Kakar, who swears by Murphy’s law, takes his readers on a rollercoaster ride from the bizarre to the brazen
In the world of literature, certain authors possess a unique ability to delve into the depths of human experience, unearthing stories that resonate on a profound level. Sreemoyee Piu Kundu stands tall among these luminaries, her words acting as both a mirror and a lantern, reflecting the complexities of life while guiding readers through the darkest corners of the human soul. Behind the ink and pages, Sreemoyee Piu Kundu weaves stories that dance between the shadows of loss and the spotlight of empowerment.
A journalist turned author, she’s not just chronicling tales; she’s crafting conversations. Everything Changes, Kundu’s memoir, is a tour de force in this regard. It lays bare the complexities of her life, painting a vivid portrait of a woman who has navigated the turbulent waters of loss and emerged stronger for it. Through her words, Kundu extends an empathetic hand to those who have grappled with similar demons, reminding them that they are not alone in their struggles.
What sets Kundu’s work apart is her unflinching willingness to tackle subjects that many shy away from. Infertility, a topic often cloaked in silence, finds a powerful voice in her narratives. Through her candid exploration, she not only de-stigmatizes the experience but also empowers those who have walked that challenging path.
Beyond her personal triumphs, Kundu’s work serves as a rallying cry for women’s empowerment. She advocates for a world where strength is celebrated, where scars are worn as badges of honour, and where the narrative of a woman’s life is penned by her own hand.
Q. Your memoir, Everything Changes, is a powerful account of your personal journey through various challenges, including the loss of your father at a young age. How did writing this book help you in the process of self-discovery and healing?
A. I feel healing is a lifelong process. It is a misconception to assume that one attains a state of flawless perfection after healing. Personally, I’ve experienced cycles of healing, setbacks and subsequent efforts to rebuild myself.
Each time, I was born anew. Presently, there’s a notable surge in people seeking therapy, exploring practices like tarot reading, engaging with healers, and embracing elements like crystal energy and the divine feminine. This collective endeavour is no doubt good as it signifies a collective acknowledgment of the existence of trauma. But, for me, the process of healing is continuous, and this book has served as a catalyst for me to surrender to this journey.
The aim isn’t necessarily to reach a definitive endpoint, but rather to surrender to the evolving process. The book stands as my acknowledgement that I no longer bear the burden of confronting my father’s passing. Additionally, it facilitated a reevaluation of my relationship with my mother who never openly discussed my father’s demise. This book also marks a milestone of my ten years as an author.
Q. In your memoir, you touch on the issues of abusive relationships, and infertility – a topic that many women face in silence. How have your experiences influenced your advocacy on women’s empowerment, their resilience and reproductive choices?
A. The realm of women’s health is often fraught with societal stigma. I can personally attest to this, having experienced the challenges of living with endometriosis. I’ve encountered instances of being shamed for my illness within relationships. Many individuals are content to partake in the pleasant aspects of life, such as going on holidays and capturing joyful moments in photographs. However, when the skies turn overcast and life becomes sombre, it’s disheartening to witness how few are willing to stand by your side. After all, shouldn’t love and commitment encompass both the joys and the tribulations? As my former editor, whom I tragically lost, used to say, “Suffering forges character.”
Those who stand beside you during your times of suffering contribute significantly to the character of the relationship.Even during the paperwork at the hospital, one is required to specify their marital status, and there’s an unfortunate societal perception that being single and seeking medical care alone implies a sense of inadequacy. These circumstances inspired me to establish a community for women.
Q. There are days when you are not unwell but lack the motivation to engage in any activity, including going to work. It’s difficult to justify taking a sick leave for such occasions. What guidance can you offer for managing these situations?
A. I believe mustering the strength to rise and engage in your work is immensely impactful. The prospect of earning and immersing oneself in the next project acts as a driving force. Otherwise, it’s all too easy to succumb to feelings of depression and gloom. It’s perfectly natural to feel sadness. Personally, what aids me is taking the time to dress up and cultivate a sense of inner contentment. Also, I tell myself, “One day at a time… you need not see the bigger picture”.
I published Everything Changes during that period of hardship, marked by trauma and fracture. The process of crafting the book feels like a hazy memory. Nevertheless, in retrospect, I find solace in knowing that it’s alright.
Q. What advice do you have for individuals seeking to find strength in adversity?
A. I may not have any specific advice, but I do strongly urge everyone not to feel ashamed if they’ve experienced physical or emotional abuse. Society tends to rush to pronouncements, often asking, “Why didn’t you leave sooner?” It’s important to remember that love can obscure a lot of darkness and toxicity in relationships. I implore women not to withdraw and isolate themselves. Always seek support and confide in someone. Women often hesitate to unveil their partner’s true nature, but this silence can be detrimental. It’s essential to reach out and share your experiences with someone you trust.
Furthermore, I would advise every woman to prioritise financial security, as it inherently fosters emotional stability. You need to own your own life.
Q. As Lakshmi Pujo approaches, it brings to light the societal expectation for women in India to embody the qualities associated with Goddess Lakshmi. How would you articulate the essence of Lakshmi?
A. In my personal view, the notion of being an ‘olokkhi’ is rather daunting. The idea of embodying the qualities associated with Lakshmi raises questions for me. What exactly constitutes a “good” wife, mother, or daughter? Who holds the authority to define this standard of goodness – society, or perhaps, patriarchal norms? It’s noteworthy that in many households, it’s the women who typically manage the family finances.
Their husbands or sons entrust them with their earnings. Even in times of financial strain, it’s the woman who ensures her children and husband are fed before tending to her own needs.
To me, Lakshmi Pujo signifies the financial autonomy of women and the empowerment of single mothers who bravely shoulder the responsibility of raising their children alone. In my perspective, Goddess Lakshmi is a woman who takes pride in her appearance, and is gainfully employed.