Written by one who studied in a convent school and joined the civil service before chucking it all up to devote time to writing, this interesting book marks the beginning of the author's?inner life?.
This is the story of young Amrita who over the years gets used to her parents? bickering, with each pulling her in opposite directions. Her mother wants her to learn to sew, embroider, to cook as Amrita is 12-year old while her father tells her that cooking, sewing, growing long hair, are not for her and ?what next? Can'tyou see you?ve to study hard and not get distracted by such foolish things?? He wants to bring her up his way and ?never mind what your mother did at your age. Remember you?re Daddy'sgirl and I want you to study and become a doctor.? He never fails to drive the moral home, ?I don'twant you to be someone who?ll run around at her husband'sback and call, that'swhat. Running around, wagging your tail, waiting for the crumbs to fall from his table – never do that. Never stoop so low. Whatever you may turn out to be, never be your husband'sdog!?
Amrita turns out to be a rebel in school and indulges in repeated transgressions – ?banging things, back chatting, stamping her feet, arguing, muttering to herself and on one shameful occasion trying to hit Daddy.? As drilled into her mind by the school nuns, Amrita secretly worries about her soul which is stained ?enough to send her to hell if she dies in the night. Had she been a Catholic, she could?ve sent her soul to weekly confessions, like to the dhobi.?
The writer has a tongue-in-the-cheek style of writing when she describes the school priest, Father Tomas with a paunch and half moons of sweat under his armpits, extracting all kinds of confessions from the girl students and making Amrita wonder where the young and handsome priests are sent. Her friend Rita tells her that they are never sent to a girls? school. So Amrita asks, ?Where?re the young and handsome ones sent??
Her friend replies, ?To the lepers.?
One day Amrita and her friend escape from school to watch a movie. They are caught red-handed and taken to Reverend Mother who punishes her by telling her to admit her wrong to her father. When Amrita tells her father about her action, his only remark is that she should not get expelled from school.
Amrita on her return home for holidays discovers that her mother has gone to Uncle Binod'shouse. To find out the reason for her mother'saction, Amrita rushes to Uncle Binod'shouse and overhears her mother telling him about her unhappy married life and adding that the only redeeming part in her marriage was Amrita. Uncle Binod says, ?Yes, someone adopted. Not even your own!?
The book takes a number of surprising yet touching twists and turns to catch the reader unawares.
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