She wasn’t extraordinary, but she wasn’t ordinary at all. Her story, her writing style, her honesty, and her hope- one rarely finds in a writer these days.
Welcome to the life and times of Baby Halder. She was an uneducated child bride who suffered domestic violence and managed to flee her abusive husband somehow.
No, don’t pity her. Celebrate her. That is what she does in her book.
She is now an author of three successful books and proud mother of two bright boys.
Oh, she also does housekeeping for her mentor Dr. Prabodh Kumar.
Ordinary Life, Less ordinary Writing
Ordinary takes on many meanings in our vocabulary but it always resonates with something that is everyday and everywhere – not so difficult to find. Baby’s life is not everyday and one in thousands.
When you read through this book, you might feel a lack of structure or you might see her ingenuity. She writes the book in one go, no chapters, just words. It makes you feel uncomfortable, disorderly, out of place. Probably how most of her life had been before she moved to Delhi.
Originally written and published in Bengali as Aalo Aandhari, this memoir is a tracing back of her journey, a procedural remembering. Baby becomes a name you will remember and recognise because she is everywhere around you, in different shape and forms. You may know her, but you may have never seen the struggle firsthand. Now you do.
Memoir and A Sense of Identity
“If a writer starts worrying about what he or she has left out or forgotten, they might not be able to write even a single line.” – Baby Halder
Human memory in general is questionable and she uses that weakness as her writing tool. This book is revolutionary in terms of a memoir. As a reader you may lose the sense of “I”, like the writer does. Her identity merges with her community often. As if she is trying to tell us, she wasn’t an individual before, she is now. She often shifts from first person to second, is that a lack of writing?
Baby has used our idea of writing about the self and turned it upside down. There is much to examine and learn from her book.
MOment of Change
Her educational journey is extraordinary and inspiring. How meeting one person can alter the course of your life, is evident in her life and in her memoir. You may notice the change in her language, her adherence to structure, and her marking of symbols. As she studies and grows, readers get to witness that experience.
When you read this book, you grow with it. If you haven’t read this tale yet, you should. For several reasons, most important of those are its ability to make us question. Question our concept of autobiography, question our sense of self and question our writing tools.