Book Review: Mom in the City

Book: Mom in the City
Author: Kausalya Saptharishi
Number of pages: 335
Price: Rs. 250

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Mom in the City by Kausalya Saptharishi. It’s poignant, humorous and endearing, all at once. Ira, a single working mother, recently returned from the US to Delhi, enrolls her son Abhi in a posh playschool. What follows is a light-hearted, honest and engaging tale of mommyhood and its travails in contemporary Delhi.

It turns out that the school is more challenging for Ira, than for Abhi. The other mothers there are everything she is not – with carefully put together designer outfits, sipping coffee at trendy joints, lavish birthday parties, holidays in exotic locales, all carefully crafted to portray a happy, cozy married life.

Under all this peer pressure, in her eagerness to get friendly with these mothers; Ira lets a lie slip past her own lips. That she is happily married, and the husband is travelling. As it usually happens, this small piece of information returns to haunt her, until she is finally able to come clean to her so-called “friends” with the truth.

Mom in the City is that journey from the lie to the truth. It’s about a woman, a mother, coming to terms with a divorce and moving ahead, without the associated feelings of guilt, rejection and self-doubt. All this while, while juggling work from home and being the rock for her son, and his sole guardian.

Priya, Ira’s best fried, is the friend that we all want to have. Always calm and put together, she usually has an answer for all of Ira’s doubts and misgivings. She is the agony aunt, the shopping buddy and a fabulous baby-sitter. But perhaps, Priya and her life were a little too perfect. Unlike Ira’s.

Then there is Vasu, whom Ira was in love with in college; but they parted in animosity. And now the universe is offering them a second chance. Will Ira muster up the courage to seize it? Can Vasu win her over?

Kausalya’s writing is sprinkled with detailed descriptions and imagery – when she is describing the other mothers and their ensemble outfits; her long-winded, angst-ridden conversations with Priya; and contemporary Delhi, in the monsoons and the winter, and its various neighborhoods. I really enjoyed the writing. And from effortlessly the sentences flow, it is evident that she enjoyed the journey as much.

Each time I turned the page for a new chapter, I felt like I was watching a soap opera on TV. Many twists in the plot, some minor, but revealing characters, a hint of romance, women gossiping at the drop of a hat, etc. I was greedy enough to consume the whole book on a weekend, but it would also be nice to take it in bit by bit.

Mom in the City is a light-hearted, but not a frivolous, read. You will find yourself silently smiling at some of the incidents Ira narrates, coz you’ve probably been there, done that yourself. Being nagged by the self-doubts and inadequacies of being a single parent; looking beyond the carefully-constructed deceptive trappings of a perfect life; standing up for other women, offering folks a second chance, etc.

And I think that’s what Mom in the City is about. Giving people a second chance, another shot at what could have been. Read it and get enveloped in a warm feeling of fuzziness.

Learn more about Mom in the City.

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