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Monday, 7 March 2016

Defiant Dreams

Title: Defiant Dreams
Author: Varied / Anthology / Editors: Rhiti Bose and Lopamudra Banerjee
Publisher: Readomania

When the book is titled Defiant Dreams, you just know that you're finding yourself in a world where there is something to be stood up to, to be stood up against, and to question. Defiant Dreams: Tales of Everyday Divas does that, and more. The anthology comprises twenty-four stories, putting together not just stories set in different contexts, but creating a tapestry of love and patience, courage and determination. Between the lines, arise the inherent strength of humanity, peppered with the resilience quintessential of a woman. Each story is a tribute to dreams that refuse to be crushed by the heel a range of social injustices.

Each tale makes a hero out of the ordinary. Mothers. Daughters. Wives. Brides to be. Women defy, question, shake up the norm, and rise. The shades are myriad: marrying a girl child off trumps educating her, a single woman is persecuted for her choices, a woman is viewed as chattel in the hands of her family, a woman fights violence, a woman fights deprivation. While these are by no means new terrain, it is the handling of each subject that makes all the difference. None of the authors' protagonists fall in line with being the "victim". In some of the stories, the gender quotient blends and structures the story into a story of a human - and these are the best of portrayals, for nothing is more powerful than the truth that women are human.

At the end of the day, Defiant Dreams leaves you with a powerful note. It is not who you are for someone else or what you are perceived to be by someone else who has only a window into your life that counts. It is who you choose to be. It is the questions you choose to answer, it is the way you choose to answer them. Life is in the choice of staying in the status quo, or shaking it up - and of bearing the consequences either way. In any of the 24 stories, you don't want to ask "WHY" the protagonists didn't do this or that earlier - you don't want to question their choices. The reason? The exemplary sense of conviction they exhibit in making and following through with those very choices.