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Defiant Dreams: Tales of Everyday Divas – A Book Review

March 8, 2016 | By

A detailed, analytic book review of ‘Defiant Dreams: Tales of Everyday Divas’, published by Readomania, edited and curated by Incredible Women of India.

International Women’s Day Special


The cover of ‘Defiant Dreams: Tales of Everyday Divas’, curated by Incredible Women of India, and published by Readomania.

Defiant Dreams is available on and

Book Review of Defiant Dreams: Tales of Everyday Divas

Defiant Dreams: Tales of Everyday Divas is an anthology of twenty four short stories, penned by twenty four various authors, curated by INCREDIBLE WOMEN OF INDIA, through a nationwide short story contest named STREE. The book is published by Readomania. Edited by Rhiti Bose, the founder and editor-in-chief of IWI and Lopa Banerjee, Deputy Editor of Learning and Creativity Magazine and Creative Editor of IWI, the book encompasses the stories of twenty four female protagonists and their chronicles of dreams that refuse to be crushed by the heel of life’s injustices. Launched in Kolkata in December 2015 by a panel of eminent feminist activists and writers, the book has received critical acclaim from all quarters within the short period of its release.

Maya Khandelwal, author and winner of Defiant Dreams giveaway contest dissects each of the stories in the collection in her detailed, insightful review and shares with us what makes them unique and remarkable.

1. Built From the Ashes – by Radhika Maira Tabrez

Sometimes tears in your eyes are not residues of pain; they are sheer delight dancing bright beneath your lids.

So vivid a description, so minutely the details arrested, to stay long in the reader’s heart, so beautifully loaded with sentiment a woman can at once relate with, so picturesque the hide and seek of love and regret!

A mother is made of an altogether different fabric with wells of patience and forgiveness but a father, patching up the shattered pieces of glass to build a harmonious dome of love again…is so very commendable indeed! He has lost much…can’t afford to jeopardise what he’s left with…at the altar of self-esteem.

Hats off! Very well done Radhika Maira Tabrez!

I’m a proud reader cherishing the prized possession!

The book launch of Defiant Dreams at Weaver's Studio Kolkata

The book launch of Defiant Dreams at Weaver’s Studio Kolkata

2. It’s Not the End – by Kirthi Jayakumar

So deep are the oceans hiding the richest gems and pearls nursing in their wombs! Deeper more and… More unfathomable are the recesses of one’s heart that no enthusiastic diver can ever dream to reach!

The beautiful n subtle blend of two threads being played upon simultaneous! On one hand a female heart weaving a Dream on the Loom of Hope with the beautiful Yarns of Love n Fancy and…On the other …there throbs that of a Wife who is nursing a Dream too…in her fond Bosom, her Womb, her Being…sweetly unaware of the unkind stab she is in for.

Aah! The two threads seemingly unmatched are beautifully made to cohere at last. Good grab over expression!

Well done Kirthi Jayakumar!

3. She Chose to Live – by Debosmita Nandy

Love…the very word does suffice to cause effervescence on the rills of our hearts. Many of us live and die by this love. It has been playing mischief in each life since…when…God knows!

The tale told is the everyday tale of many who have suffered a breach of faith in their love life but the depiction is quintessential indeed.

Enough of ‘How would you live without a husband!’

She can and she should!

If her love mate, smitten by lust and riches, can desert her, she too can move ahead for the sake of her self-esteem.

4. Bidisha – by Paulami DuttaGupta

The story delineates a journey literally and symbolically. The story speaks of a harrowing experience underwent by the protagonist back then, an experience that embittered her to the very marrow of her bones…and that how it gave birth to unnamed apprehensions she had hitherto been unaware of! She thence onwards began holding all uniformed men in sheer threat…but …as luck would have it…she found the pick of the basket who redeemed even those sinful acts of his comrades that she would find hard to digest years after.

Yes! It is mortal fabric liable to err and then astonishingly enough to love and to care as well. A Thousand Unspoken Words…

Well-developed plot. Good character portrayal. A journey into the psyche of a girl, worth undertaking.

5. The Drug Addict – by Santosh Bakaya

‘Rise and shine’ the phrase beautifully summarises the story. Once warmly wrapped up in the manifolds of the blanket of parental love and security, the tender hearted ‘She’ felt bereaved, her faith in the benevolence of the Father Above was badly shaken! ‘Rikki Tikki bada sher tha, na raha…’

Once bubbling up to the brim with self contentment and domestic happiness, now in the grip of heart wrenching pain and drugs! Was that to be so! Aah!

Mothers! What angels! Even with their eyes closed in eternal sleep, they can give silent prods to their flesh and blood to jerk them out of the shackles of self destruction!

How beautifully the message of Hope glistens in the light of Hard Times and Great Expectations!!!

Lovely interpretations!

From the path of dust and decay…to giving away nuggets of knowledge and love…the journey calls for warm applause indeed!

6. A Safe Passage – by Sanghamitra Bose

I often wonder why we the Eve’s Daughters are in love with pain so much!

Pain seems to have marked us as its darlings.

Besides the other embellishments we love to boast of, let’s boast of our biggest jewel that makes us what we are, PAIN.

It connects our souls at the drop of the hat!

We can actually feel the pain to the same degrees of intensity as the one who might have actually gone through it.

Uncountable are the Sikhnis all across the world who have succumbed to the cruelties doled out to them. Many are the Baujis that have been forced to lay their Turrah, a mark of their Punjabi honour, at the feet of wolfish men who feasted upon their painstakingly brought up kudiyaan, the ‘ghar diyaan izzazataan’.

The story commences with a heart rending account of a girl’s honour thrown in the sugarcane fields, threadbare! It grabs, appals, and benumbs our senses! The rising sea of turmoil threatens to engulf, with no likelihood of a Safe Passage.

Having been subjected to such levels of mental torture and still surviving in this world…trying to secure safe passage for her soul sisters, speaks volumes of the valour a woman can be proud of!

Beautifully carved out!

7. The Bride – by Esha Chakraborty

Tugging at the pins that have been pinned strategically…giving up then…brushing aside the tear drops that would obstinately linger on…Tugging at the strings of the necklace but realising later isn’t the weight of the ornament that smothered…something else…simmering in eyes…does…beautifully give a clue what the reader is in for.

How the colour of festivities changes when the reasons beneath suffer an unhappy alteration! It’s a beautiful scenario around, so many things in the full swing heralding a new life ahead…but sadly…our bride isn’t happy. Her mind is gripped by the demons of doubt and fears that aren’t irrational.

Just a bold stride is all she needs! The dare that might surpass the little reasons as to what would people say…for the sake of love and for the sake of a real good choice in life…

Our bride does, after much mulling over the alternatives take a step! A bold one! She wouldn’t marry where there’s no respect for her as a person. She wouldn’t be bought into the dowry thing!

Above all, she would marry for the sake of LOVE.

Beautiful treatment rendered to the theme!

8. Memories In March – by Sutapa Basu

‘I forced myself on this world’, does this need something else to hit at the evil our society sadly still suffers from? No. This would suffice.

‘Beauty is the bait that makes a good marriage’, cruelly reminds the sensible reader what would come out of a wedlock tied thus. Coffers full! Yet hearts devoid of love, sympathy and feelings that make a man, a man.

How hard a mother may press her cheeks against the iron bars in frustration and remorse, can she have the done, undone? Munia too can be likened to the wet golden blossom, bedraggled and mud splattered…the mud of discrimination, indifference…to her very existence in this world, the unwelcome, the cold attitude, callousness and what not?

A girl child, an angel of love and a token of Almighty’s benediction! Indeed ‘she must feel the warmth of the sun on a winter afternoon, touch the velvety soft petal of a flower, and taste the first drops of the summer rain!’

One who has every right to celebrate life…why …oh why should she be deprived mercilessly of the nature’s bounty?

Munia had forced her way to the world but her daughter would be welcomed.

Munia will see to it that she is!

I however wonder how long can such forced relationships be thriving?

A matter of personal speculation bound to differ from person to person. What I feel is that she should have given the baby girl her part of the blue skies on her own.

The intermittent excerpts from Munia’s letter and the author’s basking into past…gives a natural flow to the train of thoughts.

9. Unfound: Searching For Home – by Vasudha Chandna Gulati

‘The purpose of a story teller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon.’

I have often wondered how an adopted child would react when the truth dawns upon her.

I get answered here!

The story sweeps us along to the nostalgic journey to the narrator’s past, into the household where hugs and kisses weren’t passed around freely, where it was a long-long summer frequented by showers of love, the chirrups of joy, the breezes of kindness, the benevolent clouds of filial feelings, the songs of innocent pranks, and the mist of warmth.

The word ‘adopted’ led to a storm in the little girl’s mind and suddenly the unquestionable queries about her mother’s strict conduct got answered!

Oh! Was that the reason?

She still walks on the highway of BIG QUESTIONS!
Sorry…no answers!

The story takes a leap when the fledgling has flown away to the skies azure. The anchorage she’s desperately been craving for is found in friendship.

Weathering many a storms further the girl, no more meek and mum, becomes a HOME to many like her…looking for anchorage.

A beautiful write up! Hats off!

10. The Journey of Two Women – by Deepti Menon

The story opens unveiling the magnetism the new teacher Malini holds. She at-once mesmerises everyone!
Ambili, the current Headmistress of the school suffers from no green eye as one might have expected.
Both the women as it seems are whole heartedly devoted to their teaching world.

Women of essence, self sufficient and brimming with confidence are often akin to a red rag to a bull. Very true! There are many hiccups on the way before they realize their true potentials in their respected areas of work.

Both undergo the ordeals that make them rise from their ashes. The former loses her dearly loved husband and the latter is left maddened with grief due to the irreparable loss of her son.

Both pick up the pieces and embark hand in hand on the journey to make other lives enlightened and beautiful.

In a world of vested interests and envy, here we have two women who compliment each other as best as they can. A lesson learnt…women can achieve greater heights when they lend each other a helping hand.

11. A Second Chance – by Arpita Banerjee

Be it a homemaker, a teacher, an artist, a politician, the founder of an Ashram… the fabric is same! A woman is a woman. She has her inhibitions, her prides, her loves, her hatreds.

Behind the veil of pragmatism and business mannerisms she is what she is…a girl lured into sugary talks, drugged, assaulted, and disrespected in many a cases.

She’s a coveted prize lecherous men lust after. Slayers of her innocence! Once that’s done, it isn’t really a cake walk to begin with a clean slate. Nor jumping into the river is the solution indeed. The irony that a woman is mostly betrayed by women is too bitter a pill to swallow!

Not really should there be a second chance given to those who violate the sanctity of womanhood.

The description is picturesque. The language simple yet loaded with sentiment. The entire interview scene is conjured up live as if on the canvas of our mind.

12. The 40s – by Ramma Sonti

An average woman in her forties, caught in the labyrinth of daily grind, welcomes the waft of fresh wind that a whirlwind romance ushers in. This is like a drooping plant perking up at once with a refreshing gust of rain.

This be the age when mates have started taking each other for granted, not a single word of praise passed, no compliments paid, parting hugs and kisses no more deemed necessary, sex reduced to a mere mechanical act failing to arouse the passions, a mere drug may be- to induce sleep…a void deepening night after night, a gap widening day after day.

The long parched heart for love and the longing to be desired comes into active play when that someone, an outsider, pays you attention be it in the case of a male or a female. You start looking into the mirror once again, the praises showered make you feel young, vibrant and love once again, and you begin falling in love with yourself!

One act of negligence and the hard earned faith, the palace of domestic happiness shattered to pieces!

Whirlwind however is a whirlwind bound to be lulled to rest having whirred your entire being too unrest-n-turmoil for a while.

Conjugal love, the big constant waves, the rhythm of your life…however boldly weathers all such tempting phases on the course of married life if the wakeful perception of the soul is kept intact.

A perfect fencing of mutual trust and belief in the partner’s goodness can keep you both safe n secured within the circumference of love and shared responsibilities.

The best security blanket to kids is a pair of parents that respect and trust each other. The story leads to self introspection.

Why not fall in love with your partner one again with a renewed passion?

Why not make a way again through stomach to his heart?

Why not spend the fortune in your Queen’s honour? You amassed all that golden dust for her no?

Why not re-fuel yourselves by going on family outings whenever monotony raises its head?

Well knit theme. A little more light however could have been thrown on the personality of the male character here i .e. the hubby. How does he feel? Does he have no inkling to her entire interest outside and the negligence inside home for she can’t really afford to love both with the same fervour! Can she?

The way she takes the revenge…could have been dealt with a little more perfection.

13. Dharmambal – by Bhuvaneshwari Shivkumar Shankar

A woman has been ignored in her own household, deprived of the very nuts and bolts of life, disrespected, kicked in the womb, mentally tormented, physically assaulted and what not!

We kneel down to her in reverence for those immense internal wells of patience, love, calm, kindness, and above all the will to live.

There still are women who take pride in the pains and insults meted out to them at the hands of male dominance. The matrimonial bond and the vows exchanged are taken in full sincerity by them and they would go to any weird limits actually to keep the wedlock intact.

Times are changing, gradually yet surely.

Women are learning how to fight their battles on their own.

Education is the weapon to blow the clarion for the upcoming change.

A real-life incident indeed does it seem to be.

Let the legacy of freedom be passed on from grannies to moms and from thenceforth to the grand daughters who do have the guts it takes to keep their heads high!

14. Amlanation – by Anirban Nanda

Imagine looking in the mirror and not recognising your own face!

And having to come to terms with the awful realisation that you’ve been stripped of your identity by the violent hatred of another person.

A sudden cold splash, then searing pain as burning skin begins to tear from your body. Aah! Acid can actually transform the flowery scent of innocence into fearful tears of insecurity.

Scarred for life – both physically and mentally –

Is that a facet of love too?

The beginning confuses a bit as to who is who but as it proceeds…we have a clear vision.
What consoles us, the readers, having gone through the horrid account as to what happened in the course of the story, is the stoic acceptance on the part of the victim. Not only that, she has actually chosen to serve as a ray of hope to others having undergone the same nightmarish experience!

How many out there however to go for the same bold decisions?

15. Please Leave Your Sex Outside – by Aashisha Chakraborty

The title startles! So much so that you feel like having it covered by four of your fingers wondering what you might be in for. Let not anybody around may have inkling what you are reading till you have understood the crux.

One of the best short stories ever read although there isn’t any story thread that usually encompasses some other characters and incidents woven along parallel.

Not only has Pia fallen in love with the charismatic woman named Ms. Shobha but very likely every woman reader too.

Oops! Please Leave Your Sex Outside!

Proven beyond the least shade of doubt, there are many of us that suffer from this intellectual assault. For God’s sake, we don’t need an easy ride!

Sentences like ‘I decided to give them a hard dose of my soft skills’ are the grains of salt the author sprinkles over the dish she serves to her readers.

She doesn’t just keep us intrigued, she injects us slowly and surreptitiously with the lesson i. e. having unbiased lens to see the world, unclouded by the preconceived notions of female frailty or male might.

We feel no pain and yet find ourselves lessoned too!

Hey! No need to hide the title!

16. Tara – by Geeta Negi

The story carries us along far in the lap of Himalayas where we open our lids with Tara to a world still untouched by technology and modernity. It’s a world where girls are married off at an unripen age, where wealth is still measured in terms of domestic animals, where no news is a good news, where a woman given away in marriage is given away for good, where having desires brings the feeling of guilt along, where men enjoy all the prerogatives, where they can afford to be intoxicated while their better halves toil and moil in fields…

Tara becomes a married widow as her lawfully wedded husband marries another girl in the city. She doesn’t however get subdued to the hardships she undergoes. Rather she motivates other women to teach their men a lesson, assumes the role of Maa Durga and Maa Kali to bring an end to the vices they suffer from.

The narrative flows effortlessly, depicting various phases of Tara’s life. The illiterate Tara illuminates as a guiding star to many like her.

17. Anjali Chakraborty – by Tanushree Ghosh Dhall

The story introduces the central character Anjali who has been blessed with an undaunted heart and so unflinching a faith in destiny as to accept stoically whatever written across the skies.
Not blessed with the fruits of a conjugal life she’s reconciled with her fate, living as a spinster for the rest of life. After much ado she eventually gives in to the persistent requests of Manasi, her colleagues, to live with her.

Her maternal instincts however find a positive vent in showering love and care upon Manasi’s daughter Tumpa. The girl, Tumpa regards and relies upon her as her second mother. The family members treat her as per their whims and she is often made to feel belittled despite her constant services to the family.

Fate throws her into another ordeal…she is detected with cancer! The money she’s been able to lay-by out of her services as a teacher to the slum children, isn’t used for the treatment as she has another use for the same in her mind. She generously leaves the amount for children, an investment in the budding generation.

There are some loose ends that don’t seem to have been bound well. Manasi’s character suffers from some flaw at delineation. Her relationships to various other characters in her maternal home and the marital one aren’t well developed. Her drooping spirits aren’t relieved by the joys of motherhood. She doesn’t however even react a way that could be understood.

Language is an easy go. Looks like lot of incidents, time leaps have been compressed to fit in the length appropriate for a short story.

18. Yamuna Maa’s Hand – by Mahesh Sowani

The story depicts a downtrodden woman rendered homeless having long been subjected to the cold-hearted attitude of her family members. She is looked down upon as a detestable thing, loathed, cursed for carrying a barren womb within.

She’s suspected by her husband to have been impregnated by the god man her own mother in law had sent her to, to be blessed by him. Yamuna holds herself responsible for the adverse winds she has to face. Once when left to the mercy of skies overhead, she is at the verge of losing her honour.

Eventually rescued from the clutches of despair and penury by a benign motherly woman, her life is on the mend.

The art of singing learnt from the god man comes to flowering and she has been able to make money and be respected.

She is full of the milk of kindness and humanity and would see to it that the selfless care bestowed upon her by the hearts bountiful, is repaid with due kindness. She urges the good woman to keep the money and use it for the uplift of those like her.

The story has a well developed plot. Sentences like-‘This was her first earning as a beggar, that too without actually begging’ ironically brings out the crux of the story.

19. Once, For A Change – by Moinak Dutta

Once for a change…life can surprise you!

Once for a change…you may go against your grain!

Sejuti, with her single headed devotion, has created her very own masterpiece.  She’s painstakingly been working on it for long.

She dreams her dream apparel to be showcased in the ethic wear session.

Marvelled at her perfect craftsmanship the already established and shot in limelight designer holds her in utter awe.

He’s actually insecure, no more in the comfort zone vis-a-vis this newly blossoming talent. He proposes her to wash her hands off to the designing thing and sell her product to him at a price her heart desires.

She however is surprisingly bold enough to respond in negation and would love to take credit for the labour she’s done. Not only that, she gathers the nerve to disclose his name to the public eye throwing caution to the winds.

Come what may…she wouldn’t be browbeaten!

Cheers to the spirit of womanhood! Her prides are HER own!

20. Pregnant Dreams – by Sridevi Datta

>Beautifully presented thoughts. Such minute observation of life from the view point of a woman in the grip of penury. Small dreams that carry a big meaning! The author, by the magic of her brush of vivid fancy has been able to conjure up an appropriate picture of a low profile home.

So what? So what if I’m dusky?
The mirror on the side of the car parked in the portico, tells me I AM BEAUTIFUL.

So what if I reek of coal and cinders
I have my beautiful dreams.

So what if I wasn’t brought up with care and love
so what, I grew up on my own
… like some weeds did
in my father’s rented farms…?

I grew up nevertheless.

So what I was unlucky enough
to have my mother close her lids
in death…
the moment I was born…?

So what if my heart hungers still for maternal love…?

I dream of becoming a mother some

So what?
So what if I’m tied to a stake of bare necessities…?

So what I have no silk saris and chiffon
I can hear their whispers clinging to my feminine frame.
They hold a meaningful dialogue with me!

I don’t have much to spend
or…to dream of a world tour.

So what if life has been unfair to me so far?

I will get my share of happiness and love
one day.

I’m sure, I would!
One day…

21. Second Innings of Maa – by Namrata Chauhan

‘It may be your wife or even your mother, she has a side that can surprise you. Women are soft but do not think them as weak.’

The story opens on a note from a son to his mother announcing his arrival back home. The reader might be a little puzzled as to what makes the mother go mum reading the note while we expect her to be soaring and dancing with happiness.

Just there, we are allowed a peep into past as to how the couple had prostrated at each divine door asking for an angel in the house; how it had long been subjected to long medical treatments.

The couple did get blessed. But natural, the child was pampered and spoiled in the name of love. He grew up to be an insolent youth, often indulged in quarrels, bringing shame to the hard earned esteem of his loving parents.
His father succumbed to the pain his son caused, thus leaving his mother, Shakuntala alone.

Marrying Indu was a decision Shakuntala thought that might bring him back to the right path but alas it was not to be!

Though fallen in love at first sight the couple soon began locking horns. Once in a fit of impulse he hit his wife who was then two months pregnant. She was thus robbed of her prized possession. All her hopes in her husband had been dashed to the ground.

He was taken aback when his own mother discarded him as he was more or less a rough unseemly patch on the smooth fabric of the relationship between the two women.

He wasn’t welcome home even after this long absence.

Shakuntala never had a daughter by blood but having Indu in her life had made up for the pride possession she lacked.

She was more than happy playing her second Innings at motherhood.

A beautiful bond rendered more beautiful by the subtle treatment given. Good food to thought indeed.

22. Here I Come Banaras – by Avanti Sopory

The crumbling whitewashed staircase sets the tone of monotony, dismay and lost hopes. The sun is to retire too, to stretch its limbs having duteously shone over the world for hours at a stretch, into the western tent that had acquired crimson colour.

A widow, the youngest amongst all, aspires to have some colours in her otherwise dull life forgetting that even the pink shade of her lipstick can’t bring back the spring in her life.

As a striking contrast to the lives of these widows, there’s this girl from the media, quite like a tigress on the prowl, breathing in the air of independence. She’s there to interview these widows. Parvathi, the central character is one such widow. Dejected and forlorn, a victim of male dominance and later of widowhood reaches the Ashram run by Lalaji. His male heart flutters wildly at the sight of hers. Ashram gives her accommodation and food that replenishes her fragile body and worn out soul.

Parvathi relates how she’s been witnessing the ways of the world and assimilating them too. She suffers from no pangs of remorse or self reproach having brutally trampled over her own sense of dignity.
The meandering streets of Banaras get a picturesque presentation. The story faithfully paints the canvas grey as she actually finds it around.
Either change the world or be changed as per its call. Parvathi chooses the latter.

That’s how life goes.

23. To Be Or Not To Be – by Paromita Mukherjee Ojha

A perfect picture of family life with a little one at the axis and a caring couple.

One day…the unexpected call…

Suspense sets in and the reader instinctively girds up the lions to be rowed to…wherever the story takes…

Anahuti, Anahita’s sister is given a warm welcome home, the couple sweetly ignorant what malicious designs does she harbour in her heart. The bomb of turbulence is set, the couple lured into confidence, the scheme hatched…just a few days to go…to make things look natural …aah!

Though the alarm bells ring full throttle in Anahita’s mind, she can’t really make a conjecture as to what hellish days she’s in for! Catastrophe strikes hard. Anahuti is an accomplice to Thakur, a confirmed criminal and smuggler in the heinous crime. They purple their nails with Ankit’s blood, Anahita’s dearly loved husband.

Anahita’ very identity is put at the stake!

The course of action leads to discovery, an essential ingredient in a narrative that has mystery at the core.

The narrative is dealt with in a manner that at-once grabs and startles. At places it makes our hair go erect on head! The reader feels connected and nurses inhibitions in her bosom lest confiding in some dear one to the same degree of blindness be resulted in the same gruesome consequences!

At places the narrative can lead to catharsis as well not only on the part of the author but the reader as well.

Well knit theme! Perfectly dealt with!

24. Some Porridge and an Education – by Sreesha Divakaran

To my mind a subtitle for the story could be ‘Rebel’ too as Shanta, in the very initial part of the nostalgia sets in the tone of rebellion.

She’s more or less as if death warmed up, accustomed to being beaten black and blue, assaulted, abused, humiliated by her drunken husband.

Her stares have turned stony hard, her heart dried out of love.

There was no apparent way out of the miserable life otherwise.

She makes up her mind, wakes up and walks out of her abyss into the night riding upon the winds of uncertainty. The crisp air outside is a wistful blend of freedom and nervousness. The dark shadows threaten to engulf her BUT she refuses to be.

The nostalgic journey of the narrator coincides when she as a girl of ten would accompany her dad to the market on the way back from school to home. The brash woman, the fish vendor of her childhood is the same woman who struggled free from the clutches of a life full of filth i. e. Shanta.

The meaning of a successful life as explained by the teacher seeps deep in the recesses of the narrator’s adolescent heart later.

The teacher sites Shanta’s name as an example to this!

How can a mere slip of a woman, a poor woman, a fish vendor, be an example of a successful life?

Later as the narrator grows up enough to be pursuing a degree in filmmaking she’s required to cover stories of Incredible Women who, by the dint of their unwavering will, have been able to provide not only Porridge but Education to their flesh and blood. Those who have sculpted their future and their kids’ after their own hearts defying what seemed to be irrefutable!

And who can be a better example than Shanta?

Beautiful flips of past and present eventually synchronising into a harmonious whole!

Defiant Dreams is available on and



The poster of ‘Defiant Dreams’ with the two editors, shared in the Facebook page of the book.

Also, read the recent interview of the two editors of the book where they speak about the individual stories, the social issues, and also how the book took shape in ‘The Indian Short Story in English’.

For all the posters, do visit us on Facebook.

Medley of Literary Pieces on International Woman’s Day

The Irrepressible ‘ She’ – a poem by Divya Rajgaria

I am no Goddess – a poem about the everyday diva by Anindita Bose

Where Goddesses Cry – a thought-provoking poem by Rhiti Bose.

Woman – a poem by Daipayan Nair

Wish – a son remembers his mother poem by Amitava Nag

Short Stories

The Separation – a short story by Maya Khandelwal

The Last Night of My Life – a short story by Nikita Goel


Rise and Shine – a touching mother’s musing about her daughter by Santosh Bakaya

Book Review

Defiant Dreams: Tales of Everyday Divas – A Book Review – by Maya Khandelwal

Maya Khandelwal is a free-lancer and a language teacher by profession. Rest she is a mother of two children and can be their best pal when the fun cap is on. She is a passionate lover of nature and can commune with it for hours at a stretch. She loves rains and can't resist the sacred drops drench her entire being. Nature, in its various guises, soothes her best in pensive mood. A romantic person at heart, she would often cuddle around her hubby and snatch a 'yes' for a long drive and a 'dhaba' tea whenever it drizzles. She loves soft numbers sung especially by Jagjit Singh. She derives her wells of strength from her husband who has been the proverbial rock in her life. A practical man with business running in his veins like blood, he too has been coloured in the hues of romance after the conjugal bliss of ten years with her. She doesn't hold God in awe. She rather loves Him like she would love her Dad who always understands and listens.
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Today’s Motivation

<div class=at-above-post addthis_tool data-url=></div>Restricted patterns of thoughts penetrate our efforts and constrain our existence which stops our development. Phases in our life are like the plateaus (highlands), the steps towards success.  We should not remain on the steps; to progress, we must go beyond them.<!-- AddThis Advanced Settings above via filter on get_the_excerpt --><!-- AddThis Advanced Settings below via filter on get_the_excerpt --><!-- AddThis Advanced Settings generic via filter on get_the_excerpt --><!-- AddThis Share Buttons above via filter on get_the_excerpt --><!-- AddThis Share Buttons below via filter on get_the_excerpt --><div class=at-below-post addthis_tool data-url=></div><!-- AddThis Share Buttons generic via filter on get_the_excerpt -->
Restricted patterns of thoughts penetrate our efforts and constrain our existence which stops our development. Phases in our life are like the plateaus (highlands), the steps towards success. We should not remain on the steps; to progress, we must go beyond them.