- Hardcover: 172 pages
- Publisher: Context (25 June 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9789387578487
- ISBN-13: 978-9387578487
- ASIN: 9387578488
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.5 x 21 cm
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #12,602 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Karno's Daughter Hardcover – 25 Jun 2018
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About the Author
Rimli Sengupta came to writing after a half-life in computer science academia. She has written two books in Bengali, E-janala (2009) and Rimil-36 (2011), and a work of translation from Bengali, Indonesia: Travels with Tagore (2017). Her short fiction has appeared in Civil Lines and the Indian Quarterly. This is her first book in English.
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5 customer reviews
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It's such a shame that not many know about this brilliant book. When I finished reading it, my heart felt full and I immediately wanted to tell the entire world about how stunning this book is. I felt equal amounts of pain and pleasure while reading about Buttermilk's hardships and her little victories. Buttermilk's story might be similar to that of thousands of maids in our country, with no proper amenities and services provided by the government. Their everyday struggle of scrubbing the grimy floors and standing in the long lines to fill water from the public pump, my heart goes to out to all such Buttermilks in this country.
Buttermilk has been Rimli's maid for the past eight years. She lives in a slum in the suburbs of Kolkata and covers six houses everyday. She awakes at 4AM and goes back home at 6PM, sometimes even late in the night. But Buttermilk doesn't complain about the work. She gets paid enough to look after her husband, son and her daughter-in-law. Buttermilk is from a small village, few miles away from Kolkata and very often she travels to take care of her paddy fields in the village. She resolved a familial dispute about the land by standing firm against the goons, hired workers to help her grow paddy and harvest the grains. All this without skipping her work in the city.
What makes Buttermilk special, you ask? Her sheer will to get things done inspite of boulder like obstacles. Having been married to a man who is slow in thinking, Buttermilk immediately took reigns of the house and managed it. Her three children, two daughters who are married to good men and a drug addict son, were looked after by Buttermilk as she struggled to give them good lives. As she talks about her journey to the City, she recalls the moments that she had with her father, Karno. The father whom she loved dearly and whose death still tears her up. The life of Buttermilk is far from simple because she played the roles of both man and woman of the house.
What might seem simple to us takes five times the effort for people like her to get it done. Do you know that the Aadhaar card for example cannot scan all the fingers of maids? Their hands are so calloused due to the scrubbing and washing that they do that their fingerprints are no longer clean. This is not just her story. This is the plight of thousands of other women who leave their houses before dawn and return with a deep ache in their bones.
Along with her life in the City, Buttermilk explains in detail about the rice that she grows. It's informative and interesting to know what goes into making our staple food. She talks about floods and draught, the money and food that she lost. Her tears flow freely as she recounts her experience about the lost harvest. It's hard to be Buttermilk and not everyone can pick themselves up and keep walking. But there are women like her who do not give up. A must read.
Rating - 5/5.
The sub title of the book “The lives of an Indian Maid” is so appropriate as you can see through the multiple stages of her lives and she truly does live so many lives and so incredibly!
A daughter, a wife, a mother and a working woman indeed💪🏻
This is more than just a book.. It’s a tribute to our Indian maids.
I absolutely love reading non fiction and when it’s beautifully written and impactful like this, it gives me nothing but pleasure to pass on the recommendation here❤️
Highly recommend this one!