Saturday, May 18, 2013

Book Review: Legacy: Letters from eminent parents to their daughters by Sudha Menon

Title: Legacy: Letters from eminent parents to their daughters
Author: Sudha Menon
Publisher: Random House India
Pages: 272
Price: Rs 399
Genre: Non Fiction / Essays / Letters / Journals
Rating: 9/10
Format: Hardbound

When I first read about this book, I was instantly drawn to it. Distinguished people writing letters to their daughters; the concept appealed to me dearly. It held a lot of potential to learn and be inspired. I was also curious about what lessons or advice these high achievers would pass on to their daughters.

The book lived up to its promise.

I loved the cover page instantly. It has a warm appeal to it. Foreword is by Kiran Mazumdar Shaw. It is inspiring to read her write about her unconventional choice of career, encouraged by her father, and struggle during the initial years as a lady brewer in a man’s world.

Notes by Deepika Padukone and Nandita Das to their respective famous dads, on the insides of the cover, are heartwarming.

The book is quite well-organized. The writers have been featured in the alphabetical order of their names. Each letter is preceded by a note about the person writing the letter, which beautifully sets the mood for the letter and helps the reader relate to the letter in a better way. Each letter is a reflection of the letter writer’s own journey through life, his learnings and values that he or she holds close.

Ajay Piramal, Amit Chandra, Capt. Gopinath, Chanda Kochhar, Deep Anand, Ganesh Natarajan, Jatin Das,, Kishore Biyani, K.V. Kamath, Mallika Sarabhai, Narayana Murthy, Pradeep Bhargava, Prakash Padukone, P.P. Chhabria, Renuka Ramnath, Sanjeev Kapoor, Shaheen Mistri and Zia Modi make the 18 personalities who have contributed in this book to pass on the legacy of learnings, values, beliefs and wisdom, not only to their own daughters but to inspire all the Indian women at large.

Chanda Kochhar thinks adaptability is a great quality to possess, while Captain Gopinath demonstrates by his own life to reinvent oneself constantly; Amit Chandra highlights the power of wealth and how not to get carried away with it, while Kishore Biyani stresses on the importance of people, relationships and human behavior; Mallika Sarabhai advises her daughter to be fearless about what she can do while Shaheen Mistri crafts a beautiful poem for her daughters about empathy and equality – there are several such gems in the book.

Though each letter is a lesson in life-skills, my personal favorites are letters by Captain Gopinath and Kishore Biyani. I was pleasantly surprised at the modern outlook of Mr Biyani when he is perceived as rooted in traditions. He came across as a very open-minded individual who held both his daughters in high esteem for their capabilities. Captain Gopinath’s ability to rise from the ashes every time as a phoenix comes across very clearly. The way he reinvents himself constantly is exemplary for everyone.

What stands out is that each one of them is rooted in their past, stress on the importance of giving back to the society, the need to be there for the family, and shower love and respect on their daughters as independent and capable individuals.

It is easy to get intimidated by these stalwarts for their lofty achievements but when they write to their daughters, one gets to know their real, warm personalities and concerns of an ordinary parent.

I certainly recommend it wholeheartedly.

Review Book courtesy: Random House India
Image source: Random House India

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