Monday, August 4, 2014

Is Motherhood A Choice? - A True Story

Today's post is a guest post from Ananya of Ananya Tales. It is a short true story that many of us can relate to. I loved reading it and know that you would enjoy it too. Off to Ananya. 

*****************************************************************

Something strange happened yesterday. ..

I was selecting pictures for my Anand Mela blog post, its always difficult task to select few from hundreds of them anyways thats when my phone rang. It was an unknown phone number, still my eyes stuck on my laptop screen I answered the call, there was a shaky 'HELLO' on other end.

(Source:Wikipedia painting.org)
She said "Hi, We don't know each other, but I read your blog daily and I feel I know you very well. I got your phone number from a common friend long back but I waited all this while to talk to you. Before you ask my name, I don't wish to disclose it and would appreciate if you don't try to find it out."

Before I could say something she continued "I want to share something with you, which if you wish you can write about. Can I talk to you for few minutes or call you later?"

I shut my laptop screen got up from my chair from her voice I could tell she was not fooling around and it was something serious. I said "Ok ! Go ahead, am listening".

Now just for our reference let us call her Anamika - which means nameless!

Anamika continued "Thanks ! I dont want to address you as a friend just want you to listen."

I interrupted "If you don't think of me as a friend then why talk to me?"

Anamika said "I have been in USA for more than six years now and I have many whom I call as friends. Friends whom I invite over for dinner, friends with whom I party, friends whose birthdays we celebrate, friends who are neighbors, friends who are jealous when I am doing good and friends who are happy when I am upset. I don't usually complain but I am so sick of this superficial relationships. I have a perfectly normal life like everyone else does with own share of problems but I am fine with it. What am not able to accept is not a single person I know is ready to share his/her sorrows with me. There have been times when I have shared my short comings with others just to lighten my heavy heart. But more than often that just ends up becoming a hot topic of discussion. I am bored of painting the perfect picture. I want to discuss my imperfections and work on them. I just feel its..."

She paused and waited for me to react, I wish I could but I was at loss of words. I tried saying " I understand how that feels..."she just cut my words and said "NO, you don't!"

She continued "There have been times where I have been so upset or frustrated with extra work at office, fights with husband or just because its that time of the month but I have no one to let it all out. I cannot bother my old parents back in India. Neither tell my brother about these things, he wouldn't understand. And yes telling the so called friends is not a option at all."

She was talking and I could actually read in between her words there was so much agony. She said "I am a happily married lady. My husband is a nice guy. But sometimes it feels so wrong when everyone around you just keeps expecting form you. I am neither scared of child birth nor do I hate kids in fact I like kids, others kids. I don't want to have my own not that I can't but I DON'T Want to. Everyone around me keeps giving me endless advice. I am 31 years old, I have told my husband about this He says he is fine with my decision but sometimes he gives in to family pressure. At times when he looses his temper he asks me Why did I not tell him before?"

She paused and then continued "I didn't tell him because I didn't know myself. All my life I focused on my education then work and when my parents said it was the right time to marry I gave it a thought and eventually did get married. Not that I regret any of this. I am really happy with my life, I am content and thats the problem. I am happy with what I have now and don't wish to add a new member to my family."

She asked me "Can't Motherhood a choice?"

Before I could reply, she said "Are all women born to be Mothers by default. Is it really the law of nature or is it man made. When I honestly tell someone about my views they give a cold look. my desire of not having children make me less humane in their eyes. Initially I thought I would meet  someone who would at-least agree or have the courtesy to say 'Its your choice', but sadly I haven't met any. Not a man nor a Women who would actually respect my decision. I often feel confident about my decision and I think its better to be aware of what you want from life rather than just keep living it on someone else's terms. But sometimes I feel really low and it pushes me to  think...

Am I doing something awfully wrong?

Should I have children just because everyone else does?

Is childless Marriage a failure ?
Read more...

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Making Life and Marriage Work: A True Story

Today's post is special for three reasons: 

1. I am posting after a long time and thus the post brings me back to my blog. 

2. The post sent by the reader truly moved me and I saluted her spirit.

3. This is a true story and affirms our belief in marriage and the adage that 'where there is a will, there is a way.'

This true story is sent by Sukriti, a woman who teaches her how we can build a life we dream of. Over to Sukriti.. 




*******************

I don't find myself good at words and expressing myself, but still making an attempt to pen down my story for your blog. 

My story is full of twists and I hope you enjoy reading it. This story takes you through the journey of marriage and afterwards. 

It is about the time when I was waiting for my PHD completion. I come from a simple family and I am the eldest child of the family. I completed my PG in Physics, then did B.Ed and M.Ed, qualified NET and later got a good job. 

I was now 27 and everyone around me wanted me to get married soon. I was well qualified, others said I was good-looking too but I was not sure about what I wanted in my life partner. One thing I was sure of was that I wanted a happy life and I had and have passion for life. 

My father placed an ad in the matrimonial site and we got lots of proposals. There was one proposal from a dentist and my father pursued it. I and the boy got to talk few times and I didn't find anything negative in him so I said yes to my family. 

The only issue was that my relatives kept telling me that the boy is still struggling for a permanent clinic, he doesn't have financial security and your would-be FIL is money minded person so me and my family were in dilemma. 

In the meantime, my parents went to his place and they liked everything. My parents got good welcome at their family and thus officially our phone numbers were exchanged. We started to make our plans together and he told me that he wanted to go abroad for his MDS and I would complete my PhD in the meantime and we would live happily together when he gets back to India. 

In this span of about a month, we were working on the dates of our marriage and both the families meet. That is when my FIL demanded dowry and since my family is very against the system of dowry, we immediately cancelled the whole thing. My parents told me about the meeting and the dowry demand and I also gave my decision that I would not marry such a person. 



My FIL gave one last chance to my parents to think about it and we gave them our final NO. The boy called me many times but I simply ignored his calls and I was quite mad at him but he still kept calling. One day I thought of picking up his call and telling him that I have decided to break this relation. I received his call and told him what all I had in my heart. It was a very brief conversation and I told him that I didn't know about his dadd dowry plans and thus I have decided to say no. 

I thought it was the end of a chapter but when I disconnected the phone I realized a tear rolled from my eye, I realized the disappointment in his voice too but I was determined to ignore everything.  I don't know what relationship I developed in these one month of chatting on phone. 

Like many girls of my age, I too had few chit pit relationships in my past, where I thought I was serious sometimes, few times it was a very strong friendship, sometimes something more than just a friendship, got heartbreaks and left willingly few times but this time it was different feeling. It seemed I lost a good human being - some one who could be my life partner. Anyway I was sure of my decision and pretended to be happy. 

A day later, I got a sms in the mid night. It said, 'if you say yes I can change the whole world for you'. 

I swear I was trying to forget the whole thing but this sms made me think again. I was not sure what to do, I didn't reply the sms and went to college next day. My HOD was a lady in her late 50's who wanted me to get married to his IITian son but his son was younger to me. She expressed her desire few times but we knew it was not possible in anyway. She was a good friend and mentor of mine. She read my face and asked that what was wrong with me, I told her everything. She advised me to meet the boy once and then take a final call. 

I replied to his sms and we decided to meet. He came all the way from Delhi to meet me after making an excuse to his family. I also made a small excuse and we met at our HOD’s place, talked to each other for 2-3 hours and finally decided that we have to convince our families and take charge of our lives. After all, the problem was in our families and their views, we were perfectly compatible with each other. (Or maybe it was love in its beginning). 



It took us about a week to convince our parents.  Everyone was okay with our decision except my MIL who realized how her son went against her wish and now she thought that she had lost her son to a girl. 

We got engaged 3 months later. He opened up a clinic in his aunt's hospital which was about 100 kms away from my place. We were very happy with each other and we had promised that we will not let any third person come in between us. We were just waiting for our marriage so that we could be together. There were still 6 months to our marriage and as he was near my place, he often came to meet me. 

After a while, he realised that his decision of opening a clinic at his aunt's place was not right and after marriage he would have to leave the place. We decided to shift in Lucknow where our new house was under construction and open a new clinic there. All the money my husband had was spent in opening his first clinic.  My FIL assured to give financial help in opening another clinic in Lucknow and my husband has dropped the idea of going abroad as he now wanted his own clinic asap.

6 months later, we got married. Post marriage, we came back to our places - me at my parent's place and he at his clinic. We both worked hard to save money and in another 6 months when we had saved some money, we moved to Lucknow. We took a flat on rent as our own house was under construction. 

I went to college every morning.  My husband used to drop and pick me from my college on his college days bike, which was 14 kms away and as it was in interior so no conveyance was available upto the college. He started looking for a suitable place to open a clinic, but the rents were very high and when he approached his father for help, he just got weak response.The money we had was being spent on the finishing of the house, on purchasing the essential goods to live in.

We shifted to our new house in three months, my in-laws came for the home-warming ceremony and left in two days. Now we were in big and beautiful house with nothing inside it. The few things which I bought in last three months including bedding, utensils and gifts of my marriage were with me. Anyway we were happy with each other, sleeping on the floor, getting ready in front of a hand mirror, cooking together, and spending the evenings on exploring the new city on bike.

It was all good for some time, but the tension was increasing day by day …. The question was still the same… where and how to establish the clinic. Though my husband has all the equipments in his old clinic, but even to shift all the set-up, get it upgraded and a new place required few lacs and we were almost at zero balance after one year of our marriage. My in-laws used to talk to my husband everyday but they never asked him that what are his plans regarding his career even when he indirectly told them what problems we are facing, they ignored.

I now understood. Their grudge was that their son married against their choice and he didn't get enough dowry!!

Another four months passed.  It was one and a half years of our marriage, we were still in the same situation. My husband tried everything in between to earn some money, He applied in almost every hospital in Lucknow, did all possible things to get a loan to start clinic, but as our Bank accounts were not functioning from past one and half years, so the banks refused. The situation was getting worse day by day, now frustration was now increasing, but our decision was still the same, not to let any third person come in between us and our problems. For others we were living in Beautiful House, enjoying with each other, our in-laws keep visiting in between and I had a very neutral relationship with them. I did every and every thing a bahu is expected to do but I never felt any attachment with them. I did it all for my husband, for whom I was his whole world.

I saw everything which I never ever thought of in the first two years of our marriage, I still remember the day my husband my went to a hospital approximately 70 kms from our home, with only 100 rupees in his pocket, this was all the cash we had. We waited every month for my salary which was only 18k at that time, and which was all spent on the monthly expenses, petrol, entertaining guests (after all we were from a rich family and we never wanted ki daddy ke relatives kuch bhi jaane kabhi) , filling forms, internet, electricity, maintenance of home and salary of maids etc). 

We knew that by curtailing any of these expenses wouldn’t be of any help in opening a clinic, it needed a huge amount of money, as my husband was determined to open one of the best and hi-tech clinics in Lucknow. I was frustrated answering the questions what is your husband doing these days. When are you people giving the good news etc. the biggest tension was that dentistry which is a skill and requires practice, was not being practised for almost two years. I didn’t want to look good at all. My Ph.D. was going on but I was unable to concentrate on it. I required few months leave for data collection of my thesis but I was not in a position to have leave without salary.

One day I was determined to have some solution of the problem, I insisted my husband to open a clinic at our home only as this will require lesser amount of money. It was also in his mind but he was hesitant to say this to father as this required capturing of an empty room of the house which was meant to be rented. I remember I sat in the room, talked to by husband and forced him to call his father at that time only and say that give us that room for opening a clinic and we will pay rent for it. After a long discussion on phone about the pros and cons of opening a clinic at home he agreed. Now we had the space but still no money, my FIL agreed to become a guarantor in taking loan.

My husband happily started working out according to his plans, finally the day came when all his equipments were coming to the clinic. I happily returned from college and was eager to see his dreams coming true, but when I returned there was nothing at home. My husband in a sad voice told me that bank requires at least 50K rupees in our account to give loan to us, and to pay for the equipments. Now the last option was the jewellery I had. I took it out and gave it to my husband to take gold loan. So we took loan to take loan and to start our lives.

My husband started his clinic after two years of our marriage and within a year it was a big hit, there were dental clinics all around my home, but people started recognizing it as the best clinic in the area. I still remember the first 100 rupee note which my husband gave to me; I kept it safe and gave it my MIL. My all sacrifices were worth day when one evening a patient of his stopped me at the gate to praise my husband’s work, he said to me that he has travelled in many metros but has never found a dedicated practitioner like him. It was his practice and dedication of five years practice in Delhi that was reflecting in his work. I was more than happy.



Now we live happily, have started dreaming about our fulfilling wishes once again, my Ph.D is almost done, the relationship with my in-laws is slowly coming on track but now we know the value of everything we always took for granted. 

I learnt that a bad phase never lasts forever and there is no need to be panic about it. A happy married life is all about understanding, love, care and commitment and never based on material possessions. 

More than that, until and unless absolutely required, no one (not even your parents) should not be allowed to interfere in your married life, after all its your life and you should be in-charge of it at every step. And the most important one - life is never based on what others tell you how it should be, we need to follow our heart. 

Now every bachelor in my family wants a wife like Sukriti, and I always reply them, If you want a wife like me, be a loving caring and mature husband like my husband. That's always a compliment for us when anyone who meets us asks us, aap dono ki love marriage hai kya ? I enjoy when people compliment couple ho to in dono ke jaisa but no one knows how much it took to nurture a relationship in such situations.



So Surabhi, that’s a very small part of my life. I really do not have any idea about how the story is told as I am writing for the first time. I am always short of words to express.

Once I learn how to write (better you teach me), I want to tell readers of Womanatics, how my relation with my MIL improved (really it was a more difficult task  ;) ) . How was it to have two miscarriages in last one year and what I learnt from it… and how my husband was with me like a strength  pillar every time to come out of every emotional crunch.

I hope you enjoyed reading my story. It is told from the bottom of my heart. I would love to hear from you all in the comments. 

Thank you Surabhi!

***********************

If you have an inspirational story to share, please send it to me at womanatics at gmail dot com. I'd love to hear from you. Who knows your story might solve somebody's dilemma or inspire someone to move on! So, send in your stories. Do not worry about the writing style. I'll take care of that and moreover, we at Womanatics, love the idea more than the words. :) 

Read more...

Monday, June 16, 2014

Love You, Oh Daddy!

Once breathing under your wings, I started strutting about on my own, creating my own world with someone I loved...Yes! I'm happy in the world, 'My World' but dad you are missed each day...a couple of days spent with you after thirteen years of marriage were truly great! 

The way you cared for every little thing we might need...your happiness seeing us gratified...the early rising together and sharing a cup of tea...your listening to my stories and extracts from my novel with rapt attention like the roles were reversed for a while...your picking up the random threads from past and chewing them with me again...your standing in front of me n my kids with a pen and paper ready, asking for the things we would love to have...your moistened eyes when you realised we were to go back to our own world...your anxiety how time was going to hang heavy upon you once again when we were gone... 

Love you oh daddy! 


Pahal with her daddy..


I take a plunge into my childhood and...would love to get lost... 
I gradually lose hold of present... 
Oh..h! I am connected to my roots again! 
A hundred thousand discordant threads of glimpses, 
visions and vibrant pageants, come colourfully alive... 

I'm no more the so called adult, 
lost in the labyrinth of frustrated dreams and aspirations, 
broken pieces of hope or brows crossed in cares... 
I am...I am your doll again... 
The daddy's doll... 

Look! I'm swinging in your mighty arms, 
screaming with a fearful delight as I'm about to touch the ceiling!!! 
You giggle, I giggle too. 
We laugh and laugh until we have eyes welled up with tears. 
I cling to your heart, once I'm back to your arms, 
with my little heart throbbing, still unable to calm down... 

You hug me tight, 
redeeming me from the childhood freight. 

''I'll never let you be hurt." 
You re-assure. 
Once again your kind eyes, 
my crazy mind allure... 

Yet another sight coming back to life 
as I'm cycling, 
and you running after. 
" Hold on! Hold on!
I am there. 
Don't look back! 
Just dare!" 
While I, scared yet holding on, 
replenished by your unseen presence,behind. 

The dark moment, 
I doubted your presence, 
I always had a fall. 
This happens today also 
Oh daddy! 

Another unrolling itself, 
before my nostalgic mind, 
when I cover your eyes with my fragrant henna palms. 

You giggle like a child too, 
kissing my designed hands
"Wow! Isn't that lovely? Know what my sugar plum? 
This dark colour shows my intense love for you." 
Yes daddy! 

You loved me so intense that, I can feel still your presence. 
Whenever I'm stuck on the course of life, 
you kiss my brows and wish me luck.

I owe you daddy, for the love and care. 
I owe you for what I am. 
I owe you for what I am ever going to be... 
Love You Oh Daddy..

Note: The post today comes direct dil se from Maya. You can read her previous posts here and here. Please show her some love. She truly deserves it. 
Read more...

Monday, June 9, 2014

Going A Little Slow..

Hello All, 

How have you been? (I want to know and I am waiting for your responses in the comments). 

I have been doing good but very busy which is why I am not able to update the blog regularly. As many of you know I have left Andaman and moved to mainland along with family. Sanjay is going to join in Delhi very soon. I am at my parents' place right now and as soon as we find a house, we would begin setting up our 'home'. 

In the meantime, I have several other assignments that are pending and need my immediate attention. It is these assignments that are keeping me occupied and not letting me concentrate on Womanatics. I have my MA project, NET exam, setting up home and pursuing a few other interests waiting for me! 

I wish I could spend more time on the blog but sadly that is not happening. 



So today I have decided to bid adieu to my beloved blog for a while. The blog would stay active and I would post an article a week. But unlike earlier when I wrote thrice a week, I would now write weekly once. I would increase the frequency when I get into that state of mind when I can devote most of my time and energy to the blog. 

One section that would keep going on is 'Ask Womanatics'. I get lot of emails from my readers and I would keep answering them. This precisely means that I need you guys to keep the blog going!!!! 

So, if you have anything that you need to talk about, share some of your secrets or just need a friendly, candid advice, please do not hesitate to shoot an email to me. You can find my contact details from the contact page. 

For now, as the summer sets in I am going to go a little slow. Will spend more time offline. Now that I am in mainland, I now want to give my time to my other hobbies that were put on hold because of resource constraints in Andamans

Keep reading Womanatics! Keep in touch with me! Keep showering your love on the blog! Keep commenting and start sending emails. :) 

With lotsa love for all of you.. 
Read more...

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Give Them The Gift Of Life - Sponsored Video

How would the world be if every child who is born lives a long, healthy life? How beautiful this planet be if we imagine a world free of deadly diseases, germs, dirt and anything that takes away lives?
Sadly, this is a dream too far fetched.

Reality is staunchly different and heart rending.

This video has been doing its rounds on the internet it sure deserves many watches. So click on the video and watch it. It gives out a strong message about life and loss. Please watch the video and share it on the social media using the hashtag #helpachildrreach5.



Every year, 1.7 million children die of pneumonia and diarrohea. Worldwide, the rate is alarming at nearly 5000 children losing their lives to diseases like diarrhoea and pneumonia. These are the diseases that can be easily prevented simply by changing some daily habits. Teach a child to wash his hands clean with a good soap and the chances of contracting diarrhoea are drastically reduced.



Lifebuoy is on a mission to help every child live. To let every child reach atleast the age of 5!

As part of their mission, last year they adopted a village Thesgora in India where they spread awareness about basic hygiene habits and importance of washing hands frequently using a good soap and their efforts resulted in reducing the rate of diarrhoea cases from 36% to 5%. Next place on their list is Bitobe, Indonesia.

This reminds of a practice that is religiously followed in a village in Utari village in Indonesia. In Utari, to celebrate the birth of a baby, a tree is planted. But the place has enormously high child mortality rate, due to which children are born but many of them die even before reaching the age of 5! Thus Utari has many trees but less living children.

The sad tale is most poignantly depicted in the video below that will surely touch your heart. If you have watched the video at the beginning of the post, watch it again. This would just ensure that you have joined hands with Lifebuoy to help children live.



Moved by the video? Here is how you can do your bit. 

1. Watch the video and make others watch it. 

2. Visit or better still, subscribe to Lifebuoy's Youtube Channel and see their efforts in action and their campaigns to save children. 

3. Share the video using the hashtag #helpachildreach5

4. Follow Lifebuoy on Twitter and LIKE them on Facebook

Note: The post is sponsored by Lifebuoy but the views are entirely my own. 
Read more...

Thursday, May 29, 2014

I Know Why The Caged Birds Sing. RIP Maya Angelou

A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer. A bird sings because it has a song. - Maya Angelou.


I had read Maya's articles in various newspapers and online sites and I always felt intrigued by her words. Then I googled her name one day and based on the recommendations, picked up 'I Know Why Caged Birds Sings' book to read.

I finished the thick, 300 page long book in three days! Such was the Maya effect.

I know why the caged birds sing is an auto-biography of Maya that tells the tale of her life from the age of four to seventeen. It is the most profound book of all the seven autobiographical books that Maya has written.



Actually named as Marguerite but nicknamed as Bailey, her older brother and best pal, Maya and Bailey are set out on a train at the age of four and eight respectively, to live with their grandmother (whom they call Momma) and uncle Willie.

During her stay with her Momma, Maya lives a comfortable life as her Momma is relatively wealthy but experiences racism continually. Starting from the school days to graduating ceremony where they are told that Blacks have lesser employment opportunities. As a kid, Maya has to visit a dentist to get a tooth treated that caused her excruciating pain but the dentist refuses to treat her. This happens despite the fact that Momma once had loaned some money to this dentist and he had not repaid it. Yet he refuses to lay his hands on 'dirty teeth of a Negro'.

As Maya and Bailey spend some good time at Stamps (thats where they live with their Momma), they are now taken by their rich father to be left with their mother in Missourie. Her mother gives Maya the ambitions and encouragement to pursue her studies and hobbies but here she is raped by her mother's boyfriend.

A court trial begins and Mr. Freeman (mother's boyfriend) is found guilty. He is then killed (probably by Maya's uncles).  The incident leaves Maya feeling guilty of a person's death and she begins to become reclusive. She almost stops talking but remains close to her brother Bailey.

Maya then comes back to Stamps and there she meets a lady who gives her the gift of books.

Maya discovers herself through the books and then goes on to write her own books that allow her readers to discover themselves. The book ends at the age of seventeen when Maya gives birth to her first son, after having a sexual relationship with a young teenage boy.

I Know Why The Caged Birds Sing is a story of a young girl trying to find her foot in the world. It covers all the experiences that we come across - discrimination, love, separation from parents, insurgency, love, exploitation and sex.

The book is written in a very simple, flowing language that it grasps you in such a way that once picked up, you won't put it down.

The writing is poignant, poetry like yet real. The pages smoothly take you through the years passing by as you try to live through the times, yourself.

Yesterday, Maya Angelou passed away. The world has lost a literary genius.

When it comes to writing about women and the atrocities they face from time to time, there are two authors that I salute - Maya Angelou and Toni Morrison.

I have already reviewed Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye, which is another masterpiece from a legendary author.

Maya's demise has left me in a state of brood. We all have some sour experiences in life. This is same for everyone. But some make a life out of them while some make a misery. Maya made a life, an enormous life. 

An accomplished author, a singer, a poet and a noted writer, Maya taught some important lessons to the world through her writings. Most important of them all is this one -


Doesn't matter if Maya belonged to a relatively wealthy family. She had gone through some of the life's most difficult situations and that could have marred her spirit. But it was her will that led her to succeed. Not just as a professional but also as a person.

About the book - If you want to read something that inspires you in the most subtle way, I Know Why The Caged Birds Sing is the book to be picked up. 

If you wish to purchase the book, please buy it from the link below. It would take you straight to the Flipkart and I would get a small token of your support. 
Read more...

Monday, May 26, 2014

Book Review and a Lesson For Life - Thirteen Reasons Why

How many times does it happen that you say something to somebody very casually and she takes a big offense? Or others blame you for their unhappiness no matter how small or irrelevant that sounds to you? 

I recently got very upset with my best friend and couldn't talk to her properly for months. She kept explaining that she didn't say it intentionally and that she didn't mean it the way I took her statements but nothing gave me respite. It was only after her apology that I calmed myself down and we are back to normalcy (that's the good thing about good friends, the friendship doesn't fade away with time). 


The book Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher is one such book that tells you how our lives are intwined with each other and how, unknowingly and unknowingly, we impact others' lives in more profound way than we can imagine. 


I ordered the book from Flipkart after having it recommended by a list compiled by a voracious reader online. I love reading memoirs and this one is a memoir too so I got onto reading it as soon as I got my hands on it. 

The book is about a fifteen year old young girl named Hannah Baker who commits suicide. Before killing herself, she leaves six cassette tapes in which she records her voice and explains the thirteen reasons why she committed suicide. She records the tapes, packs them in a box and gets them delivered to all the people who are responsible for her act. Each person who gets the tape has to pass them on to the next person in the list and the chain has to continue until all the names in the list of 'thirteen reasons' receive the tapes. 

We read the book in the words of Clay Jensen, a young boy who also receives the tapes from Hannah. He is not sure why he has received the tapes and listens to all of them to find out how and why he could be a reason for Hannah's death. 

Hannah explains all the thirteen reasons for her decision to end her life in the tapes and also talks about her agony and mental pain. 

The book takes us through the journey of a young girl in a new school and traverses across the various small yet murky incidents that take place in her life that can mar any young individual and particularly an adolescent woman. 

As we begin the book, the initial incidents do not seem to be so grueling only because we know such things happen everywhere. But as we progress further, we find out how every single incident during that time fueled Hannah's desperation to end her life. 

(Source: youtube.com)
The book does not involve any plot or murder scheme, instead it is he journey of a young girl in a new city, new school that bullies her from the day one. Typically, we expect a teenager book to delve into the topics of competitiveness, job placements, high scores and finding one's foot in the world but Thirteen Reasons Why looks at the smaller but most crucial aspects of life - friendship, trust and dignity. 

In the first few days of school, Hannah kisses a boy who later spreads the rumor that Hannah is easily available. Another boy then compiles a list of who's hot and who's not girls in the class and circulates it. He deliberately puts Hannah's name in the hot list and writes her best friend's name in the not list thus creating a rift between the two. 


Before killing herself, Hannah decides to seek help and anonymously drops a note about suicide for the prospective discussion in the class. The faculty and the students fail to actually help the note-writer and instead take it as a strategy to gain some attention which deeply affects Hannah. 

There are many more such incidents in the book that have prompted her to take such a drastic step. The narrator Clay is also on the list because he tried to help Hannah but he didn't try enough. 



The book is a compelling read. Once you turn over few pages, it becomes hard to put it down. You want to finish it soon to understand what really went inside Hannah's head. 

The language is simple and easy to understand. The narrative is impressive and grips you in way that as you read the book, you imagine Hannah's character and every person and place she mentions in the tape. 


Reading about a young teen's distressed state of mind and how several small incidents coupled together to bring her to the state of suicide. Along with this were few times when Hannah herself felt guilty of not being a good citizen, particularly when she meekly watched a drunk girl being raped and an accident claiming a life. 

The real change happens in Clay Jensen's life who is so moved by Hannah's story that in the end, he goes forward to say hello to a girl named Skye who has been developing suicidal tendencies just like Hannah. 

The way Hannah was able to change Clay's mind and heart after her death, the book also leaves profound effect on its readers. 

Poem by Jay Asher in Thirteen Reasons Why; source: Pinterest.com
After reading the book, I went into an introspection state where I looked back at my life and wondered how many times have I hurt others by saying or doing silly things. I also thought about other people who have deeply hurt me during school and college. There were students who made fun of me for silly reasons. The guy who once laughed at me when I couldn't pronounce a word right and the guy who compared my compared my complexion with a fair girl. There were girls who laughed at me (and other such girls) for no funny reasons. Thankfully I had many friends and a very supportive family, so I never thought about suicide. I was quite happy with life. 

But what if I didn't have good friends? What if I felt utterly alone when I was being laughed at? 

On the other hand, I also looked at the way when knowingly and unknowingly I also hurt others. I remembered how, when we were kids, I made fun of my sister once in front of my entire family and she cried a lot later. Now, as a grown up I feel ashamed of my act and can't even gather the courage to say sorry to her. 

The picture below tells how the author Jay Asher got the idea of the book. 




The book has reminded me to be a good human being and to just think before I speak. I would now take extra care and be more sympathetic towards other people.

Isn't it ironic that we need books to remind us that we shouldn't be rude to people and that we should practice kindness throughout plus we shouldn't ignore people for no reason? Sure, it is but as long as we learn to do better things, I am okay with wherever I learn from. 

I would highly recommend reading Thirteen Reasons Why. It is a must read. You might find it a little childish as it deals with high school students but if you go into a little depth, it does change your mind. It is a must read because it helps you to become a tad better human being. 

To purchase the book, click on the link below. It would take you straight to the Flipkart page.  The book is right now available at a small discount. 


Read more...