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Emerging Identities

the women of ‘Not For You’

Johari Ba, Shanta and Pearl (Book One, pictured above) and later Mani, Shaku & Ana (Book Two).

These six women of Not For You are not merely names, they paint a picture. They are real. Because they were. They are.

Who were they? A refugee or runaway, a rebel, or a feminist? An insider or an outsider?


Born into a patriarchal culture where women remained second to the men who raised them or those who married them, these women followed their hearts, and tried to do it all.

Faced with denial in different aspects of life, limitations both personal and social became part of their vocabulary and routine.

Yet, they raised families, became important voices in their community, fought hard for what they believed in, and created impactful changes for the next generation.

Every action was deliberate.

Every decision was carefully orchestrated.

Faith, spirituality, and a strong sense of duty guided their words and deeds.

They often challenged convention.

Sometimes they succeeded, sometimes they failed.


But no matter the circumstance, their drive to become greater that their social and cultural designation fueled them.

Their deep-rooted convictions changed how others saw them, both men and women.

They fought for who they became and set the tone for who women became, after them.

They handled hearth and home, and intelligently influenced generations of women after them.

As their identities emerged, they became strong and iconic matriarchs of one family.

Embedded in the pages of Not For You are tales of personal struggles, and triumphs over adversity in small and incrementally meaningful ways.

Between 1880-2015, over 150 years, these books detail how the identity and definition of the ‘Indian woman’ morphed, all in one family. Their personalities evolved over time as they pushed the proverbial envelope further with each new generation. Uncover the many layers to their identities, their complex lives and read how they negotiated prevalent cultural norms to set the tone for the women who came after them.


Discover who these women truly were, and how they rose to become the embodiment of perseverance and beacons of grit, determination, and unconventional success, for one of their descendants: a 21st century author.

About the watercolors:

To pair with the narratives in both books, is a series of watercolors to embody each one of the important women in the book.

Depicted here are Johari Ba, Shanta and Pearl. Represented here as postcards, the graphics include poignant phrases that changed the course of their destiny. These black and white watercolors allow the women to rise from underneath sheaths of paper, grow from the imagination of the reader, and exist as who they became, as their true selves: strong, independent women who persevered.

To prevent plagiarism or misuse, web images are deliberately of low quality (dpi). High quality images may be available upon request.


Print (B/W): NFY Book Two

Print (Color): NFY Book Two


NG_BW 2020_rawai.jpg

Nandita Godbole
Once: botanist & landscape architect.
Now: personal chef, author, an artist, graphic designer, blogger, poet & potter!
Always: dreamer.

Loves fresh brewed chai, the crisp salty ocean breeze, watching monsoon rains & walking barefoot through cold mountain streams. 
Believes in the strength, positivity of the human spirit. Is spiritual but not a fanatic. 
Mom of one. Two, if she counts her husband.

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