This is the story of an “ordinary” maid who calls herself Baby Halder. She doesn’t know her birthday, was abandoned by her mother at age 4, got married to a man twice her age at 13, became a mother at age 14 and lived thru her husband abusing her (he split her head open with a rock after he sees her talking to another man). She also lived thru her elder sister being beaten and strangled to death by her own husband (she was conveyed this news by her nephew who saw this with his eyes)
“Many girls back home go through a similar life and yet nobody looks at it as anything different,” says Baby Halder of her success.
Baby Halder started writing her book in her servant quarters at nite after her tasks were done and her children were in bed. Her employer Prabodh Kumar translated her memoirs, “Aalo Aandhari” into Hindi and got it published by a Kolkata-based publisher in 2002.
In 2004 came her Bengali original by the same publisher. A year after, a Malayalam translation appeared and this past week came its English translation. There are also plans to translate it into Japanese.
Despite her book’s success, Ms. Halder says she has no plans to change careers. She is writing her second book, continuing the narrative of her life, in between domestic chores.
“I want to be a writer and I will continue to write,” she said. But for now, she said, she cannot abandon Mr. Kumar, “so I will go on working here.”
Amazing woman – This is definitely one book that I plan on buying and reading !