IBNS/Is there any woman who, as a teenager (or maybe even as a grown up), did not have to hear how unlike they were from their mothers when they (mothers) were at that age.
When mothers were invariably lady-like, well-behaved, obedient, not fighting with siblings, helping in the kitchen, an expert at needlework…a demure bride…modest…running the household like clockwork even if they held an outside job… the list is endless. And if this has been your pet peeve, save your breath, at least till the time you lay your hands on the book ‘When Mommy Was A Little Girl’.
A collection of real incidents woven with literary flair, the book will tell you what mothers did when they were little girls. It opens up a whole new world — where the strong woman you always turn to was afraid of the dark and could not sleep without leaving the lights on, the woman who always scolded you for not keeping your toys in order was a champion messy person, the strict mommy who learned a lesson of a lifetime when she stole from a friend but that friend did not squeal on her, and other events and situations which are sometimes funny, sometimes thought-provoking.
Published by Ponytale Books, an independent publisher of books for children and young adults, ‘When Mommy Was A Little Girl’ is an inspiration from and a tribute to the modern classic ‘When Daddy Was a Little Boy’ by Soviet author Alexander Raskin, which talked about ‘what a Daddy did when he was a little boy’.
As Pranav Kumar Singh, editor of ‘When Mommy Was A Little Girl’, would say in the introduction — we decided that mothers deserve a book like that too.
So they requested Mommies to dig into their childhood memories and share their stories when they were little girls. The anthology is mostly crowd sourced.
While the stories, written in simple English, are all about mothers when they were kids, the book has a remarkable undertone – pen pictures of the diverse geography, the language and the people who make up the core of the country.
The mommies lived across the country – from tea gardens in Assam to a wee village in Karnataka, from urban centres like Mumbai or Pune to the arid plains of Gujarat, etc.
Characteristics of various places – ‘bageecha’ (gardens) along the Bhagirathi River, a leopard lurking among mango orchards, the animals you might come across in the coffee plantations of Kodagu, tea gardens, Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations, etc.
The little mommies spoke in diverse tongues – Bengali, Konkani, Sindhi, Malayalam, Hindi, Punjabi, and more. One of the interesting aspects of the book is that the names of the relatives (grandfathers, grandmothers, parents, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles) have been retained in the regional tongue, which gives the stories a very personal feel.
Sketches by Abhilasha Khatri enliven the stories, giving an idea what mommy may have looked like when she was a kid.
With so much diversity, an extra kudos is due to the editors, who ensured that the stories retain their original flavours while maintaining a discipline in style and presentation. The book concludes with a tiny surprise but it will remain a secret till you finish the book and discover it for yourself.
Published by: Ponytale Books
Anthology, English, paperback
Price: Rs 299