Book Review: The Lady with the Magic Lamp by Dr. Aswathy Rajan and Manju K Manohar

I have read many books on women that talk about empowerment, inspiration, motivation and other aspects. However, this is my first foray about a woman who was in the education field and won many awards for her work, including one award from the president of India.

Also I found this book quite relatable as I did my schooling from KV schools. So, when I found that the subject of the book (Dr. R. Rajammal) was associated with KVS, I was happy to read the book with full gusto. This is a work of non-fiction, part memoir and part autobiographical. The book narrates the life story of Dr. R. Rajammal, from childhood to retirement. She came from Badaga community from Tamil Nadu. Right since her early days, her family was trapped in poverty, all the more as her father was a big drunkard. When she was in school, her parents arranged her marriage. She somehow convinced her father who then allowed her for even higher education. While reading I could feel that a girl’s life was not simple that time in any part of the world. People labeled her as dark and black but she kept her focus on studies, she topped the school and did excellent in college.

Even though she started earning in her profession, she was not free to choose her life partner. She married a person of her choice and that made her ostracized from her community. Her parents did not accept her. And above all her husband turned a traitor, a dishonest man. When her son was born, no one came to her support from her family. She was rescued by Kannanji and Lalitha.

Dr. R. Rajammal was a famous figure in her field, and it was evident from the praises and letters that galore in the book. I enjoyed reading that part, I was overwhelmed to know how her students loved her. It’s a great reward for any teacher if her students remember her even after many years. In a true sense, Raji was a lady with the magic lamp. She converted all her weakness and miseries into strength and power. Reading such books give all of us hope and strength to fight off the evil forces that put obstacles in our life in achieving something big.

With lucid narration, the book is laced with stories and anecdotes from the life of Dr. R. Rajammal, in nutshell I found the book highly observing with its great message for all of us.

At the end of every chapter, the authors bring out the positive message from her magic lamp and life lessons for us. For instance, from chapter six, we get the following:

What she took from her magic lamp:

  • Resilience – evident when her husband left her with an infant.
  • Seeking forgiveness – evident when she went back to her village and sought the forgiveness of her elders.

Lessons that we authors learnt from this part of her life:

  • Before we make a decision, analyse the pros and cons.
  • Even if we make mistakes in life, it is ok. But we must correct our course and move on.
  • When a door closes, don’t keep starring at the closed door. Rather move on determinedly.
  • Don’t live in the past. Start taking steps towards our goals.

Get the book from Amazon/Kindle.

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