A chronicle of the lives of five generations of women in the author's family, this fascinating story spans over 100 years in its narrative sweep, from the late 19th century to the early years of the 21st. It mirrors and critiques the progress of a nation, its society and its women, seamlessly blending biography with social history.
Sundar-ma, Bharati Ray's great-grandmother, was married into a conservative household at 12. Self-educated, because formal education was out of her reach, she was an intelligent, deeply thoughtful woman who witnessed some of the most tumultuous times in India s history and actively participated in India's freedom struggle. Ushabala, the author's grandmother, was the proud wife of a college lecturer and a consummate home-maker, while Kalyani, Bharati Ray's Ma, was the first woman in the family to get a college degree, but gave up her studies and a career to raise her children. Ma is lovingly described as feisty and irrepressible, a keen traveler and always ready for adventure. Kalyani's academic successes heralded the author's own remarkable achievements, first as lecturer in Calcutta University, then as its first woman pro-vice-chancellor and later as a Member of Parliament in the Rajya Sabha. Bharati Ray's daughters, Khuku and Tista, both extremely bright, lead busy, fulfilling lives as academics. Translated from the Bengali best seller Ekaal Sekaal, this is a candid, personal and immensely readable account of five generations of remarkable women.