Check out 16 Return-To-Work Programs In India For Ambitious Women Like You!
Mostly Normal is a book of innocence, longing, filial love, angst and acceptance, encapsulating a gamut of human emotions within its lightweight edifice. The book touches the human heart and will stay with you.
Some books enthral you till the last page, and then there are those that you stop reading after turning a few pages. Some books are a one-time read, while you carry some books with you long after you have read them. Then, once in a while, a book hits you so close to home that you find it difficult to slot into any category.
I will put Priyadeep Kaur’s Mostly Normal (BookSoul Reads, 2022) in this last bracket.
At a little less than hundred pages, Mostly Normal is a testimony of the power of words to inspire, irrespective of their length.
A memoir written in one-sided epistolary format, Mostly Normal is structured as a chronological collection of letters from 2000-2019 that the author writes to her brother, Safal.
Safal is a neurologically challenged, differently abled child. He cannot speak, and no one can tell how much and what all he understands. He communicates in what would be called a socially inappropriate manner (hitting his sister whenever he wants to express something). The author, who yearned for a sibling before Safal was even conceived, cannot share the kind of relationship she envisaged with her brother. Nothing captures the poignant pain more beautifully than her own words from the book:
“I have a sibling, yet I am the only child. I have a brother, yet I don’t know how it feels to have a brother. I care for you, I love you yet I cannot do anything to help you. But above all, I love you.”
These words resonate deeply with me for reasons I choose not to share here. I could feel what the author must have felt while penning her thoughts.
Providing a glimpse of the author’s early childhood to her late teens, the book sheds light on diverse human traits ranging from yearning, innocence, deceit, shock, disbelief, dreams, challenges, struggles, hopes, aspirations, and finally acceptance. It conveys that differently-abled individuals need not be objects of pity; they have challenges and struggles just like any normal person, though the nature of their challenges might be different. It also showcases the perspective of the ‘normal’ sibling—being a caregiver of a special needs person is emotionally exhausting, and not everyone can manage that day in and day out. One small mistake and the caregivers tend to blame themselves, as the author also does two-three times in the book. The reader understands from the book that self-care and self-compassion are much needed in facing challenges.
Not many people have the courage to bare a vulnerable part of their lives to the world, and for this alone, the author has my admiration. I can feel every single line of this book. Some of the unedited letters are so innocent and raw that I cried at places, while the ones written during her childhood in broken English made me smile. The confusion and turmoil that a teenager goes through are brought out well through some of the letters.
However, the book did feel incomplete to me as a reader. At a point in time, the author decides to stop writing these letters to her brother —who could not read them — and tell all to him directly. While I respect the author’s personal choice, for the purposes of the book, it would have been better for her to leave a note to the readers to inform them what Safal has been up to from 2019-2022. That would have made for a more satisfying closure.
Further, the typos, misspelt words and punctuation errors in some of the letters mar the reading experience. While the author’s notes to her brother were personal, once she published them in a book, they became public knowledge, and a tighter grammatical check was much required.
Nevertheless, the book is one of the most sensitive takes on human emotions. Kudos to the writer and her brother. The struggles a family of a special-needs child undergoes are not easy to comprehend, and Mostly Normal does a stellar job of bringing these challenges to the forefront in a deeply personal manner. It reminds us that instead of complaining, we should be grateful and blessed to have a life. In the author’s words, “Disability does not teach anyone patience and courage, life does. And life is for all of us.” For those looking for a quick yet inspiring read, this book won’t disappoint.
If you’d like to pick up Mostly Normal written by Priyadeep Kaur, 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: galbiati from Getty Images Free for Canva Pro and book cover Amazon.
Smita Das Jain is a writer by passion who writes every day. Samples of her writing are visible in the surroundings around her — her home office, her sunny terrace garden, her husband’s car and 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!
"There is a story and a vision which makes us gravitate towards cinema. Even as we worked as assistants on ads, we realised that cinema was our true calling," say Gunpreet Kaur Mann and Deepali Singh Raseen.
The Railway Men. Mili. Cuttputli. The Diplomat. Bade Miyan Chote Miyan. And more…
Let me introduce to you the talented designer duo who have worked on these, and can be considered today’s upcoming costume designers for the screen. Gunpreet Kaur Mann and Deepali Singh.
Having studied at NIFT, Gunpreet Kaur Mann sent her portfolio out to several designers. Her first gig was as an assistant stylist with Manoshi and Rushi, who also happen to be a designer duo. She worked on an ad film starring Saif Ali Khan and eventually landed a full time job with designer Vikram Phadnis. Years of experience as assistant costume designer followed, which eventually led her to getting a break.
A ‘thank you’ makes a lot of difference in the way any woman in your life sees herself in your eyes. It might even mean the world to her.
I have not received any appreciation in the past. Probably never will. This is the experience of ample women across the globe. The expectation to be thanked for all the sacrifices she makes to keep others happy has faded. Yet the urge to hear few words of acknowledgement always lingers.
There is never a day when she pushes off her own burdens. She knows not to give up on people she loves. Women in general, are givers by nature and hence, give without asking anything in return. They have been the care givers and lovers since centuries however receive no appreciation.
It will mean the world to your mother if you answer her calls. If your sister seems lost give her a hug and assure her about her strengths. Tomorrow, there might come a day when you would have to make your daughter feel empowered with few words of wisdom every now and then. For the children to feel wanted and loved, you must be able to spare some quality time with your wife and be present in the moment.
Please enter your email address