A few months back, I and a friend of mine had started reading women centric biographies. I have read Not without my Daughter, The Princess and My Feudal Lord. I was hunting for the second book in the Princess's trilogy by Jean Sassoon since a long time. Finally I found and grabbed The Daughters of Arabia in Crossword yesterday!
This makes me think - Why do I like to read women-centric stories?
The roots lie in my upbringing and my childhood. Ever since I remember, I was always getting into trouble with my elders, my teachers in schools, my peers sometimes on my opinions about the gender equality or inequality as I must say. I still remember having major fights with my Marathi teacher in school about the conventional roles women, girls are supposed to play in our society. I never believed in conventions much (something that has been passed on by hereditary by my grandmother, Inni) and still do not. That could be a dangerous thing as I was always considered a rebel and trust me, that is not something I am. I don’t rebel out; I just do not do things that I do not believe in.
When I read Tehmina Khar-Durrani’s My Feudal Lord (which I finished in one night, just fyi J) I literally thanked God for giving me a sane, kind and a loving life partner. I do not know what I would have done in a situation where your partner is abusive, self-destructive and who destroys you slowly and steadily.
So, back to the Daughters of Arabia book; this is a sequel to the Princess book by Jean Sassoon. There is a princess belonging to the Royal family in Saudi Arabia. This story is the journey of a young girl through adolescence, womanhood to her own role as a mother of teenage son and daughters. In two books, we come to know the history, geography of Saudi Arabia as well as the psychology of common men and men belonging to the royal family. It talks of the subservient status of girls in their country. As much as it is scary to even read the atrocities and dominance men have over the women, it is an eye-opener for girls like me and I am sure it makes me appreciate living in a country where I can be free, independent and do whatever I choose.Needless to say, I completed the book in two days. It is a compelling story that is well written and illustrative. The pictures painted in the book appear in front of me in a very lively manner. I recommend the book to everyone who wants to know how women are still treated in other countries. It is also a good read to understand how women are trying to raise against the secondary treatment they get!