If you want to understand how to become better allies to people with disabilities, then join us at Embracing All Abilities: Including People with Disabilities at Work.
Priya Somaiya has almost 3 decades of social work behind her, and this can be seen in this anthology of true stories she has written.
When I picked up the book Unwilling to Bend, I was in the midst of a busy, and sometimes crazy schedule, finding very little time to read. But as soon as I read the first story in this anthology, I knew I had to read every one of them.
The stories are all on a subject very close to my heart: women and their plight in today’s world. Each one narrates the story of a strong woman – unique in her own way, how she goes through life, and all that it throws at her. Be it the brave Janvi, or the traditional Shailaja, or the determined Asma, they all became my companions as I read about them and rooted for them.
I read the stories in sequence, and what is unique about this collection of stories, is that no two stories are alike. Each one deals with different characters and situations. I felt each woman’s pain as I read about what they were going through. Ten stories come together beautifully in the book and you get onto a roller coaster of emotions as you laugh, cry, and feel angry with these women.
Author Priya Somaiya has deftly captured the essence of the true Indian woman – courageous, determined, willing to break the mold, and yet embracing everything that signifies Indian culture.
If I had to name one story that I liked best, I would have to be Dark Clouds without Silver Linings. As I read it, I remembered a movie I had watched recently, Article 15, which deals with somewhat similar premises.
Both are set in Uttar Pradesh, and both deal with the exploitation of women in a fully male dominated society. Of course, that is where the similarities end. But both the story and the movie will hit you hard and you realize there is so much that goes on in this vast country of ours that we have no idea about. You also feel sad that although we keep talking about gender equality, feminism, and women’s liberation, we have miles to go – and sometimes it is women who hold themselves and each other back.
Forgive me if I am rambling, but this is something that I feel strongly about.
There is another story I’d like to mention – Platform Number Six. All the others ended with a ray of hope, but this one, Nutan’s story, makes you sad. There must be many Nutans in railway stations across India. They grow up without love and survive in ways we cannot imagine. And of course, when it comes to real life, not everyone finds their ‘happily ever after’.
As you read these stories, you will find that somewhere or the other, some situation or some reaction from a character is something you have gone through in your life.
That is because as women living our lives, we have to fight every day to be recognized as something other than a wife and a mother. Career women juggle home and career, and often face criticism if they neglect any of these two worlds in the slightest. Though the men in our lives have come some way in recognizing that they need to be supportive and actively contribute to housework, some situations are still something only a woman can handle. A sick child and an important meeting at work that you cannot miss – how do you choose?
All in all, the book is a great read, and should appeal to a wide audience. The only area where it can be improved is the copy-editing, which had some errors in tense that I could spot while reading.
Once I had finished the stories, I took a few minutes to read Ms. Somaiya’s profile at the back of the book. She has spent three decades in human resources and social welfare work and as the cover page says, these are true stories of courageous and determined women she must have come across in her work and her life. I hope she keeps writing more about her experiences and enlighten readers with many other stories.
If you want a book that you don’t want to put down and are forced to make time for, get your copy of Unwilling to Bend. I am sure you will enjoy it as much as I did!
If you’d like to pick up Unwilling to Bend by Priya Somaiya, use our affiliate links at Amazon India, and at Amazon US.
Women’s Web gets a small share of every purchase you make through these links, and every little helps us continue bringing you the reads you love!
Image source: shutterstock, and book cover via Amazon
Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views. Individual posts do not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions at all times. If you have a complementary or differing point of view, sign up and start sharing your views too!
About Indrani Ghosh nee Chaudhuri
In the fourth decade of my life, I decided that I needed something more. I needed to tell everyone my story, but in a way that people would read it. read more...
Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views, individual posts do not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions at all times.
Stay updated with our Weekly Newsletter or Daily Summary - or both!
A new Gallup poll reveals that up to 40% of Indian women are angry compared to 27% of men. This is a change from 29% angry women and 28% angry men 10 years ago, in 2012.
Indian women are praised as ‘susheel’, virtuous and to be emulated when they are obedient, ready to serve others and when they put the wishes of others before their own. However, Indian women no longer seem content to be in the constrictive mould that the patriarchy has fashioned for them. A Gallup poll looked at the issue of women’s anger, their worry, stress, sadness and found that women consistently feel these emotions more than men, particularly in India.
I am glad that the Orange Flower Awards seek self-nomination. High achieving women often suffer from self-doubt, and this is a good way to remind us that we are good enough.
A few days ago, I saw an Instagram post announcing the Orange Flower Awards which recognise the power of women’s voices. I read about it with curiosity, but didn’t give it a second thought.
I received an e mail from Women’s Web seeking self-nominations for the Orange Flower Awards, and I ignored it. Yes, I write occasionally, but I didn’t think my work was good enough for me to nominate myself in any of the categories.
A past winner especially tagged me and asked me to look at nominating myself, and I told her that I was not ready yet. “That is up to you”, she said, “but I think you should nominate yourself.”
Please enter your email address