Mother’s day is round the corner, and everyone is scurrying to buy gifts and flowers. Typically, it is a day set aside to pamper mothers. But the bond between the mother and child is sublime! Setting aside a separate day to mark the occasion is simply passé; at least according to me.
Author, Banani Das Bhar on the cover of her book
Motherhood is a phase of ones life that is probably experienced by everyone, even by men! The feeling not particularly restricted to a woman; simply because she births the child. But the very thought of caring for a child, and nurturing his/her way to adulthood, is motherhood. ‘Motherhood’ is an emotional bond that stems from the compassion and love a mother harbors for her child anchoring him/her through all the important events of their lives.
Very recently, I got in touch with Banani Das Dhar. Banani’s a debutant author, who has wonderfully penned down her experience during her pregnancy. At first, I thought it was just another pregnancy manual, and I was about to dismiss whatever she wrote. But something triggered, and I thought why not give it a try?
I looked at the emails and I realized that ‘Emotions and Elation’ was not really a pregnancy manual, but Banani has managed to give a detailed insight on transformational journey to motherhood! I decided to phone her and ask her some more, and I arrived at an approach that was singularly refreshing in its own right! “My book adopts a rather bucolic approach. The text has minimal edits, and is clearly defining of my mood swings during pregnancy. I was happy to be with myself at that time. It made me stronger as a person, and also helped me develop my writing skills.” In India, there is a weird myth that states; a woman can never be alone during pregnancy. She is to be cared for by her parents or her in-laws. “I am dearly loved by all three of my parents, and they understood my need to be by myself during this time,” adds Banani.
Banani and her family
“My doctor asked me to pen down a journal, giving detailed insights on everyday happenings during my pregnancy. My emotions swelled along with my pregnant belly. Hence, from writing a more technical account this journal transformed into a more personal one *wink.* My emotions and thoughts led on, giving impetus to free myself of the impending myths surrounding pregnancy,” quips Banani. The book records a detailed account on how Banani felt upon learning that she was to become a mother and onward till she birthed her bonny boy, Lakshya. What is even more interesting is that the book even renders a graphic account of what a to-be father goes through in these days. The father awaits the arrival of their bonny bundle with baited breath, and is quick on a heel to attend to all of Banani’s needs. After going through the pages of Banani’s book, I now understand why couples say, ‘We’re pregnant.’
Lakshya is almost a year old today and Banani has the most thoughtful gift to present to her son on his first birthday. The release of ‘Emotions and Elation’ is slated for the 1stof July 2018.
Author, Banani Das Dhar
I further inquired, how Banani got into writing? Banani is a trained Clinical Data Analyst. She aced in the academic space, and naturally took to science like how a fish takes to water. She grew up in the city of Bongaigaon (Assam). The city is known for its oil refinery. In 2007, Banani moved from Bongaigaon and made Bengaluru her home.
Banani has worked with a number of contract research organizations. She enjoyed the work in her initial years, but was soon gripped by the fact that her passions stemmed from elsewhere. “I found myself doing the same mundane tasks every single day,” adds Banani. She persisted continuing her work in the corporate ambit till one day it finally hit, that she wanted to QUIT!
“It all started unfolding when I was newly married back in 2014. My husband, Subhashish Dhar, a Senior SW QA Engineer, flew us to the United States on a little business trip. While he worked by the day, I had all the time in the world to go through my childhood memoirs that I carried along with me. I started bonding with words, and in just a little time I realized that I wanted to write. Here is where my husband steps in. He simply jolts me back to reality, and asks me to smell the coffee. He said that if I really wanted to pursue writing I was to read voraciously.” Banani started picking book after book to find her style. She gradually took to the pen and started writing. “To be honest writing didn’t come to me naturally but I kept on with it, till I stuck my chords with words, and I still find myself learning something new with every passing day.”
“After we got back to India in 2014, I found myself doing the same old thing again. My need to severe ties with the boring analyst job became even more pronounced. I would fuel my soul with the joy of blogging, something that I stumbled upon, on my return to India. Finally, when my husband and I went on a trekking trip to Uttrakhand in 2017, I managed to slip in the details of my plan of starting my own e-magazine. At first he looked perplexed when I sounded off my decision, but he thought it best to go with the flow and support me. I don’t think BananiVista would have been possible without his unending support and criticism.”
Banani started small, she started with a page that gave insight on food and Indian culture. With quickly spreading fame in the blogging space, Banani soon became an acclaimed travel and food blogger in Bengaluru city.
City of Bangalore
The start of BananiVista (The e-magazine) wasn’t really smooth sailing for Banani. Her husband, who is a fantastic companion and critique, guided her well, becoming that unconditional pillar of support that she could lean on at any time. She then started keying down short stories. Banani travelled across the length and breadth of the country to capture people’s emotions and beliefs. With her travel experiences, she got greater insights on culture. She would give her stories the required edge by interviewing people and understanding their dreams and aspirations and making theirs her very own source of inspiration. Gradually, she had enough material to put online, and go full swing on the digital space.
In the tête-à-tête with Banani, I have learnt that life is such an opportunity! It is important to take risks and traverse a different route specially if your heart calls for it. Take that leap in faith! It isn’t easy to chase your dreams as the roadblocks are seemingly unending. But when you arrive at your destination; a feeling of elation and fulfilment takes over imparting that inner strength giving way for the rest of your life ahead of you.
Written by Heer Kothari