A space of her own: personal narratives of twelve women by Leela Gulati, Jasodhara Bagchi

By Leela Gulati, Jasodhara Bagchi

Targeting relationships among ladies of other generations in India, this ebook includes of narratives demonstrating how every one contributor verified her personal personhood via engagement with a much broader family members workforce. Did the ladies portrayed within the narratives locate area for themselves inside orthodox buildings? Or, have been they so restricted via the social roles of the best value to their households - as better halves and moms - that finishing those roles intended a few type of loss of life? How did their lives mildew these of the narrators of those lifestyles histories? displaying that girls don't need to consistently be noticeable as sufferers, those are tales of girls who stumbled on energy, luck and independence from the inspiring lives in their moms and grandmothers.

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I had started writing prose and had an adoring readership. I was enjoying the recognition. I wanted it to grow. I worked very hard. The girls needed me. And I had many friends. Life was treating me well and I had no time to feel lonely. Here we were, three generations of single women living under one roof. A widow, a divorcee and two unmarried girls. But the oppressive shadow of Narayani was not over us. Mother, incidentally, had become bedridden after her nervous breakdown, and never quite recovered from it.

The insistence on sub-caste, language, religion as well as the other taboos reduced options severely for a community that was itself pretty small. As a result, some of my older cousins remained unmarried till their late 20s. The eldest of Jethamashay’s unmarried daughters, Mejdi (second-eldest sister), was not goodlooking. She had to repeatedly face the terrible custom of meye dekha14 before any negotiations could be finalised. The next sister, who was far better looking and had also had more formal education, got married earlier.

And both of us had been named by Tagore, if that is any indication of social status. After the engagement party we went off to Wales together for a few days and sent ecstatic postcards to our friends and family. On our return to Cambridge, where Amartya was a Prize Fellow at Trinity, we found a telegram waiting. It was from my mother: ‘Do not send postcards. Enjoy yourselves. Blessings. ’ Only then it struck us that we were not only committing a shameful, sinful act, but also advertising it! THE WIND BENEATH MY WINGS 35 Next summer we came back to Calcutta and got married.

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