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Blog at Jains - Review of She & Me

Bhavarlal H. Jain, the founder and chairman of Jain Irrigation Systems Ltd, is widely known as the man who changed the lives of millions of Indian farmers through his pioneering work in the field of micro–irrigation. He has written a number of books in Marathi and English. This book was originally published in Marathi as Ti ani Mi, and went on to become a bestseller. The book has also been translated into Hindi.
There is a saying that one cannot judge a book by its cover. But in this case, it is just the opposite. Readers who are familiar with the author’s earlier book (The Enlightened Entrepreneur) would agree. In this book, She & Me, the cover is even better illustrated and more candid. That is why the title of the book is not She & I, but She & Me; the ‘I’ takes a backseat. It is a journey of togetherness. The book is the saga of the author Bhavarlal H Jain’s deceased wife Kantabai. But it does not simply become a love saga. Rather it elevates to a higher disposition: the importance of joint family and thoughtful life partner. For example, his analysis of sanctity of a joint family vis–à–vis the hypocrisy of a nuclear family hits the nail on its head. In the process, the book keeps meandering to then and now.
True to the title, the book is a searing account of Jain’s passion and compassion for Kantabai. A wife, daughter–in–law and mother, it was a tough life for Kantabai. Balancing between a large family and the ambition of a husband who grew from a small–time kerosene oil trader to the head of one of India’s largest business conglomerates, Kantabai’s contribution is felt everywhere. Jain’s portrayal of her as an ideal partner, a soul mate and not just wife, is not forced upon his readers. It radiates through his outspoken views that has taken potshots at things like dowry indulged by his own family.
Similarly, Kantabai’s views that education is what transforms housewives into home makers, equipped as they are with better insight and training is enlightening. Or, her other view, ‘looking after the elders in the family is gratitude, not servitude.’ Such sagacity in today’s parlance might be viewed with skepticism or sheer denouncement, but that the original work, in Marathi, is a bestseller clearly implies that there are significant number of buyers for such time–tested judiciousness. Herein rest the hope that good taste and Sanskaar still prevail. Certain traits are inherent in a culture like this word Sanskaar that does not have an English equivalent.
It is difficult to write a book which engagingly talks of one’s values and culture without being preachy. That it is anecdotal helps, but there is something more that prompts the words of wisdom to effortlessly wade across its readers. And that is the thought. Here he gives a fresh food for thought on that evergreen concept of relationship: Any great relationship, including marriage, is about two main things. The first is to discover the similarities and the second is to respect the differences. In that sense, married life is a journey of thoughts, ideas and adjustments as much as it is a journey in time. How come we never thought of relationship in this manner? It is like we have somewhat heard it before but never listened to it till now through this book. It is as if such a world exists but in the superficial world that we inhabit, we obviously never fathom.
There are very few books that one can truly gift to another that will stand the test of time. She & Me, by Bhavarlal Jain, is one of them. It comes with a return gift, the making of that little known ethnic Marwadi delicacy called Dupdi!

The book is available for purchase online at: or at the nearest bookstore.