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Books > Language and Literature > Scar Tissue (8 Lives, 8 Young Women)
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Scar Tissue (8 Lives, 8 Young Women)
Scar Tissue (8 Lives, 8 Young Women)
Description

About the Book

The first title in the Maidan Voices series, Scar tissue is a moving collection of first-person stories by young women, speaking candidly and bravely about their lives. ’When one looks at scar tissue,’ says Nikhat Grewal ‘there is only a vestige of the wound that once was. The healing process has began and the battle scars are getting lighter. The stories that you read in this book are like scar tissue, proof that the healing has begun. These women reveal themselves by sharing not their pain, but its aftermath. They are not victims, but survivors, claiming their space and the right to be who they are women who are proud of their scar tissue.’

About the Author

Nikhat Grewal is a child psychologist and aspiring fiction writer and traveller. She believes in the power of bed tea, human weakness and lunar eclipses. She lives in New Delhi with her turtles, in a flat she sometimes shares with her dog.

Introduction

The enormity of this book and of the responsibility of putting it together did not hit me until I started to write this introduction. What I did by collecting these eight essays is not extraordinary. What is, are the stories that I was let into in the process. Who are the girls whose stories you will be reading? We are the ones you see driving to work, whistling down an auto, sipping cosmopolitans at a bar, catching the film festival at Siri Fort Auditorium or drinking coffee and laughing loudly in a cafe. What do we have in common? Our economic stratum (upper middle class), our hopes, dreams, fears and a certain glint in the eye.

Thirty-five years ago things were different for girls like us in India. A marriage and a career as a teacher or nurse was as good as it got, though if you were really 'fast', you could be an air hostess. It took a long hard battle fought by our mothers in the '70's and '80's for us to now stand on our own as a group. Today I can be a lesbian peace corps. worker leaving for Iraq and I dare anyone to do anything about it. Yes, we are here. No, we are not the new Indian women. We are the old model but with voices that can ring loud and clear, carrying far into the distance.

The battle is far from over though. It was a year ago that I started to look for women between the ages of eighteen and thirty to write for this book. I met with many, some of whom wrote down their stories and yet would not publish them. Not because they were afraid 'but because they chose to keep some things personal and to tell their stories only to a few. It does not matter because the process helped them all and the idea of the book seemed to give them courage. Some realised they were better writers than they thought and others just saw things more clearly. And then there were those with an amazing story to tell, but who felt that they could not share it. What really amazed ... angered ... me was that it was not that these women lacked the strength to speak of their own lives freely. They have the courage and the voice but they cannot go public. Why not? To protect their parents, their families and their boyfriends, of course. What is it about a liberated oman who speaks her mind that still embarrasses and scares others so much? So is it the same old story being enacted in modern settings? No, each time my heart broke for one girl's silence, the voice of another would restore my faith that things have changed. Young women in India today are strong, unafraid and doing it for themselves.

The women whose stories you will read ... Amrita. Who acknowledges the limitations of first her biological father and then her stepfather and finds strength and solace in her relationship with her sister.

Phoenix, the girl who chose that name because writing her story changed the way in which she looked at herself. The first piece that she wrote spoke only of one disastrous man after another. It was only after she read her own piece out loud that she realised that this was not her, that these men did not define her life. So, out came the black marker and the piece was re-written. I saw the phoenix reemerge from the ashes. Thank you for your realisation, it was mine as well.

Or Deveshe whom I never met and yet who trusted me enough to share her story with me via email. Her quest for experience and answers mirrors a lot of our own. The true enjoyment of her freedom diffused through her confusion offers us comfort that yes, we may not know what we really want but getting there can be fun.

Alankrita who vocalised her thoughts by asking questions, and sometimes answering them with intelligence and passion herself. Is wanting and fighting for one's own rightful place being a feminist? Or is it just human nature? As Alankrita points out, what does shaving one's legs or not have to do with it all?

We don't want to look like men, we don't want to act like men, we just want to be unafraid.

Tilly-thank you for pointing out that we all don't have to be thespians to act and to play different parts in our 'real lives'. It is easy to get lost in the midst of expectations and limitations, both our own and of those we love. We are all a little schizophrenic, trying to pick what fits us best. Especially now, as this new breed of young women emerges, if one looks deeply, the worker, the lover, the mother, the sister, the courtesan, the vulnerable, the strong-she is in us all.

I then marvel at the power and courage of Anonymous as she cries out aloud at the hypocrisy of her freedom. It is through her words that I felt the sanctity of my own body for the first time. Here is a girl, smart, loving, fearless and yet she is unable to claim even an acknowledgement of the violations she repeatedly suffers. Signing her own name to her story seems like a distant prospect. .

And then Mukulika, who I sometimes feel has written the most complex piece of all Feeling what most of us have felt at one point or may feel again-discontent, feeling wrong when everything seems right. Angry yet smiling, tired but dancing, aching to soar above what is. Fly, Mukulika, put down that Magharita and fly.

Writing my own piece, I realised exactly what a difficult task I had asked of these women. To write down one's experiences concisely and coherently in 3000 to 4000 words is a hard thing to do indeed. There were times when I wanted to stop, scared and unwilling to share myself. Truthfully, it was the courage and honesty of the other women that inspired me to continue. Writing my story I felt sad for the girl I lost and yet writing those last hopeful lines, I surprised myself. The hope is instinctual and the anticipation of laughter naturaL Through my story I did realise, I believe that I will be happy.

So, are we really liberated? Are we any different from the girls our mothers were? The biggest gift the women here have given me is a definite answer to that question. Yes we are. I look around when I walk down the street, when I am in a market place or at a book reading. I see the excited, intelligent, beautiful faces of the women around me and my heart swells with pride. I am proud to be a part of you. We may still have a long way to go. Battles to fight for ourselves but we have choices and we choose to exercise them. So these are our stories and perhaps some of yours, as well.

Contents

 

Acknowledgements vii
Introduction ix
The story of me 1
On being labelled a feminist 11
Shock of recognition 24
Soul searching 39
The abyss and mulligatawny soup 63
The howling 77
The reading 83
Til1y 100

 

Sample Pages






Scar Tissue (8 Lives, 8 Young Women)

Item Code:
NAF712
Cover:
Paperback
Edition:
2007
Publisher:
ISBN:
8188965332
Language:
English
Size:
8.5 inch X 5.5 inch
Pages:
127
Other Details:
Weight of the Book: 155 gms
Price:
$14.00   Shipping Free
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About the Book

The first title in the Maidan Voices series, Scar tissue is a moving collection of first-person stories by young women, speaking candidly and bravely about their lives. ’When one looks at scar tissue,’ says Nikhat Grewal ‘there is only a vestige of the wound that once was. The healing process has began and the battle scars are getting lighter. The stories that you read in this book are like scar tissue, proof that the healing has begun. These women reveal themselves by sharing not their pain, but its aftermath. They are not victims, but survivors, claiming their space and the right to be who they are women who are proud of their scar tissue.’

About the Author

Nikhat Grewal is a child psychologist and aspiring fiction writer and traveller. She believes in the power of bed tea, human weakness and lunar eclipses. She lives in New Delhi with her turtles, in a flat she sometimes shares with her dog.

Introduction

The enormity of this book and of the responsibility of putting it together did not hit me until I started to write this introduction. What I did by collecting these eight essays is not extraordinary. What is, are the stories that I was let into in the process. Who are the girls whose stories you will be reading? We are the ones you see driving to work, whistling down an auto, sipping cosmopolitans at a bar, catching the film festival at Siri Fort Auditorium or drinking coffee and laughing loudly in a cafe. What do we have in common? Our economic stratum (upper middle class), our hopes, dreams, fears and a certain glint in the eye.

Thirty-five years ago things were different for girls like us in India. A marriage and a career as a teacher or nurse was as good as it got, though if you were really 'fast', you could be an air hostess. It took a long hard battle fought by our mothers in the '70's and '80's for us to now stand on our own as a group. Today I can be a lesbian peace corps. worker leaving for Iraq and I dare anyone to do anything about it. Yes, we are here. No, we are not the new Indian women. We are the old model but with voices that can ring loud and clear, carrying far into the distance.

The battle is far from over though. It was a year ago that I started to look for women between the ages of eighteen and thirty to write for this book. I met with many, some of whom wrote down their stories and yet would not publish them. Not because they were afraid 'but because they chose to keep some things personal and to tell their stories only to a few. It does not matter because the process helped them all and the idea of the book seemed to give them courage. Some realised they were better writers than they thought and others just saw things more clearly. And then there were those with an amazing story to tell, but who felt that they could not share it. What really amazed ... angered ... me was that it was not that these women lacked the strength to speak of their own lives freely. They have the courage and the voice but they cannot go public. Why not? To protect their parents, their families and their boyfriends, of course. What is it about a liberated oman who speaks her mind that still embarrasses and scares others so much? So is it the same old story being enacted in modern settings? No, each time my heart broke for one girl's silence, the voice of another would restore my faith that things have changed. Young women in India today are strong, unafraid and doing it for themselves.

The women whose stories you will read ... Amrita. Who acknowledges the limitations of first her biological father and then her stepfather and finds strength and solace in her relationship with her sister.

Phoenix, the girl who chose that name because writing her story changed the way in which she looked at herself. The first piece that she wrote spoke only of one disastrous man after another. It was only after she read her own piece out loud that she realised that this was not her, that these men did not define her life. So, out came the black marker and the piece was re-written. I saw the phoenix reemerge from the ashes. Thank you for your realisation, it was mine as well.

Or Deveshe whom I never met and yet who trusted me enough to share her story with me via email. Her quest for experience and answers mirrors a lot of our own. The true enjoyment of her freedom diffused through her confusion offers us comfort that yes, we may not know what we really want but getting there can be fun.

Alankrita who vocalised her thoughts by asking questions, and sometimes answering them with intelligence and passion herself. Is wanting and fighting for one's own rightful place being a feminist? Or is it just human nature? As Alankrita points out, what does shaving one's legs or not have to do with it all?

We don't want to look like men, we don't want to act like men, we just want to be unafraid.

Tilly-thank you for pointing out that we all don't have to be thespians to act and to play different parts in our 'real lives'. It is easy to get lost in the midst of expectations and limitations, both our own and of those we love. We are all a little schizophrenic, trying to pick what fits us best. Especially now, as this new breed of young women emerges, if one looks deeply, the worker, the lover, the mother, the sister, the courtesan, the vulnerable, the strong-she is in us all.

I then marvel at the power and courage of Anonymous as she cries out aloud at the hypocrisy of her freedom. It is through her words that I felt the sanctity of my own body for the first time. Here is a girl, smart, loving, fearless and yet she is unable to claim even an acknowledgement of the violations she repeatedly suffers. Signing her own name to her story seems like a distant prospect. .

And then Mukulika, who I sometimes feel has written the most complex piece of all Feeling what most of us have felt at one point or may feel again-discontent, feeling wrong when everything seems right. Angry yet smiling, tired but dancing, aching to soar above what is. Fly, Mukulika, put down that Magharita and fly.

Writing my own piece, I realised exactly what a difficult task I had asked of these women. To write down one's experiences concisely and coherently in 3000 to 4000 words is a hard thing to do indeed. There were times when I wanted to stop, scared and unwilling to share myself. Truthfully, it was the courage and honesty of the other women that inspired me to continue. Writing my story I felt sad for the girl I lost and yet writing those last hopeful lines, I surprised myself. The hope is instinctual and the anticipation of laughter naturaL Through my story I did realise, I believe that I will be happy.

So, are we really liberated? Are we any different from the girls our mothers were? The biggest gift the women here have given me is a definite answer to that question. Yes we are. I look around when I walk down the street, when I am in a market place or at a book reading. I see the excited, intelligent, beautiful faces of the women around me and my heart swells with pride. I am proud to be a part of you. We may still have a long way to go. Battles to fight for ourselves but we have choices and we choose to exercise them. So these are our stories and perhaps some of yours, as well.

Contents

 

Acknowledgements vii
Introduction ix
The story of me 1
On being labelled a feminist 11
Shock of recognition 24
Soul searching 39
The abyss and mulligatawny soup 63
The howling 77
The reading 83
Til1y 100

 

Sample Pages






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