3. Dulari – The Story of My Name


Dulari - The Story of My Name


Dulari – The Story of my Name

Six short stories

Dreaming of a life portrayed in Bollywood movies, eating grandma’s roti, melting away in the arms of your lover in the city park, meeting the man of your dreams on an airplane, migrating from Suriname to The Netherlands and back again, deciding to become the ‘other woman’ or not. And how a perception of the self unfolds when you are given the name Manthorni, meaning  ‘she who broke my heart‘.

The six women in Dulari – The story of my name are all at cross-roads in their lives or are looking back at an influential period in their past. The relationships and lives of these mothers, daughters, aunts and grandmothers are dominated by impossible love affairs, aggression and humiliation, the culture of silencing and oppressive values which travelled along from India via Suriname to the Netherlands. Marhé captures the true spirit of these women: she knows their passion, their doubts and the desperate desire to part forever from that which gives them love yet stifles them as well. The author gives a touching insight into the lives of ordinary women who find ways to hear their own voice and who subsequently gather enough courage to follow their own new-found voice.

Page by page the book emanates sense memories of Suriname – a homeland one cannot go home to again. The six women are woven into that society with their entire ‘yeye’ and ‘shakti’ – their entire being. Marhé’s stories take place in the Hindustani community but the challenges and the solutions the women wrestle with, often with great wit and mockery, are most certainly universal and timeless. The six stories in this book are an ode to the resilience of universal womanhood and could be happening everywhere in the world where women live, regardless of their social or economic status.

This book is dedicated: To all grandmothers and mothers, sisters and aunts, nieces, daughters and granddaughters and their husbands, brothers, nephews, sons and grandsons. Most of all to my own grandmothers, ‘nanie’ and ‘adji’, whose emotional DNA shall not refrain from flowing forcefully through my veins. They are a living memory to the shakti, the heavenly power and creative energy that is given to woman.

Nanie = maternal grandmother

Adji = paternal grandmother