Success holds no bias towards which class one belongs to. It knocks on the doors of anyone who has the grit and determination to work hard. Time and again we come across tales of fortitude and indomitable spirits that fight all odds to reach the mighty heights of success. The story of Baby Haldar is one such tale of invincible spirit.
Here’s the story of an author who doesn’t like being called one. Baby Haldar, the 41-year-old author, who works as a domestic help in Gurgaon, has three successful books to her credit. This is not all, her books have been translated in 12 foreign languages which include Japanese, German and French.
Baby’s brush with fame happened in the year 2006 when her first book A Life Less Ordinary grabbed everyone’s attention. Her employer of 16 years, Prabodh Kumar is also her literary mentor and translator. He is a retired professor of anthropology and is the grandson of the legendary king of Hindi literature Munshi Premchand.
As a househelp, Baby worked hard to fend for her kids and herself. However, love for books brought her world to a standstill. She loved reading the Bengali books from the bookshelf and soon she had read them all. Her interactions with Prof Kumar made him realise that she had a story to tell. That was when he gave her a notebook and pen and urged her to write.
Baby Halder was raised by an abusive father after her mother abandoned her at a tender age.
In between her intermittent schooling she was married off to a man twice her age. Marital rape, a child at the age of 13, and an abusive husband had done enough to shred her confidence. Yet she tugged on. Finally, when she could bear no more, she took a decision and walked out with her children and took a train from Durgapur, West Bengal to Delhi. After working as househelp for a meager salary in Delhi and surviving the biting cold winters, Baby found not just work but an opportunity and a mentor in Prof Kumar.
After becoming an author, Baby has traveled to cities like Paris and Frankfurt for her book tours and has been a part of many literary festivals. From the earnings of her books, she has built a house in Kolkata and plans to move back someday. While she has been praised by everyone for her writing , the one question they all ask her is why does she still work as a househelp. She simply says, “I cannot leave my employer who has been like a father figure in this entire journey.”
Her journey has truly been an incredible one. For someone who has barely studied upto STD 7, this feat is definitely commendable and even more so as a lot of people can relate to her stories and look forward to reading them. Her stories have been so powerful that her publisher Sanjay Bharti of Roshani Publishers decided to publish the book even if it lost him money.
Baby believes that being an author has been like a rebirth for her and she now feels more confident than ever about telling her stories to the world. Baby Haldar has definitely come a long way from ‘Aalo Aandhari’, her first book to ‘Ghare Ferar Path’, her latest book published in 2014.
Share this story of undeniable courage of a woman who survived hell and shone bright.