Shivani, to me, is an author who could say things very deep, even while talking of stories that are, say, next door. I have read some of her novels, and some memoirs that she wrote later. But even with them, you don’t get that picture of Shivani that Ira talks about here. While on one hand she claims that she herself does not know the real Shivani and is still searching for her complete personality through her stories, she has been able to present a picture of her celebrated mother that the outside world does not know.
Ira, in the book, talks about her Aama (Shivani’s mother, or I should rather say Gaura Pant’s mother, as Shivani was only her pen name), Diddi – that is Shivani herself – and her family, and then the lot of servants of their families, which made an important part of their life as per the book.
But then, the most interesting parts of the book are where she has been able to find the parts of life of her mother on which she wrote stories, sometimes telling almost exactly what was happening in her life and what all she was going through, through the characters of her stories. In these parts, you not only get to read stories that touched real life, but are also able to relate to her life much closely than in any other way possible.
The book talks less about Shivani, the author, and more about Gaura, the person, but at the same time is very much successful in interweaving the two for you in a manner that you are able to see the connection between the two. And to the author’s credit, even while doing this tough job, she has not made the book heavy or boring at all.
Or maybe Shivani’s life was so interesting that it could not be made boring anyway. That’s something Ira has tried to make us believe. But whatever be the truth, the book IS interesting for sure. If you’re a fan of Shivani’s works and/or want to know more about the life of that person, do read the book.