The bond shared by a mother and a child is special and inexplicable. Often, habits, private nicknames and idiosyncracies contribute in making it beautiful. It goes without saying that you learn from your mother in more ways than one and nothing you do can ever add up to her efforts toward making your world a safer, better and happier place. But you can always pamper her in ways only you can think of or, even better, if she is a bibliophile, leave her alone for a while with a new book in hand to enjoy during those solitary, summer afternoons.
Ahead of Mother’s Day. indianexpress,com approached a few prominent authors and asked them to share their list of must-read books that they would recommend to their mothers. The first in our series was Anuja Chauhan, author of The Zoya Factor. The second is Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar, author of The Adivasi Will Not Dance.
“The books which I remember from my childhood were all bought by her,” says Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar, award winning author of the novel The Adivasi Will Not Dance. His mother, Bimala Hansda, a doctor at Moubhandar Works Hospital, Ghatsila. was the sole bread earner of the family on certain occasions and Shekhar recollects mostly living in houses that were allocated to her.
Even after all these years, the 35-year-old author unabashedly confesses being completely reliant on her. “I am totally dependent on my mother. Have always been,” he says and reminisces how she was the first woman to ride a scooter in their hometown Moubhandar way back in the 1980s. “She used to take me to school and bring me home on her scooter,” he recollects. Shekhar makes no bones in admitting that he is indebted to his mother for a lot of things. “My mother has fought for me and has really put up with a lot of my nonsense,” he says.
Amidst banter and reassurances, it is also a deeply private relationship wrapped in shared secrets and anecdotes. Shekhar acknowledges there are far too many things he has imbibed from his mother but they are too personal to be shared. One, however, he discloses without any hesitance. “I share her love for reading,” he says.
Ahead of Mother’s Day, Shekhar spoke to indianexpress.com and listed out five books he will recommend to his mother.
The Half Mother by Shahnaz Bashir
The Half Mother is set in Kashmir and tells the story of Haleema whose teenage son, Imran, is picked up by the security forces one day. Imran is never found. Haleema goes from pillar to post seeking information about her son, but no one is able to tell her anything about Imran’s whereabouts. Worse, she does not even know if Imran is alive or dead. In Kashmir, there is a concept of half widows. These are the women whose husbands have been taken away by the Indian Army and their whereabouts are not known, whether they are alive or dead that too is not known. So these women, holding on to the hope that their husbands are alive and would return, become half widows. Haleema, in The Half Mother, holding on to the hope that her son would return, becomes a half mother. I choose this book because it is about a mother who will not lose hope.
Son of the Thundercloud by Easterine Kire
Mesanuo has a son, Rhalie. Rhalie is a brave young man who kills the spirit tiger that had been tormenting their village. The villagers celebrate Rhalie. But an envious man from the same village cannot accept the fact that Rhalie is being looked upon as a hero, so he gets Rhalie killed. When Mesanuo comes to know of it, she demands that her son’s dead body be kept outside her house so that the entire village could see her sorrow, a mother’s sorrow. I choose this book because it is about a mother who has been let down by the society.
Room by Emma Donoghue
All Jack has seen in his five-year-old life is the small room in which he lives with Ma, his mother. That is Jack’s home. What Jack does not know is that Ma had a home outside that room and that she had been abducted by a man, kept confined in that room for seven years and raped, and that Jack had been born out of that rape. Now that Jack was born, both Ma and Jack remain confined, but Ma won’t let Jack spend the rest of his life in captivity. She waits for Jack to grow old enough, tells him their story, trains him to escape, and, at the right time and playing a trick on their captor, lets Jack out of the room. Jack tells the people outside about the room and that is how Ma is rescued and their captor punished. I choose this book because it is about a mother’s perseverance.
The Small Town Sea by Anees Salim
This novel is basically about an author, Vappa, who is about to die, and his son, the narrator of this novel. But Umma, Vappa’s wife and the narrator’s mother, too has an important role to play in it. After her husband’s death, Umma chooses to marry a second time so that her second child, Little, could be looked after well. I choose this book because the son in this story, after the death of his father, automatically gains a sense of responsibility and becomes a guardian of his family just like his mother and father.
We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo
Darling lives in a shantytown named Paradise in Zimbabwe. She grows up amidst poverty and violence. In her teens, she migrates to the USA. The highlight, for me, of this novel are two chapters: Chapter 12, in which Darling slaps an unruly child, and Chapter 16, in which an elderly Zimbabwean living in the USA, with no hope of returning to Zimbabwe, speaks about how they are completely cut off from their motherland where their umbilical cords have been buried in the earth and how they give their children not Zimbabwean names but American names as the Zimbabwean names just won’t make any sense to them. I choose this book because it is about one’s motherland that one won’t be able to see again.