Book review of I, The Salt Doll by Vandana Mishra
My experience with memoirs this year has been extremely satisfying. With each, I got to peek in the authors life but what’s worth mentioning is the way these have been presented and written. Starkly different and impressive. Vandana Mishra paints a picture of Bombay, one which I have never known, and the charm of reading something which you have never known and know it differently now is unsurpassed.
We meet people who are honest, warm, friendly with humanity ingrained in their characters. Where do we find such people now I wonder? The author traces her life from moving in the city first, her chawl life, struggles her mother took to raise the children up and her first step towards one thing she loved- theatre. Theatre is abundant in this memoir. My feeble knowledge of it didn’t allow me to rejoice it completely but for connoisseurs of theatre, this book is a keeper. The theatre sees her as the rising star, as an established actress stepping down for a better family life and a come back face in her later years.
Vandana Mishra’s writing is simple yet effective. The puns and satire she pulls over the songs made today, over the prices of groceries and nature of people in comparison to yester years is witty and remarkable. I found myself giving her the nod. Apart from the book being a sea of people, it is full of cult movie references and theatre life. I browsed through her life with ease observing the shifting paradigms of Bombay as a city. As the city is very close to my heart, I love whatever is offered to me bound in these pages. The translation from the original Marathi text has been done commendably by Jerry Pinto. The staple and traditional food, culture and typical Marathi household has been very well described, brought me happy nostalgia.
In here is a strong woman, will power cemented in her personality, plaintive and so it seems, with no lines of worry on her face, sailing through the ocean called life.