A Calendar Too Crowded : Book Review

Not all books (fiction or non-fiction) necessarily come with a moral. It's up to the readers to decipher what lies beneath. I read A Calendar Too Crowded by Sagarika Chakraborty a couple of weeks back and I feel that I am still carrying the stories in my heart.  And mind you, this is no mean feat for a fastidious reviewer like me.

The tone of A Calendar Too Crowded is not feminist at all; it has to do with being treated as human (irrespective of gender). The stories do not cry out hoarse to treat women equally; it rather puts forth the reality and leaves the rest to the reader. In the course of the stories being told, the reader is posed basic questions like, "Why is it such a curse being born a girl?" or "When will we stop treating women as mere objects?”

The names in the book don't really matter but the voice is so persistent and pertinent, that one can't ignore the seriousness of the issue that most of us brush under the carpet and choose to ignore.

Whether it is the girl child, flesh trade, harassment at work, or inhuman treatment meted out to women, the book covers the entire gamut of the decay that our society is suffering from when it comes to women.

The book I'm sure was written after in depth research and analysis as the content is far cry from being pedestrian. It depicts the various shades of being a woman through various phases in her life. The statistics don't help much as the stories without any numbers are poignant enough to move any stoic heart. The attention to detail is clinical which is sometimes unnerving. It is so easy for books like these to become preachy.

I like the way the book has been laid out; 12 chapters for the 12 months in a year. The chronological events from the birth of a girl leading up to the grave (or beyond) make one think deeply, the difference between just existing and living with dignity.

Society is our creation and so is our culture. How else do we explain the deviation from what was written in the Vedas (where women enjoyed equal rights) to where we are now? I feel that books like these may at least bring back those times but that is something that I don't feel will happen during my lifetime.

Maybe, we will figure out a way to tackle the menace which our self-created society is comfortably ensconced in. Till then give a pat on your back Sagarika! A job well done!

Disclosure: I was approached by a PR firm to review this book.

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