My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Look around you; you are surrounded by fascinating women, women who will charm you, women who will rebuff you, smiling women and some who look like the weight of the world is on their shoulders. Maybe you are one of these fascinating women, maybe you are one of the men who are fascinated by these women, whosoever you may be, That Woman You See is somewhere connected to your life and home.
Sujata Parashar has ventured into the field of short story writing with a glimpse into the lives of these women who are a part of our world. Her book That Woman You See attempts to fathom the complexities of women in India, complexities which are a part of women worldwide.
Frankly I am not a short story fan, somehow I am often left with a feeling that there must be more to this story – the author maybe needs to elaborate upon it more. But while reading Sujata’s book I soon realised that her exploration of the various facets of women in India could only be covered in a short story form – and she has managed to make even me into a short story reader – at least to some extent!
Many working women will empathise with the story of Sheeba – a story of unequal rewards for an equal amount of work. I have often wondered about the women in the red- light districts – what happens when they get pregnant – do they know who the father is? Even if they do – is there any acceptance of the child by the men who pay for their services? The first story is about Ganga – she who is pure. The eventual rejection by a regular client leaves you uncomfortable and unhappy, but then this I think is the probably the reality of their lives.
There are nine stories – and with her now familiar dexterity Sujata gives each protagonist a different story and a different personality. I have enjoyed reading and watching Sujata as her stories become more complex and her characters begin to acquire a life of their own, I have watched her play with words and draw us into the world of her characters. The story of Shivangita will touch a chord in the hearts of mothers who may wonder whether they should tell their children why they do what they do! And how I wish so many of my friends would take charge of their lives and do something that would give them satisfaction the way Shikha plans to do.
If you get drawn into the lives of the characters in a book and begin to see mirrors of your own world then a book is really worth reading. This is one of those books where I felt that many of these women are around me or that some of them have been a part of my world at some point. This is the reason why I feel that this is a lovely book – probably the best one by Sujata - so far! Sujata’s poetry is beautiful as always and I am glad she leaves us with these lovely words:
Accept her as you accept yourself;
With care and respect
Love her as you love yourself;
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