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Of Mothers and Others is a beautiful collection of short writing about motherhood, which will make you laugh and cry - sometimes at the same time.
Of Mothers and Others is a beautiful collection of short writing about motherhood, which will make you laugh and cry – sometimes at the same time.
By Unmana Datta
I picked up Of Mothers and Others, a collection of essays, stories, and poems about motherhood edited by Jaishree Misra, with some trepidation. Would the book be full of tales of changing diapers and applying salve on bruised knees? Wasn’t it an unlikely book to please someone like me, who has only a cursory interest in motherhood?
Thankfully, I was wrong. Not just mothers, but also us others can enjoy many of the pieces in these books. Smriti Lamech’s ‘Determination’ lured me in. In a country where sons are almost invariably preferred to daughters, Lamech’s strong wish for a daughter – even unto the initial rejection of her son – was refreshing, poignant, and funny. Anita Roy’s delightfully-named ‘Eating Baby’ is a detailed look at her infant son’s eating habits – and contrary to my misgivings, I was drawn in and found myself smiling along.
Jai Arjun Singh’s essay on mothers in Hindi movies, ‘Milky Ways’, is typical of his writing: full of laugh-out-loud lines and unexpected insights. ‘The Gardener’s Daughter’ by Sarita Mandanna made me shudder at the cold-bloodedness of the fictional mother.
Huma Quraishi’s ‘The State Can’t Snatch Away Our Children’ is a welcome look at human rights abuses in Kashmir, but I found the abrupt narrative shifts from personal anecdotes to societal justice with long quotes from activists jarring.
Urvashi Butalia’s ‘Childless, Naturally’ explores the state of the childless woman in a society that reveres mothers. It’s a welcome perspective, but I found it somewhat cliché-ridden, and the proclamation at the end that the childless state is “a good place to be” seemed obvious and somewhat defensive.
My very favourite is Andromeda Nebula’s ‘Blankets in the Sky’, a heart-rending account by a mother of her two little adopted daughters, sisters by biology as well as relationship, who cling to each other as they eye the world around them, including their adoptive parents, with mistrust. Bag packed so that they could run away, they presented a united front against the world. The story of how they slowly somewhat loosened their ties to each other as they dug in their roots in their new home made me tear up.
Many of the poems are beautiful too: I especially liked the ones by Tishani Doshi.
Whether you are a mother or not, you’ll probably find something in Of Mothers and Others to delight or touch you.
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Unmana is interested in gender, literature and relationships, and writes about everything she's interested in. She lives in, and loves, Bombay. read more...
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Chetan Bhagat had no business slut shaming Uorfi Javed or any other woman. If he wants to 'guide' young men in the 'right direction' then he should take accountability for his words.
Chetan Bhagat, one of India’s bestselling authors, thought it was an ingenious idea to slut-shame Uorfi Javed, an Indian actress and influencer, at the Sahitya Aaj Tak literature festival.
“Phone has been a great distraction for the youth, especially the boys, spending hours just watching Instagram Reels. Everyone knows who Uorfi Javed is. What will you do with her photos? Is it coming in your exams or you will go for a job interview and tell the interviewer that you know all her outfits? On one side, there is a youth who is protecting our nation at Kargil and on another side, we have another youth who is seeing Uorfi Javed’s photos hiding in their blankets.”
Uorfi Javed responded with a video on her Instagram stories calling out Bhagat’s bluff. She shared the screenshots of his previous chat conversations with Ira Trivedi, author and yoga instructor, which came to light during the #MeToo movement.
"MAN MADE TO DO 5 SIT-UPS AS A PUNISHMENT FOR RAPE", I read the headline again, 5 sit-ups cannot serve as a punishment for a heinous crime like rape, right?
[Trigger Warning: Mention of rape of minors.]
Another day, another hour, another news about rape pops up on my mobile. Sometimes the accused is a stranger, or sometimes it can be the father, the husband or an uncle, the victim can be a minor or a grown up lady, an animal or even a mere corpse.
But there is one thing that remains common— BARBARIC REINFORCEMENT OF PATRIARCHY.
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