UNPFAGoodwill Ambassador Padma Bhushan Shabana Azmi launched an extraordinary collection of essays that address the theme of motherhood through the prism of lived experiences at Title Waves in Bandra. “Popular culture the world over refers to motherhood as the ultimate destination for women. But is motherhood really the gold standard for women it is assumed to be? The Oldest Love Story delves into this and much more,” elaborates Ajay Mago, Publisher, Om Books and the driving force behind The Oldest Love Story.
The literary gem boasts of essays by some of India’s celebrated writers – Kamala Das, Shashi Deshpande, Nabaneeta Dev Sen, C.S. Lakshmi, Vaidehi and a rare gem by Mannu Bhandari, who introspect with admirable honesty their experience of mothering and the price demanded by years of giving. Many others including Shabana Azmi, Chitra Palekar and Saeed Mirza explore their relationship with their mothers.
Maithili Rao, co-editor of the anthology, describes the process of gathering these honest personal stories as ‘invaluable’. “These searching essays prove that the personal is political in the truest sense. Besides being explorations of life’s fundamental relationship, the stories are a record of social history.”
Co-editor Rinki Roy Bhattacharya says, “Overflowing with honest, heartfelt – often humorous – homages to mothers, or the children, The Oldest Love Story dazzles with a rich galaxy of brilliant authors from across India who share their deeply personal stories. The extraordinary collection will be a jewel amongst nonfiction works for years and years … we shall savour it.”
Editor-in-chief of Om Books International, Shantanu Ray Chaudhuri, describes the anthology as an incredible document of the experience of motherhood. “What appealed to me is the range of views on offer here. Given the sociocultural conditioning around motherhood, it’s fascinating how contrarian views coexist in this anthology to provide a holistic understanding of the complex phenomenon. It is not every anthology that brings together a Kamala Das and a Mannu Bhandari, a Shashi Deshpande and a Shabana Azmi.”