By Shivika Nanda
Don’t be shocked by the title when you first see it. This book is meant for all of us because everyone who reads will find a ‘misbehaving woman’ who they can relate to, who they love and adore for being an unapologetic being. This book is a collection of ten short stories where each of them paints a very diverse and vivid picture. Each of the landscapes revolves around a central character ‘women’ who are facing their own unique challenges in their domestic situations. The book has a universal appeal to it. Anyone and everyone who reads this will undoubtedly relate to its depths.
These stories are intriguing, engrossing, soothing, calm yet angering, infuriating and baffling at the same time. My favourite one was that of ‘Bihu, a ten-year-old married girl’ who broke the rules and sneaked into her husband’s library just so she could read every night. As much as the concept of child marriage stirs up the anger from within, towards the end it warms the heart with sweet emotions when the husband gifts her book and supports her tiny little dreams.
‘Women who misbehave’ leaves a trail of moving and poignant characters who are drawn from different women. From the 1800s to contemporary times, from rural Bengal to urban states, these women are from different geographies, different mindsets, different backgrounds and different ages trying to break free from the shackles of pre-formed illusions of a perfect woman where society tries to put them in a box, expects them to behave in a certain manner and a particular code of conduct.
Sayantani DasGupta has done a brilliant job by pouring her soul out and writing this heartfelt honest text in the history of Indian fiction. The way her creative and experienced way of writing has come into play is worth applause. The persuasive power of the author’s pen really brings out the human in you and makes you agree to the intricate depths of reality of the place of a woman in our society.
The arch of development of every character is paved with raw human emotions. One really tends to grow with the author’s characters. These short stories will have you hooked till the end. Her etched and ingrained characters, intricately detailed ambience and brilliant narration will make you feel as if you are sitting in the very room and in that very house.
The stories are neat, simple and not too extravagant. The book makes you feel like you are on a journey through various women’s lives. The author has written a gripping book where each tale tells a story of rebellion and dilemma that takes place in a woman’s heart. I highly recommend this book because this book deserves to be read widely, as widely as possible.