For actor-filmmaker Nandita Das, being a mother has completely transformed life. So has it for 21 leading writers of the country who look beyond cliches to reveal the mysterious, hilarious and creative state of motherhood in all its complexity, in a new book.
‘Understanding the world of children has made me understand my instincts... understand the human instinct, because children are so full of innocence. All the negative and positive things done by children are all innocent’, said Nandita, after launching the book titled Of Mothers and Others.
‘I would have written about this journey which is so full of many different contradictory emotions and experiences of motherhood. Anything that I see or write or think about has a different angle and it is surely going to impact my son,’ said Nandita.
The actor-director who also served as the Chairperson of Children’s films society for three years said her interactions with filmmakers and children made her understand the human instinct. ‘I have seem a film on death made by some children. Adults would never have thought about it,’ said the actor.
The anthology of essays, poems and short fiction edited by Jaishree Misra is a collaborative venture between the NGO Save the Children and publishing house Zubaan. It has a foreword by actor Shabana Azmi.
Jaishree said she began on the idea of the book a little over a year ago.
‘It started with an event organised by Save the Children where I found myself promising to edit a book that would highlight the problems some women face in caring for their children. In India we lose children in 19 seconds to easily preventable diseases and it seemed worth trying to help the organisation employ more health workers to assist struggling families,’ said Jaishree.
UN statistics indicate that in India, a woman dies in childbirth every 10 minutes. ‘We have the highest rate of child malnutrition among all middle-income countries and the second highest rate in the entire world. A tenth of women in the country are undernourished themselves, and this is being passed on to their newborns from the womb as they start to develop,’ she said.
Smrithi Lamech, writes about different perceptions of society towards the girl and boy child in her essay Determination. Smrithi’s unexpected take on sex determination is thrown into sharp relief when read alongside Kishwar Desai’s story The Devi Makers.
Another author Shalini Sinha writes about the life of her mother initially in life and after her death. Likewise other authors jot their own experiences in their writings. Jai Arjun Singh, the lone male writer in the anthology feels that his mother was a positive influence his life. He has written about the representation of mothers in mainstream Indian cinema.
Umra Qureshi writer and jounalist has penned the problems faced by women of Kashmir.
The book includes stories and essays of other writers who has shared their experiences on their mothers.