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Srilaaji: The Gilded Life and Longings of a Marwari Goodwife

Nominated | Book Awards 2021 | Creative Writing in English (Fiction & Poetry)

Srilaaji: The Gilded Life and Longings of a Marwari Goodwife

Author: Shobhaa De
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Award Category: Creative Writing in English (Fiction & Poetry)
About the Book: 

The untamed, incandescent and battle-ready Srilaa grows up in her wealthy Marwari family’s palatial house in Calcutta. After suffering her first heartbreak at the hands of a potential suitor, she is married and packed off to Bombay to live with her new husband. There she experiences womanhood and confronts her sexual curiosities, misgivings and desires, but continues to hope daringly and love fearlessly—refusing to live her life by the unrealistic standards society often sets on unconventional women. The young and vivacious Srilaa slowly but assuredly becomes the inimitable Srilaaji! And each time life starts crumbling around her, she manages to pick herself up … and from the ashes of an uncertain life, a phoenix rises.

Told with Shobhaa De’s matchless blend of candour, humour and seductive earthiness, Srilaaji captures the soul of an indomitable spirit. A book that simmers and erupts at will, and presents us with one of the most unforgettable protagonists in years – the utterly delicious Srilaaji.

About the Author: 

Shobhaa De is a widely read author and columnist. She is known for her outspoken, irreverent views, making her one of India's most respected opinion shapers. Her writings have consistently chronicled her deeply felt socio-political-cultural concerns.


Ma was my biggest weakness. And the most troubling mystery in my life. Nobody wanted to provide any clues when I asked even simple questions. The answers used to be studiedly vague and evasive. Buaji’s starched and controlled expression used to change at the mention of Ma. Chumkididi would look at me beseechingly and say, ‘I know nothing!’ Asking Babuji was not an option. I desperately wanted to know—everything—or even a little. There was a portrait of Ma, painted by some famous artist. I would gaze into her expressionless eyes, and try and find a clue or two. There was also an ornate silver frame with her wedding photograph. She looked beautiful, in a tragic sort of way … a little betrayed and lost. She was sixteen or so at the time. Like I was at my betrothal.

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