Friday, July 11, 2014

#BookReview: Daughter By Court Order by Ratna Vira

On the jacket:

 A seemingly innocent remark over an innocuous cup of tea. Aranya discovers that her family has been fighting a decade-long legal battle over her grandfather’s expansive estate, all the while not only keeping her in the dark, but also keeping her very existence out of the court’s knowledge!  A cesspool of emotions, half-truths, betrayals, and the unspooling of long buried dirty family secrets threaten to overpower Aranya and disrupt what modicum of peace and balance she has in her life as a single mother of two children. At the centre of this storm is the one woman who, ever since the day Aranya was born, has had nothing but curses and abuses for her; who has deliberately kept her name out of the court; who has wished her dead for every day of her life; who refuses to now remember her birth. The woman who is her mother. Her own mother.  This is the story of a woman fighting against power, money, deceit, and treachery for her right to be recognised as a daughter. A daughter by court order . . .


Daughter By Court Order is a shocker of a book for me. A brilliant read. Imagine this, you own mother doesn't want you. Your own mother hates the sight of you. I know this is not uncommon in India, but fortunately for me, it is a big shock to read about someone whose mother didn't want her to recover and be moved out of the incubator.

This story is about Arnie, or Aranya, born to a very well-to-do family in Delhi. This is one half baked family. There is dadaji, there is phua Baby Singh, Arnie's parents, a brother and the rest of the brood, including her father's two other siblings and their families. Now dadaji was a big name, an ex CM, a man with a lot of power and money. As often happens, neither of his sons could do much, despite Arnie's father being the brilliant one. 

Her phua and her dadaji were her only saviours. The author has developed each character so well, I was sure I knew them personally. Who would say, this is a debut novel! The plot sucks you right in and I finished most of the book in one go. 

The plot sails smoothly between the past and the present, the past having various stages of Arnie's life. Today, Arnie is a single mother to two children, since the last ten years and she is shown to be doing well for herself. She has lived a traumatized life right from birth, with her mother referring to her only as a kamini, haramzadi, and a burden. From her phua she gets to know about an ongoing property case for the house she has grown up in, and as per her dadaji's will, daughters of the house have claim to all the property. But the catch here is, that Arnie's mother has not included her name in the list of benefactors. As per records, Arnie doesn't exists. Thus begins a daughter's quest to prove that she is a part of that family.

What follows is a heart warming, tedious process where finally Arnie decides to not let her mother bully her any more and stand up for her own rights. A brilliant read, is what this is. But I must admit, Arnie's mother kept shocking me with her abuses for her daughter. I mean....why!! Well, I strongly recommend this book a read, you should to find out how Arnie stands up for herself.

Rating: *****/5

[This review is for Fingerprint Publishers. The opinions are strictly my own and not been written under any obligation.] 

1 comment:

  1. Great review. I have been following your reviews very regularly and I like what I read.
    Great blog.


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