Author: Tina Sequeria
Genre: Short Stories
Cover: Whoever said ‘never judge a book by its cover’ has not come across this book yet. For the longest time, I kept admiring the cover, it took me a while to get over it.
About the Author: Tina Sequeira is an award-winning author and blogger. Bhumi is her second book, her first book is ´Soul Sojourn‘. To read more about her, you can hop on to her blog here- http://thetinaedit.com
About the book: The book celebrates the spirits of womanhood. Tina has curated 26 short stories in the book. She portrays women’s struggle, survival, and hope. An eclectic collection of stories of real women who have desires, dreams, and means to make their dreams come true. These women are brave, independent and strong. You applaud when they overcome their struggle with dignity and grace. You laugh and cry with them because you know and understand them.
Review: (I strongly urge you to read the book first and then read the review as there are a few spoilers).
The word Bhumi means ‘mother earth’ and as Tina explains in the second story of the book –
I draw parallels
between the two Bhumis – our universal
nurturer and biological mother. Our planet
faces grave environment threat in the form of
climate change, endangered species, waste disposal
and more owing to our sheer negligence
The first story ‘Amma’ would surprise you. You may question what a father’s story is doing amidst the tales of women. Well, I asked the same question. Tina beautifully reveals the secret why the father rightfully deserves to be the protagonist of this story titled ‘Amma’. It stands out as one of my favorite stories of the collection.
Crazy Courage- Saira realizes her own strength and refuses to allow her daughter to be raised in a family and society with regressive mentality. My favorite quote from the story is – “my streak of craziness has saved me from extinction”.
Fat chance– You root for Ira when she deals with depression, weight issues, body shaming, lack of self-confidence. I went “Waah’ when she deletes her profile from shadi.com and joins tinder & “Ahh” when she throws the weighing scale out of her window from her 13th floor” (I imagined it falling on somebody’s head.. :D)
Naked Illusions– The story starts with a girl in the trash. A woman named ‘Munni’ picks up the girl, takes her home and names her Rosie. You are happy to read ‘one man’s trash is another’s treasure’. But then Munni breaks Rosie’s heart (and yours too) by selling her to a brothel. It’s one thing to be betrayed by a man, it’s another to be betrayed by a woman and especially the one you call your mother. I root for Rosie and I am happy that she finds some moments of happiness towards the end.
Unbridled: Tina portrays a Feminist character with Ramona or Lady Ra Ra. Some funny wordplay, along with strong feminist views make it one of my favorite stories of this anthology.
Hush: This story makes a strong statement with “hold your head high as you bleed power… you bleed life… you bleed love”. Grey- Some wisdom nuggets we get from Ammamma – YOLO gyaan & “Be wild but also wise”. Ending- the tale of a forbidden fruit and my favorite quote of the story is “love is a myth”.
Tina in ‘Bhumi’ talks about several issues that women face e.g. body shaming, eve-teasing, being judged, late marriage, menstrual taboos, gender discrimination, blackmailing, physical- assault, rape, slut-shaming, infanticide etc. Each issue is dealt with the sensitivity that it demands and deserves. I believe, the sensitivity comes from an inner place of the author who respects women around her and the woman inside her.
I recommend Bhumi- You can download the book free- here