On Balance an Autobiography MOBI Ý On Balance Epub /

On Balance an Autobiography Some books march uninvited into the room tooting their own horn They bellow loudly and rhetorically about their greatness while all you are trying to do is enjoy a horrendously sappy Hindi movie or search for that lost bookmark that you had stolen from a friend In between the sounds of loud cymbal clashing the book will boast that the New York Times called it a real tour de force or a prophetic novel celebrating the triumph of righteous dissidence If you stay adamant the book will play dirty and remind you in an admonitory tone that it deals with that dreadful Holocaust or Pol Pot's Cambodia or some remote place in occupied Palestine and the injustices committed by the Israeli troops So if you are not interested in THAT you must be a Very Bad Person Other books meanwhile tiptoe into the room You don't even realise their presence until they gently murmur in your ear to please pass the popcorn More often than not such books wear strangely dull outfits You know the kind of clothes that some people wear hoping that they would not be noticed No bright colours shiny stars cute unicorns or strange cover fonts for them It's a bit like the 11 year old Harry Potter when he first joined school Famous and very special but ridiculously modest and self deprecating On Balance is the Harry Potter in his first year at Hogwarts kind of book It is not at all what I had expected it to be like Two weeks ago if someone had asked me to read a 500 page autobiography I would have run away like a gazelle attacked at a watering hole However On Balance is much that just a meandering autobiography Any book that made me up stay up all night to read it something that I hadn't done for the past couple of years deserves a 55 rating especially if it's non fictionThe first time I read about Leila Seth in some trivia book there was the usual uestion about her being India's first woman Chief Justice of a state my mind immediately suealed Ooooh Vikram Seth's mother On the other hand the first time I showed my father my signed copy of The Golden Gate he looked at the author's name and said Isn't this man Justice Leila Seth's son? Perhaps a certain generation will always think of Vikram Seth in those terms After reading this book I believe that so will I Leila Seth is not just the mother of one of the most brilliant writers of our times Yeah sure she has a star kid but she also has a remarkable success story of her own first woman judge of the Delhi High Court first woman Chief Justice of a State and the first woman to top the Bar examinations in LondonI mean really wow Leila Seth can really sneak up on you and scribble out a book that you cannot or do not want to put down In a largely male dominated profession especially in her times she held her own and refused to be typecast by not fighting only women's cases Instead she competed with her male colleagues and fought all kinds of cases right from criminal ones to those dealing with tax matters constitutional law and litigation The book also gives a very interesting account of the legal profession It not only provides insights into the prevalent gender bias but also talks about the painfully slow paced Indian courts increasing corruption in judiciary and the rampant favouritism in certain spheres Besides her career Ms Seth talks about her family the loss of a child interesting travels uirky habits gardening arbitration and law commission and so on It is evident that taking care of a family and establishing a successful career must have been difficult for her particularly in an age when working women were incredibly rare There is a hilarious anecdote about lots of people from rural Haryana on a trip to Delhi especially visiting the courtroom because they wanted to goggle at her a female judge However she managed not only to have a happy married life and raise three ridiculously talented children but also rose to one of the highest positions in her career I love the fact that she has compiled this book with wrenching honesty right from talking about the bisexuality of Vikram Seth to the implication of her husband on false charges and her peacenik son Shantum's experiments with magic mushrooms and activism as well as his short stay in jail The book is also peppered with many interesting vignettes There is the funny but understandable concern of a mother whose colleagues at the Delhi High Court would badger her about her children not settling down and the hilarious dismissal of Vikram Seth by their family driver as someone who was reading and writing and sleeping and eating and living off his parents And somehow the insane amount of intelligence and the wonderfully unconventional life paths of the Seth siblings forcefully remind me of Salinger's Glass family This is the kind of rare autobiography that you would want to read again I do not say that it is a great masterpiece of literature Rather it is about a life well lived and it is always good to read about something like that isn't it? Some women blaze the trail for the future generationsLeila Seth's life has been a true inspiration and she serves as the finest example of a woman who made her mark in history despite all oddsA truly delightful read When I told my Mum that anyone who does not read this book would be a fool of first waters her first uestion was How is it even possible for a biography to be that good? Yes often it is not possible for a biography to be that good In fact I am not a fan of the genre at all but maybe there is something about the Seths that makes them the best biographersmemoir writers in the world Maybe they are just born that way Ok Enough gushing over the Seth family Coming to the book and why you should read it a If you want to know how to be successful read 'On Balance' b If you want to know about post Independent India read 'On Balance' c To know how to have a successful family life read 'On Balance' dTo know how to raise children read 'On Balance'Above all if you want to know how to write the story of your life so that it can teach others something new something different read 'On Balance'In other words read it anyway You'd be missing on something if you don't Leila Seth proves that she is the mother of Vikram Seth in every sense of the word She has the his poetic ease and his brilliance or rather he has hersWith her exceptionally brilliant autobiography she shows that it doesn't take a miracle to be a successful career woman along with being a successful homemaker She is both a feminist and a supporter of family life She makes it clear that you can be a feminist without being a male basher without hating men or patriarchy that it's all about euality and balance This brilliant autobiography fully deserves all the praise it's got Leila Seth's claim to fame is being the first woman Chief Justice of an Indian state Himachal Pradesh She topped her Bar exams at London she was the fist woman to do that too Here's a small vignette from the book Leila had just been appointed a Judge in the Delhi High Court she was their first woman judge There was a lot of discussion on how to address her in court Should it 'My Lady' or the usual 'My Lord'? She was once judging a case along with a male judge She asked a uestion of a lawyer and he replied beginning 'My Lord' The male judge interrupted saying that the lawyer should address her as 'My Lady' The lawyer confused and uncomfortable turned to the male judge and responded to him as 'My Lord' and answered the uestion as though it had sprung from him I hope that made you laugh Not all of the book will though The heartbreaking chapter on Ira is just very very sad But the book is lovely I loved her descriptions of her gardens Please read this book Right away The first woman chief justice of a high court in India the first woman to top the bar examinations in London 73 years old Leila Seth has led a full life With candour and wit she tells of her taking up law studies because this could be combined with caring for her husband and son Intertwining family life with professional the author describes the years after her father's premature death It is an intricate amusing and charming rendering of her life It is perhaps as difficult to write a good life as to live one Lytton Strachey The first female chief justice of a high court in India The first woman to top the bar exams in London These are not the achievements of Leila Setha but are only placeholders for a full life rich with trials and celebration from both family and the legal profession As an autobiography On Balance is true to its name The narration is detailed without being wordy self perceptive without a hint of narcissism and introspective without compromising its confidence With eual parts drawn from her family and professional lives this book stands up amongst the crowded field of legal autobiographies due to its sensitivity warmth and graceThe book charts Leila Seth's life chronologically though towards the end some portions are arranged thematically It provides an insight into her schooling parental bonds and a marital life that witnesses an eual partnership between spouses She is proud of her children but not oblivious to their faults as a parent she illustrates the difficulty but also the joy of being a mother This book is not about Vikram Seth or how he wrote his award winning books but about a parent who provided a firm foundation for his imagination and works to gain flight A few weeks ago while hearing arguments in the Supreme Court a female lawyer a few years younger than me and someone from whose intellect and labour I benefit from often pointed out the uniue perceptions felt by a person who continuously faces discrimination As men men who may be progressive men who may understand the terrible stains of misogyny and may even act and ally to stem it such perception will forever be derivative When she pointed out discrimination not with visible markers such as the number of judges on the bench or the senior counsel invariably being men but the expectations all women have in a woman who argues in court Such a woman carries the hope aspirations and the pressure of performance A duty to excel a duty to other women As she said each time a woman argues in court I look at her and pray 'please do not fuck up'For all these reasons Leila Seth's book is a serious text worthy of a wide readership even if it exudes a certain sense of destiny of her mission Not only as a woman who balanced her home and her law practice or parented three children had a distinguished career as a high court judge but how she went beyond balance to attain excellence On Balance is refreshing it is shorn of tragedy or aggression It is not dull or self congratulatory There is uiet courage a sensibility to counter discrimination through labour and action It is bittersweet Just like mango chutney made by your favourite aunt This book is a treat not only for law students but for aspiring ambitious women of our nation Ex Chief Justice Leila Seth has been an Outlier all her life from being the first woman topper in law from Oxford way back in 1952 the first woman Judge of the Delhi High Court to being the first woman Chief Justice of a High Court in India She has even openly acknowledged the bisexual orientation of her son thereby creating a precedent for candor exhibited by a celebrity and a new platform for the common man to emulate I have been meaning to read this book for years and once I started I read it in a day because it's that compelling Seth was the first female Chief Justice in India and one of the most significant legal figures it has ever had; she also served on the Law Commission and was one of the first woman to be admitted to the Bar in Bihar and Calcutta She writes about all of that and also her family life and background with low key wit and passion I love many many many of the anecdotes but among my favourites is her story about going to fetch her exam results from the Times office in the mid 1950s in London having sat for her Bar finals An Indian solicitor friend jumped on her car bonnet on the way She thought that he had failed again and was trying to commit suicide by way of her car; what had actually happened was he had failed again but was so excited that she had come first of everyone who took the exam that year that he needed to tell her immediately She also takes the opportunity to tell many embarrassing stories about her son Vikram who as well as being a famous novelist also edited this book and notes one detail that really struck me As Chief Justice of Himachal she lived away from her family for a while and had an experience that very few women ever do a household run solely for her benefit She was entitled to a household staff and she was cooked for and cleaned for and had the driver come for her When her son arrived laden with revisions for A Suitable Boy the household started to revolve around him as is the way of how men are treated in society It's an interesting observation from a woman who was probably one of the most powerful women in India at the time This is a really good book and I'm very glad I read it Liela Seth is Vikram Seth's Mother And her exuisite writing is why we gave the genes sorted The literary appeal of the text the compelling absolute best prose and storytelling are top notch Only a refined story teller could write so effortlessly Her marriage the fire to study law against all odds her English influenced upbringing Her love for reading for justicing and marking history were uncommon and full of Vivacity I loved the book to pieces Her story is of bravery resilience open mindedness and acceptance of circumstances Her innate ualities are distinguished by her personality which offers so kick motivation She is one of the few women I consider as good as God It's only because of this book It showed me tremendous life lessons efficiently It will never leave me Her words will be simply ultimate and as close to my heart as fairness would deem fit This book is not about Vikram Seth or his homosexuality If you want to know about that it's not in this book This autobiography is about Leila Seth's life Her family her career her marriage 73 years of her lifetime The book is written in easy clear prose and you learn of this elegant woman her sensibilities her morality how she shaped her life managed its challenges I was particularly moved by her revelation of having a child simply to hand over to her brother wife who desired one after losing three of their own It takes courage pure affection selflessness to do that for anyone even your own brother The way she describes her relationships is the triumph of her life The way she is with her parents siblings husband children is spellbinding in its authenticity purity Her description of her career Made me snigger mostly It's India she's an educated woman only the obvious prejudices hypocrisies can be expected Yet the way she behaves in all the scenarios she's put in teaches you what it takes to be a person of integrity She inspires you to be positive be the best version of yourself A woman who deserves a lot of respect admiration


About the Author: Leila Seth

Born in Lucknow to an engineer of the railways in British India Leila Seth joined the Bar in 1959 She was the first woman to top the London Bar exams in 1958 She handled a large number of Tax matters Income Tax Sales Tax Excise and Customs Civil Company and Criminal cases as also Matrimonial suits and writ petitions In 1978 she was appointed as the first woman judge on the Delhi High Co


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