A Life Less Ordinary

A Life Less Ordinary

Product ID: 18980

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Author: Baby Halder
Urvashi Butalia/
Publisher: Penguin
Year: 2006
Language: English
Pages: 195
ISBN/UPC (if available): 818901367X


This is the story of Baby Halder, a young woman working as a domestic help in a home in Delhi. Hurriedly married off at the age of twelve, a mother by the time she was fourteen, Baby writes movingly and evocatively of her life as a young girl, and later as a young woman. The long absences of her father, the hardships faced by her mother, and her decision to walk out of her marriage, leaving Baby and her sister to manage the household, were the realities that shaped Baby’s early life.

When marriage came, Baby, still a child, yearned to play and study, but was burdened with the responsibility of being wife and mother while facing considerable violence from her husband. Escape finally came many years later, by which time the still young Baby was a mother of three, and she fled to the city in the hope of finding a job. Working in Delhi as a domestic help, Baby was lucky enough to come across an employer who encouraged her to read-which she did voraciously-and then to write.

The story of Baby’s life is a lesson in courage and survival. Since it was first published in Hindi, this book has become a best-seller, receiving accolades from some of the best-known writers and critics in India and elsewhere. It has also been translated into other Indian languages.


One of the best subaltern autobiographies I have read.
-K Sachidanandan

The most remarkable thing about Baby’s unusual memoir is her self-portrait: her striking metamorphosis from an unreflecting, passive woman, into a writer capable of graphically evoking all the searing, suppressed memories that made up her life.
-Sheela Reddy, Outlook