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Radhika Tabrez's The Emancipation of Farzana Siddiqui is the story of a 30-something woman and the Indian marriage system. What happens?
Radhika Tabrez’s The Emancipation of Farzana Siddiqui is the story of a 30-something woman and the Indian marriage system. What happens?
Imagine old Delhi coming alive out of a digital device from the palm of your hand. Imagine sitting in a parallel world and still experiencing the sights and sounds of the everyday ethos peculiar to old Delhi.
That’s exactly what The Emancipation of Farzana Siddiqui does.
In a digital read that floats like a breeze, the author Radhika Tabrez is in no hurry for you to get to know Farzana like the back of your hand: she subtly acknowledges that like all of us, Farzana is a work in progress and does not need the reader’s validation or approval, and yet, she’s someone you trust, immediately.
This is somehow common in all of Radhika’s characters: be it Najma who falls for greed, or Farhad who takes everything for granted, or Navya and Abhinav, who stand like rock solid support for Farzana, or even the overwhelming matchmaker, Shabana. Radhika gives you the freedom to find parts of yourself in every nuanced character.
In a nutshell, Farzana is a woman in her thirties, holding her family’s backbone upright in many ways – be it in earning for the family or funding her brother’s education, or in being her mother’s support. That Farzana has been unmarried is (of course, of course!) a grave concern for all and sundry – be they the matchmaker or her mother, or every pair of curious and judgmental eyes that peer outside the windows in the houses in her colony. Farzana knows that she is an inconvenience, and yet a cash cow for her family – an uncomfortable combination that is very telling of many an average Indian woman’s experience.
When a suitor decides that he wants to marry Farzana, a single thread comes loose. Together, you, Farzana, and Radhika unravel the entire fabric to see the myriad shades of patriarchy standing on the other side: an unforgiving, unrelenting, shape shifting monster. In the process, Farzana navigates very difficult ground, for this turning point means that nothing is going to be the same again.
There is nothing remotely predictable about The Emancipation of Farzana Siddiqui. Through her engaging writing and clever use of language, Radhika takes you on a journey where you only think something is going to happen; only to realize that Radhika is helping you question your own conditioning by changing course. The editing could have been tighter in places, for a few typos do come through – although by no means taking attention away from the narrative.
If you’d like to pick up The Emancipation of Farzana Siddiqui by Radhika Tabrez, use our affiliate links: at Amazon India, and at Amazon US.
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Top image via Pixabay and book cover via Amazon
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Rajshri Deshpande, who played the fiery protagonist in Trial by Fire along with Abhay Deol speaks of her journey and her social work.
Rajshri Deshpande as the protagonist in ‘Trial by Fire’, the recent Netflix show has received raving reviews along with the show itself for its sensitive portrayal of the Uphaar Cinema Hall fire tragedy, 1997 and its aftermath.
The limited series is based on the book by the same name written by Neelam and Shekhar Krishnamoorthy, who lost both their children in the tragedy. We got an opportunity to interview Rajshri Deshpande who played Neelam Krishnamoorthy, the woman who has been relentlessly crusading in the court for holding the owners responsible for the sheer negligence.
Rajshri Deshpande is more than an actor. She is also a social warrior, the rare celebrity from the film industry who has also gone back to her roots to give to poverty struck farming villages in her native Marathwada, with her NGO Nabhangan Foundation. Of course a chance to speak with her one on one was a must!
“What is a woman’s job, Ramesh? Taking care of parents-in-law, husband, children, home and things at work—all at the same time? She isn’t God or a superhuman."
The arrays of workstations were occupied by people peering into their computer screens. The clicks of keyboard keys were punctuated by the occasional footsteps moving around to brainstorm or collaborate with colleagues in their cubicles. Most employees went about their tasks without looking at the person seated on either side of their workstation. Meenakshi was one of them.
The thirty-one-year-old marketing manager in a leading eCommerce company in India sat straight in her seat, her eyes on the screen, her fingers punching furiously into the keys. She was in a flow and wanted to finish the report while the thoughts and words were coming effortlessly into her mind.
Natu-Natu. The mellifluous ringtone interrupted her thoughts. She frowned at her mobile phone with half a mind to keep it ringing until she noticed the caller’s name on the screen, making her pick up the phone immediately.
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