Book Review Treat: A mystical majesty, The Woman


A girl’s life isn’t easy. But it definitely is interesting. Just because a woman has to face too many hardships in life doesn’t mean that she is doomed and she cannot be an inspiration to others. Or her life becomes any less meaningful. Rather, it’s her challenges and the grit and determination with which she faces them or raises her voice against them, is what determines her true power. A woman isn’t weak. She’s actually stronger than you think.

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Based on this theme, Ruchika Rastogi comes with a delightful story of a girl who braves it all yet manages to maintain her delicate, lotus like heart. The book “A Mystical Majesty: The Woman” is like interconnected essays forming a theme. The book is divided into various units which follow the journey of a girl through the various stages and the myriad challenges she faces at each step and how she manages the walk with grace and dignity so she doesn’t lose her footing.  Interspersed, there are beautiful sketched pictures of a girl through those different stages reflecting her dreams, passions, vision, personality, character, desire, ambition, setbacks- all in her eyes, smile, body and poise. These images help us understand the concept of the following Unit {as the essays are divided into Units yet all the Essays follow into a common theme and story} and helps us view the woman/girl as a human- someone more than her body, someone more than a corpse. A human with emotions and dreams, just like any other- something that the society conveniently forgets at many occasions. The poems at the end of each chapter beautifully summarizes the essence of the chapter.

The book starts with a Speech of Kiran Bedi which she gave at Pondicherry Engineering College on being a woman and balancing parenting with work. Kiran Bedi is just what many of the Indian women would aspire to be: a strong career woman, a fiery social activist, outspoken and champion for human rights, and with that all a good mother and wife. She shows that a woman is so much more than a doll in a kitchen. She can make so much more impact in the society if only her worth is recognized and encouraged.

A girl’s life starts with the freshness and wonder as that of a dew on a lotus: eagerness and lots of hope for the new world. She is cheerful, bubbly, full of motivation to do something. Something big.

Then the stage comes when people like to capture that jubilance, that airy freshness for their own desires. A man has to have the prettiest girl. Or a very multi-talented girl. Or an artistic girl. Whatever it be, he needs to have the best of the best. Though the girl is happy and herself full of hopes, little does she realize that the bird is entering her own cage. Her days of dreamy flight are over.

Motherhood is an exhilarating time. Even though we imagine it to be full of beauties, it is infact filled with a lot of mixed emotions. Apprehensions, fear, anxiety on one hand. Joy, excitement, hope, positivity on the other. Going through such range of emotions at your must vulnerable yet powerful time is in itself is a challenge. Carrying a child in your womb for 9 months isn’t the only one we get to know!

The following units and chapters focus on evolving relation between the mother and child. From a stage where mum is the child’s superhero to the stage where differences creep in and your mum is not ‘right’ all the time anymore, the myriad emotions a woman faces concerning her child is complex and delicate. Also then there are the challenges of a working mother. How does a woman balance her own identity and her identity as someone’s mother at the same time gracefully. Challenges and unnecessary politics don’t taint the pristine heart of a woman as her strong goals preserve her determination. Why do the men forget the woman who is their colleague/ subordinate is someone’s mother just like they have their own mothers. Would you met out to someone that which you won’t wish upon yourself?

Then comes the sacred crone stage of the woman when all that which made up major part of her identity is slowly falling out from her life like sands amidst the fingers. Her kids have grown up and they’ve made up their own careers. Now is the time the young birds fly away/ enter a new cage as they accept a new life for themselves. The mother as a nurturer and protector isn’t needed anymore as the kids are on their own now. Yet, this is a golden time for her to re-discover and re-build herself, as a new person.

The joys in her life is once again filled with the coming of her grandchildren. What she saw in her kids years back, she can relive once again in her grandchildren. Until, they are old enough to rely on their own parents. And once again the woman faces the new challenge of finding her true self away from the needs of family once again. She is reminded to find her role beyond that of a nurturer.

Supermen are only in movies. But superwomen are all around, in real life! A superwoman is hiding within each girl and perhaps she realizes it only when she has lived life full circle.

The writing style of author is easy to read and relatable. The story is in general essay form, though each essay is intertwined, leading to the main theme. However, it would have been better if the author could have written these as fiction, with stages from a girl’s life illustrated through relatable situations. The book has a lovely theme but this story is only a one time read. A metro read to be exact! The poems at the end of the essay, and sketches at beginning of the essay are wonderful add-ons. However, the Units could have been named as “Stages” since this Unit system gives this book a very kiddish structure, looking more like a textbook than s novel. I would say this book is a decent attempt by the author but considering the author’s background as PG in English and her experience with differently abled people, the bar of expectations is definitely raised high.

© 2016 Mind Pickles


Book Name: A Mystical Majesty: The Woman
Author Name: Ruchika Rastogi

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