Published by: Vintage Books, Random House India
Price: INR 199
On one hand this book deals with the body of cancer stricken Eve Ensler and her personal struggle with this most dreaded and gruesome disease, while on the other it deals with the metaphorical body of this world, which is being eaten away by the malignant tumor of the cumulative greed of mankind.
As a growing child, Eve suffered sexual torture at the hands of none other than her own father while her Mother stood by, a silent spectator. This understandably left an indelible scar on her mentally, physically and emotionally. She grew into a wild, wanton young woman seeking emotional succour through sexual gratification in the arms of innumerable lovers. In a bid to reconnect with her own mind and body, she embarked on a journey that took her to various countries where she met numerous women. Each woman had a story to tell of battered and bruised bodies and broken hearts. But the most spine chilling and gut wrenching stories she heard came from the women of the Congo—where the “systematic rape and torture of women was being employed as a military/corporate tactic to secure minerals.” The monstrous vision of global disassociation and greed that emerged was the catalyst that set her on her mission to help these women to safety while providing them an environment where they could heal and garner their collective strengths to realise their dreams. The City of Joy in the Congo bears testimony to the incessant efforts of the V-day family, friends and well wishers.
Although this is a book that deals with dark and disturbing things, it is also a book that believes in the innate goodness of mankind. It is a terrific attempt on the writer’s part to ‘find the poetry’ in an otherwise fatal condition. At one point in the book, Eve tells her friend “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone could be purged, somehow, of the projected not-them badness that they internalised and perhaps have acted out because their souls have been so damaged?”
Reading this book is like going on a journey where you are racked by varied emotions—awe, shame [at your own indifference], incredulity, sadness, horror… but the great thing is that it leaves you inspired—it gives us hope that we can be cleansed of our badness if only we would realise the irrevocable havoc we have wreaked and accept that the time has come for a great change.