This book is written by a maid. Yes, you read that right! This is the autobiography of a woman who was married off at the age of 12 to a 26 year old man. He beats her up regularly and is indifferent to her desires and dreams. Finally she walks out of the marriage and moves to Delhi with her children. Initially, she works as a domestic help at a place where she is made to work all the time. But then, she finds work at a place where her employer encourages her to read and write. He treats her like his own daughter. It is because of him that she had written this book.
As I reached the end of the book, I was moved because I have never heard a story like this before. How often do you get a chance to read about a maid’s life and that too, in her own words (the book was originally written in Bengali and was then translated to Hindi and English)? I had to take a break for two days because the domestic violence parts are quite disturbing. But the way Baby came out of hell is inspiring.
I had few issues with the book though: I somehow didn’t like the way Baby jumps suddenly from one incident to another. But then, it’s good to remember that Baby used to write after completing her work as a domestic help and taking care of three children!
Whenever I feel like giving up, I will make sure I read this book, because Baby’s life is certainly not ordinary. There are people who say that feminism is for the elite, upper class women. This book proves that there are women out there fighting the patriarchy..without even knowing that there is a name to their beliefs.
P.S. That employer was the grandson of Munshi Premchand 🙂