who wants to be a chef while his father, Arun wants him to take over their sari business. There’s Uma – their mother whose heart gets torn every time any of her children seem to be suffering. There is the second child, Bhavya who is a rebel and unlike Aruna’s demure countenance, Bhavya speaks her mind and does what she thinks is best for her.
Every character takes over the narration at some point or the other, even the three little girls, Etti, Fanny and Gina. Through all their perspectives, we see the story in different ways. The one thing that remains constant is the struggle a woman needs to go through in the pursuit of her dreams. Whether it is someone like Aruna who dreams of a happy family filled with children or it is Bhavya who wants to be at the top of her career, all of these women go through their own ordeals and hence this is a story of women who love to dream and who fight tooth and nail to achieve those dreams.
There is also the haveli’s perspective and the author’s rich imagination brings the days of past glory to life through the haveli’s eyes. The author has created a colourful tale of dream, desires, courage and hope that you might find empowering. This is a story of the sufferings that women in our country have been going through since ages, but this is also the story of the grit and determination of those women, who no matter how constricted they are, somehow manage to find a window to their own dreams and little by little they build the path towards reaching those dreams.
You should definitely read this book if you enjoy stories that celebrate the indomitable spirit of a woman.
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