Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Fairytale Success Follows a Harsh Life

You will hear much about Baby Halder in the coming months, but not from her. During the day, Halder works as a maid in New Delhi, catering to the needs of the upper class. After a grueling day, she tends to her three children and after they're asleep, she sits down to write. Her first book, A Life Less Oridinary, is a sensation across India and has just been translated into English.
The unassuming Ms. Halder, profiled in today's New York Times, was encouraged to write by one of her bosses, a retired anthropology professer who caught her browsing his library when she should have been dusting it.
When the professor, Prabodh Kumar, read some of what she had written, a gut-wrenching, horrifying tale of poverty, abuse, misogyny and servitude, he encouraged her to write more and started editing. Abandoned by her mother, beaten and neglected by her father, Halder was sold into marriage at the age of 12 and had her first child at 13. To escape the cycle of poverty and abuse (her husband almost strangled her), Halder took her children and ran away to Delhi, where she found work, and a better future for her kids.
A Life Less Ordinary has opened a dialogue in India about subjects that are usually taboo, poverty and the treatment of women, especially the lack of support for women who flee abusive marriages.

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