Is there a woman who hasn’t carried a huge sack of guilt while going about the business of living her life? Whether she chooses to be a homemaker or prefers working outside her home, guilt is her constant companion. Under a scanner (her own and that of a scrutinising crew consisting of family, friends, colleagues), and conditioned by mythology, history and culture to be perfect, exhaustion is a common enough outcome. So, what does a woman do? In the age of “hashtag feminism, from #MeToo to #TimesUp,” when there is greater awareness about women’s issues, but not necessarily, diminished expectations, how does a woman feel comfortable in her own skin, and not dim her light or shrink so as to not outshine others, not be apologetic about her brilliance, and make the choices she is entitled to without being judged? Or better still, what should she not do, what should she avoid, sidestep, remember and forget?

Some of the sparkling advice comes from achievers like Naina Lal Kidwai, Arianna Hufffington, Sudha Murty, Rohini Nilekani, Smriti Irani and Twinkle Khanna.

Acknowledging and lauding women for having it in their DNA to get on with it, no matter what, author Kaveree Bamzai states right at the outset that this is not a self-help book. It has no pat answers, but it has learnings from the author’s own experiences, insights from her friends—women of tremendous accomplishments—all of whom charted their own routes. Some of the sparkling advice comes from achievers like Naina Lal Kidwai, Arianna Hufffington, Sudha Murty, Rohini Nilekani, Smriti Irani and Twinkle Khanna.

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With remarkable candour and humour, Bamzai touches upon a range of subjects like work-life balance, female rage, money management, motherhood, tackling pain and grief, health, the power of faith, dealing with social media, creating a network, growing old, and never ever giving up work. Laying bare her own vulnerabilities, Bamzai also reveals that she sought guidance from books, TED talks, from the people around her and from every relatable and reliable source that enriched her and made her own struggle worthwhile and better.

With remarkable candour and humour, Bamzai touches upon a range of subjects like work-life balance, female rage, money management, motherhood, tackling pain and grief, health, the power of faith, dealing with social media, creating a network, growing old, and never ever giving up work.

Being the first woman editor of one of India’s largest newsmagazines, a wife, and mother of two boys and two dogs, Bamzai has a rich repository of experiences to draw from. With an honest and earnest sharing of pragmatic life lessons minus the didactic or condescending air, the book is an exhortation to women to reach out and give a little, to unabashedly pursue their dreams, to stop being apologetic, to create their own brand of feminism, and to have no regrets whatsoever. It salutes mothers who, despite all odds, have our back, always, it hails women who show the persistence to stay on course, it goads us to try and comprehend the nuances of our extended families, to eat right, move often, and engage or minds, to keep searching for meaning in our lives.

A breezy, thought-provoking read, with empowering observations, and a spirit of sisterhood, what makes the book extra special is the comprehensive list of references—a treasure trove to dig into, and a cover that has a pleasing retro feel. It’s also a wonderful go-to guide that holds the promise of a good life.

No Regrets – Author: Kaveree Bamzai

Publisher: HarperCollins

Image Credit: HarperCollins/Kaveree Bamzai

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The views expressed are the author’s own.

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