Author – Ratna Vira
A seemingly innocent remark over an innocuous cup of tea. Aranya discovers that her family has been fighting a decade-long legal battle over her grandfather’s expansive estate, all the while not only keeping her in the dark, but also keeping her very existence out of the court’s knowledge!
A cesspool of emotions, half-truths, betrayals, and the unspooling of long buried dirty family secrets threaten to overpower Aranya and disrupt what modicum of peace and balance she has in her life as a single mother of two children. At the centre of this storm is the one woman who, ever since the day Aranya was born, has had nothing but curses and abuses for her; who has deliberately kept her name out of the court; who has wished her dead for every day of her life; who refuses to now remember her birth. The woman who is her mother. Her own mother.
This is the story of a woman fighting against power, money, deceit, and treachery for her right to be recognised as a daughter.
A daughter by court order . . .
My thoughts –
When Fingerprint Publishing contacted me for the book review, I instantly said yes. The blurb of the book sounded different and interesting to me. Like never before, the book talked about the lesser seen side of a mother-daughter relationship, a bond that is assumed to be the strongest and unbreakable.
The story is about Aranya, born in a very well-to-do and influential family in Delhi, India. She had been cursed and abused from the very 1st day of her birth by her own mother. After a failed marriage, bringing up her two kids and with a housing loan looming over her head, Aranya had never lived an easy life. The flashbacks about her childhood, when her mother beat up her ruthlessly for no fault of hers or abusing her verbally or showing her down even when she excelled in academics, was a very painful read. Her only comfort in this difficult and painful childhood was her Dadaji (paternal grandfather), Choti Phua (paternal aunt) and Nani (maternal grandma). These were the only people who really cared about her and her well-being. Then there was Yudi Mama (her maternal uncle) who she thought loved her; but the truth, she found later, was very much different.
“You can’t stop the future,
You can’t rewind the past,
The only way to learn the secret
…….is to press PLAY” ~Page-353
Inspite of all odds, Aranya was a fighter, juggling efficiently single parenthood of 2 children, a mortgage and a successful career. But one day, everything crashes down around her when she comes to know that her mother had left her out of the family tree and thus giving her no share to her Dadaji’s property. In her grandfathers will, every person, including the ladies of the family were benefactors. For Aranya, more than the property share, it was a question of her existence, her self-esteem, her identity. And so she decided to fight – against her own parents and family. She went to the court and proved to them that she is indeed their daughter, a scion of the Dhari family and they cannot deny of her rights. And the court order established this truth.
The whole process of fighting and establishing herself as a Dhari daughter was an emotional roller coaster ride. Aranya re-discovered herself in the whole process and with the support and love of her two children, her ex-husband (who is now a good friend), an efficient legal team and above all, truth on her side, she opened the doors to her victory.
The book was a very different kind of an experience for me. When I first read about the book, I was shocked. I mean, which mother can hate the sight of her child, she did not even want her pre-maturely born daughter to recover and wanted her to move out of the incubator. 😦
In the book, the author has taken the liberty to slowly develop each character and by the end of the book I felt I knew each of them so well. Coming from a debut author, this was a great read. The quotes at the beginning of each chapter was nice too. The uncommon plot, along with a good narration, does keep the reader hooked but at certain points, I felt the author could have done away with a few paragraphs here and there. That was the only downside for me with this book.
Final Words –
The book has a plot like never before, with nicely crafted characters. I would recommend it for a unique story-reading experience. 🙂
Know more about the book here – http://www.daughterbycourtorder.com/book/book.html
- The book was sent tome by the Fingerprint Publishing and my opinions are honest & unbiased.
- This review is linked to my Indian Quills Challenge 2014 target (read about the challenge here)