A Life Less Ordinary

Baby Halder

pages July 2006 Original publisher: Original Publisher: Zubaan /Penguin IndiaMemoir

The stirring memoir of an Indian domestic servant that has been compared to Angela’s Ashes

Written on a notepad in moments snatched between her domestic duties, Baby Halder’s memoir recounts the hardships and struggles of her life as a poor woman in India; her mother walked out when she was four, her father beat her, her sister was murdered by her husband, she was married off to an abusive man over twice her age at twelve and pregnant at thirteen. Two more children followed in quick succession and Baby found herself trapped in the sort of miserable existence that is sadly commonplace. But when one of her employers found her leafing through his Bengali books as she was dusting, he told her to borrow whatever she wanted, and encouraged her to put pen to paper herself. Initially hesitant, Baby soon found great release in writing, and the remarkable outcome is A Life Less Ordinary. Written in a raw but compelling style, this is a unique insight into a segment of Indian society that too rarely has a voice. Initially published in Hindi, A Life Less Ordinary has been translated into several other Indian dialects and has sold over 10 000 copies in India.