If you’ve explored this blog beyond the rather more obvious cinema-related content, you’d probably know that I am also a writer of short stories and novels. Most people who’ve read my books so far know me as the creator of the 17th century Mughal detective Muzaffar Jang. Some may also have read my collection of black humour short stories, My Lawfully Wedded Husband.
It’s time, therefore, to announce that there’s another side to Madhulika Liddle too: a rather more sombre side, a side that writes something beyond genre fiction.
My latest book, Woman to Woman: Stories is a collection of short stories, all of which are women-centric. Different types of women. Women who are lonely and aching for company. Women who give of all they have, of all that really matters: empathy and understanding. Women who are obsessed with jewellery, women who battle everything from domineering husbands to terrorism.
The first person to buy this book and begin reading it asked me in a mail (she’d only read the first three stories in the collection by then), “Are all the stories this disturbing?”
No, I replied. Yes, some are grim, because in a society that is inherently patriarchal and treats women as second class citizens—if that—there are bound to be issues that would be highlighted in stories that centre round women. Rape. Bride trafficking. The easy deciding of a girl’s life, her body, her very existence, without the girl herself having any say in the matter. Oppression, even when it is disguised as fatherly or brotherly or husbandly concern.
But that isn’t all, because not all women are just victims. There are some who rise above themselves and above their own circumstances to be a guiding light and a shoulder to cry on for others. There are those who show pure and not-so-simple courage in the face of death itself. There are those who, having been felled and trampled into the earth, get back on their feet and make a life for themselves.
Woman to Woman: Stories brings together twelve stories about women of different sorts. Women I have known, women who are me in some way or the other.
Please buy, gift to a friend, read. The book is available in paperback form as well as a Kindle edition. You can buy it on these sites (the links below lead directly to the book page):
And yes, please do spread the word! Tell your friends and relatives, post a review on Amazon or Goodreads (or both, if you would be so kind). Tell me what you think.