Friday, 25 May 2012

A calendar too crowded

First of all…
I was gifted with an opportunity to come across an interestingly titled book – A calendar too crowded by Sagarika Chakraborty . My curiosity heightened as I read the synopsis.   I came to know that it talks about the topic of all time – women and the problems faced by them! The World talks about the women power and their constructive role in building a healthy tomorrow. But, are women given with equal rights? Are they enjoying all the privileges that are enjoyed by men?

Book Blurb…
A Calendar Too Crowded is a collection of poignant stories and poems woven around the theme of womanhood. What makes this work of fiction different from other books that highlight the plight of women is the unique approach.
There are quite a few days on the calendar that are devoted to women. The aim of remembering such days is simple enough; they serve the purpose of spreading awareness thereby attempting to protect the rights of women. Some of these marked days in the calendar have been imaginatively used as a starting point for the stories and poems in this book. So while the theme of a story under the month of January is inspired by national Day for the Girl Child in India (24 January) another story under the month of November takes up Elimination of Violence Against Women Day (25 November) as its focal point.
The intent, however, is to probe further and discover the ugly truth of women’s continuing subjugation. Some stories and poems explore the reality underlying popular misconceptions and misleading statistics that sometimes paint a rosy picture of women’s emancipation and liberation. Others use simple and undeniable facts to hold up to scrutiny many of the fallacies used against women in society.

Author Bio – Sagarika Chakraborty
Sagarika Chakraborty, born in Kolkata, studied law at National Law University, Jodhpur and management at Indian School of Business, Hyderabad.
 Her projects and numerous articles on diverse subjects—corporate governance principles with special emphasis on emerging and transition economies, globalization, ethics, monetary economics, religion—have been published in Indian and international publications. She has presented papers on E-Governance, corporate law principles, sexual harassment, asset pricing models at international conferences and global forums in Sydney, Glasgow, Korea, Wellington and Washington D.C. Her paper on E-Governance in India, has been appreciated in the ‘Working Paper series’ of the World Bank and she has also won the ‘Best Economic Crisis—Paper Award’ at the World Summit on Economic Financial Crisis and International Business, 2009, held at Washington D.C. Looking into her contribution in the domain of policy work she was recently awarded Fellowship by the Royal Society of Arts, UK.
 Apart from delving into serious research work, she has also written light fiction/poetry for various online and print media, and juggles her love for writing and travel with a full time job. She blogs at

And here I am…
Feeling enthralled that I could fix an interview with the author. Read on…
And hey… Don’t forget to grab a copy!!

v  Tell me about yourself
I am a lawyer, a marketing professional, a policy researcher, a citizen journalist, a writer, a thinker, a cooking enthusiast, a dancer, a lover, a daughter, a sister, a friend to a few but above it all I am a human who cares to bother what goes on around us.
My education is as varied as my zest for life. After pursuing science in school it was National Law University, Jodhpur I chose and then after a few years of legal profession, ISB Hyderabad that beckoned. I love to do a varied number of things and work as if there is no tomorrow. In fact, I live life as if there’s no tomorrow. I strongly feel that life is too short and there are too many things to do. I have just started with my dream run – to make a difference to the society.
v   What inspired you to come up with such an unusual concept?
My grandmother taught me that no matter where you go and what you do, never forget the society that groomed you to be what you are! The same society around me inspired me to write A Calendar Too Crowded. There are ills that mar the society and then there are us who just click tongues and discuss the wrong doings over a cup of tea.
I always believe that if there’s something that is bothering me about my society I should raise a voice and take a step. We can’t clean the world if the home is a dump ground right? So I decided to take this step with the most powerful tool ever – the pen!
v  Your take on female foeticide.

The power of procreation is the most wonderful of all blessings that have been bestowed on us. Yes, there are times when the boon seems like a bane and I do not think that going under the knife then is wrong – the right to life should be a healthy one! However, selective determination of sex goes beyond me and I think those who indulge in it are worse than even those creations of nature that are designed to eat up their off springs for survival.
During my research on the book I have met many a woman who has told me that they went ahead with female foeticide to save their girl child from a life of misery. Worse is that their mothers-in-law brainwashed them. Somewhere my own gender has let me down – instead of standing up it is decided to take the easy way out.
To all those women out there – if your mother too thought like that you wouldn’t today be living this gift called life, think about that!
v  Do you think women empowerment and equal rights for women will remain a hot topic of debate, and never a reality?

It is we who debate on it right and ironically it is us who shall make it a reality. The question thus lies whether we shall ever cross the line of debate, get up and decide it is high time we make it a reality. What good is a debate on equality at work if you resort to gossip about a female colleague who smokes or wears a short skirt and thus is presumed to be easy?
Till the time we decide it is enough – that we have spoken all that we need to and it is time for action, sadly a few like me will lose their voice while many others will just scream over a round of drinks!
v  Being a woman yourself, Tell us about one lady who never fails to inspire you.

My grandmother – no two ways about that! She’s the one who taught me that merely being literate is not enough one needs to know what goes on in the world and act on it to be educated. She taught me to think about others just the way I think about myself and that the mind and the pen are the best gifts ever that one can receive.
She taught me to think, to write, to never be scared of standing up for the right thing and yes that material gain can never give you satisfaction. True smile comes after a hard day of toiling where you have strived to make a difference to a life and thus can sleep with a smile on your face.

v  As a reader, What can we expect from the book?
Do not expect it to be a light read which you can finish off during a train/ flight journey. You need to read the stories over a long period of time because each story will make you question and think. Questions which the press has already asked you over and again but this time you will be asking them to yourself in your own voice.
It is not a feminist book however, the voices are all feminine. Women are not glorified – but presented with shades of grey. There are no names, because I want my readers to associate the voices in the book with a face they have encountered in their life.
The book is all about the days that the calendar marks as important for women however they just remain days of celebration and a one-time affair. The rest of the days are still drudgery with no remembrance of the face that the same man/woman who tortured the woman in their house wished them a Happy Mother’s Day or a Happy Women’s Day just the day before. Irony – that is what mainly a reader would discover.

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