Don't judge a book by its cover, they say. We take it a step forward and say, don't judge the content by the style.
Being Me is written in a rather flippant style, which makes it initially appear as the breezy journey of an urban woman through two important stages of life—marriage and motherhood.
Tucked into the conversational, and often irreverent vocabulary, however, is pain, too. The pain of pending infertility that a uterine tuberculosis portended. The decision of quitting a career in favour of motherhood, the trials and tribulations of raising children, and also finding her own space and identity, in a new career. Identifiable, isn't it?
Kshipra Bhandari Narain's is a personal account, and there are no surprises in store for the reader on the next page. It is a regular journey through a phase of life, with expected stumbles and shocks.
She writes almost as if she is thinking aloud, holding a conversation with herself. It is a style faintly reminiscent of Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones's Diary. That, however, was fiction, this is real life.
Narain also tries her hand at some poetry, interspersing her distracted prose. The style perhaps reflects the author's own conflicting emotions, as, in between the packed day of a mother of two, she questions her life choices, and then, later on, takes baby steps towards a new career.
This book, in a sense, is a cathartic experience for her. Somewhere during the eight-year journey, she's found a new faith—in Buddha—new confidence in her abilities, and, certainly, contentment.
Sample this: And I am topsy turvy in love with where I am right now. I wouldn't trade anything in the world for this situation. My perplexities. My dizziness. My family. My work. My complexities, My ecstacies. Eventually, it all falls in place.
Narain's work may not rank very high on literary merit, in fact, there are many improvements she could make in her style and vocabulary. Yet, the work will find resonance with many readers—women in their 30s who are faced with choices that are not really choices. For, every choice comes with a price.
Narain also presents a fleeting, but an empathetic glimpse into the man's mind. If marriage and parenting are life-changing experiences for her, then her Mr Macho, too, has had his life changed.
Being Me... A Woman In Progress 24x7
By Kshipra Bhandari Narain
Published by Vishwakarma Publishers
Price Rs 280, pages 211