Author: Hemalatha Gnanasekhar
Publisher: Kalpaz Publications
Cover : 2.5/5
Title : 3.5/5
Blurb : 3.5/5
Stories : 3/5
Theme : 4/5
Characters : 4.5/5
Overall : 3.5/5
Growing up as a girl was tough three decades ago ! It was the time when parents thought twice on sending a girl child to one of the best schools ! For they believed that a girl belonged to another family ! She was also brought up in a very conservative environment ; so much so that, talking to a stranger or relatives was considered a taboo ! Friends were not allowed and laughing aloud or embellishing oneself were also forbidden.
In my book “Women Home Excellent Men” I have recorded my experience of growing up in such a background. Today, if I sit down and think about my past, all I would like to say is that ; despite the restraints, life was really enjoyable. There were no televisions for entertaining us nor were we familiar with a computer which would connect us to the outside world. All the fun I got was through books, which I slowly got addicted to. There were a few people who influenced my life, and through close observance, I learnt some lessons from them, which I follow to this day !
Our family doctor taught me to accept life as it comes, without any fretting and fuming. From an old school teacher, I learnt that it is love that triumphs everything and ultimately stopped worrying about ageing. I also learnt the lesson that the value of money is enhanced, if only it is spent for others and to see the smile on their face. And at times, I also wonder at how crazy I had been as a child, when all I was determined to do in life was speak the truth, no matter what !
While you may perhaps have a hearty laugh reading them, I am sure you would not miss out on the fact that life offers lessons to each one of us from time to time and if only, we care to stand-by and take note of them, we would find our lives enriched !
The essays are written with humor and sensitivity. Each exploration captures the essence of seeking reasons for doing the things that we do, whether it is letting the child within us peek out once in a while or the realization of certain truths about ourselves.
The essays are everyday happenings, though unimportant, yet lend a moment of deliberation and leaves behind an important lesson, enriching the self. Truly enlivening, it is chicken soup for the soul!
“Women Home, Excelled Men” by Hemalatha Gnanasekar is a collection of 16 essays about everyday routine incidences. They cover various aspects and situations that women face in life, from childhood memories to worrying about the ever-increasing weight in early 30s. The essays bring out a new viewpoint, different from common mentality, that can be taken-away from our life situations. The essays were as below-
- Sublime Feat: Revolves around questions in children’s minds about god’s existence and answers to the same by an elderly member of the family.
- The Exotic Van Journey: Experiencing a family ride in an old worn-out van which even breaks down in the middle of a stranded road.
- On Taking Things As They Come: Learning to adapt to any occupation, giving in to the need of the hour and leaving behind our passions, just to earn bread and butter for the family.
- On Looking Young: The dilemma of a woman about whether she should be focusing on her inner beauty or her physical appearance that is being affected by her body changes due to aging.
- It Rattles On: Story of the Ladies Special Train, how it came into existence and even witnessed a child-birth once; also how it still goes on after facing multiple hurdles.
- The Wanderers: Fear in the mind of children about the existence of gypsies – that they are coming in search of them and would find them if the children didn’t obey their parents.
- The Value Of Money: A mere habit of saving little amounts of money can help fulfill wishes of our near-dear ones when required.
- Women’s day: Memories of a woman’s childhood when her mother would make her favourite sweets on woman’s day, and now she does the same for her daughter.
- A Lesson Learnt: About the current scenario wherein a few children leave their house after getting married, leaving their parents alone in the house to take care of themselves.
- The Eucalyptus Leaves: Memory of old-time floods when all houses and major part of the town were destroyed and had sunk under water.
- The Child In Us: Incidences when we become children ourselves, even after we grow up and have added responsibilties. It’s all about acknowledging the existence of the child within us.
- On Speaking The Truth: Revolves around the difficulty of abiding by new year resolutions.
- My Tutors: Of all the people who imbibe values into us, the most important ones being our parents.
- For Dog Lovers: The challenges of inhabiting a pet.
- My First Job: Experiences of the corporate world that shape our career and mould us in the long run.
- The KBC Issue: The excitement of participating in KBC and the anticipation of waiting for their call which would never reach our telephones.
The essays could have been more fine tuned. The narration would be distracted from the main plot a lot many times, leaving a connection gap in each individual story.
Hemalatha has very well managed to draw positives from usual day-to-day incidents and bring a new perspective to it, which is not an easy task. Grammar and editing have improved a lot from her previous writings, hence proved that these things get better only with experience.
An enlivening effort, chicken soup for the soul. (3.5/5)
Click here to read Hemalatha’s interview by me.
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- Available at: Amazon (Kindle edition: Rs. 128)
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