I hope you enjoyed my first book review and here I am with my second review. The second book that I chose from the #blogchatterEbookcarnival was “The Woman That I am”, an anthology curated lovingly by Rashi Roy and Manas Mukul. It is a very commendable initiative by them and has given opportunity of getting published to many new writers.
The seeds of this anthology were sown when Rashi and Manas came together to create a blog hop under their banner RRxMM on “The Woman That I Am” around the #internationalwomensday. The amazing response received from bloggers, encouraged them to convert this into an anthology.
The anthology includes poems, essays and stories by 30 writers from various walks of life. It is enriched by viewpoints of bloggers, poets, educationists, entrepreneurs, engineers, management graduates, corporate careerists and so on. The book in its entirety captures the essence of a woman – through the voices of these 30 writers. Some may have been cliched but most went into beautiful nuances.
It is a bilingual book and contains poetry, fiction and non-fiction in English and Hindi. Hence there is something for everyone but those who enjoy all three genres and both the languages would enjoy the book immensely. I kind of enjoyed the meandering flow of the book as it moved effortlessly from essay to verse to story switching between the two languages.
The cover is attractive – the woman in orange, a stark contrast to the dark background catches ones eye immediately. The title of the book in orange complements the photograph. The photograph itself reflects the book title very well – “The Woman That I Am”
The topic is close to my heart, I could relate to many pieces and many others moved me emotionally. Some pieces may come across as a bit cliched, but quite a few touch varied aspects of a woman’s life and are beautifully nuanced. While it is difficult to talk about each and every piece in the review, let me touch upon some of my most favorite ones.
The book starts off with the title poem by Rashi Roy that pretty much captures every woman’s story and sets a good base for the rest of the book. Manas Mukul reveals the multiple facets of a woman in his verse “She Can Be Forever”.
“Ye jo aurat main hun” by Priya Priyamvada was easily my most favourite piece – encapsulating a father daughter relationship and how it forged her as a woman. Very moving writing that made me long for my own father, who I lost 2 years ago.
“I am a woman” by Deepika Sharma – is a beautiful story that shows that a mother is beyond gender, a mother is someone who nurtures. “An ode to Womanhood” by Deepti Sharma shows another aspect of motherhood. How so many women don’t even realise that while slipping into the various roles of mother, wife and daughter, they seem to forget who they actually are. This loss of individuality is perhaps the most terrible loss. “I Make Her The Woman She Is” by Supriti Garg is a poignant story about a woman and her soul and touches similar sentiments on the loss of individuality.
Janaki Srinivasan’s “Loving tribute” is a touching tribute to her domestic help. It shows that inspiration can come from anywhere and each one of us can be an inspiration to others by just being the best that we can be. It reminded me of a blog I wrote about two years ago on the range of women who shaped me into what I am today.
When I read Meera V’s introduction, I suspected I will really like whatever she has written, and I was not disappointed! “Sanity in Sanitary Pad” is an extremely witty piece and highlights very relevant issues in a lighter vein. I smiled throughout the verse – the conversation between abdomen and brain is the best! Though I would preferred if it was called uterus. I look forward to reading more stuff from her!
“The Turmoil Within” – by Noor Anand Chawla is a story of a woman who finally learns to assert herself, created in the backdrop of recent Delhi riots.
“Kyun Main Dun Agni Pariksha” by Sangya Nagpal, written from the point of view of Seeta raises pertinent questions – questions that are valid even in today’s context. Women continue to have to prove themselves – then and now.
“The woman that I am” by Nidhi Rawal Gautam is a strong unapologetic poem by a woman confident of herself and comfortable in her skin. I simply loved it. “Magnificent speck of stardust” by Namrata Varadharajan is also a nice, well worded poem that I enjoyed reading. “The Woman You Knew” by Srivalli Rekha is another well written poem about the awakening of the woman within.
“All Of Me” by Swarnali Nath is beautifully written and her words come alive to form visuals – I was lost in the lyrical expressions soon after I started reading.
“Judged” by Ujjwal Mishra is a hard-hitting poem showcasing women from all walks of life and how regardless of what they do or where they are, judgement never ceases.
Finally, I want to end the review with one of the essays that resonated most with me and my own beliefs. “I Believe in Me” – by Neeraja Ganesh gives some very powerful life lessons. She talks about the importance of knowing what you want and then to go for it by putting all you have in that pursuit. All the while not being apologetic for it. Many women hesitate to go for what they want, worried about what people will think, or whether the family will support or sometimes their own guilt. She quotes very rightly – “Opportunities don’t happen, you CREATE them”.
What could have been better
There are many places in the book where one feels the chapters are more like individual blogs than part of a larger book. For instance, one would continue to find references of the blog hop or international women’s day. Since a book is timeless, ideally these references could have been removed. Many titles were also very similar – naturally since the blog hop was called “The Woman I am” – but these could have been changed for the book as it gets a bit repetitive. I also noticed a few editing issues at various places.
I also would have liked to hear some more from men – of the 30 entries, only one was from a man – Manas. Of course, I understand that this came from a blog hop – where most entries would have been from women – but perhaps a few curated entries could have come from men too – always good to have gender balance – either way 😊
On the whole I would really like to congratulate Rashi Roy, Manas Mukul and all the contributors for a very good effort. I would recommend people to read it.
This book is a part of the #blogchatterEbookcarnival and you can download this book for FREE for a limited period at https://www.theblogchatter.com/download/the-woman-that-i-am-by-rashi-roy-and-manas-mukul/
You Can also download my ebook for FREE here: https://www.theblogchatter.com/download/raising-capable-children-by-sakshi-varma/