Indrani Mukerjea was arrested for the murder of her daughter Sheena Bora, on August 25, 2015. The next day was Vidhie Mukherjea’s, her daughter, 18th birthday and she was due to go to university a couple of weeks after.
On that day, both her parents Indrani and Peter Mukerjea were arrested. She did not know what to do or how to feel and a defence mechanism within her prompted her to completely shut off. She was exposed to this situation where her mother was talked about as a murderer and her father were also in jail, for helping her mother.
After a mental health crisis and a violent relationship with her mother, Vidhie Mukerjea got the courage to jot down what she went through and how she overcame the situation. It is compiled in her book, Devil’s Daughter.
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When the words devil’s daughter come together most people assume that she is talking about a specific person. But to Vidhie Mukerjea, it is a title open for interpretation by the reader. While talking about her book, Vidhie Mukherjea told Shaili Chopra, the founder of SheThePeople, “The words are like a metaphor for me, it is truly how I felt and was looked at by many people like the media, the law and it’s ultimately how I started viewing myself.”
A “cathartic release”
Mukerjea started writing this book last year. Five years have passed since the arrest of her mother took place and she came to know her aunt Sheena Bora was actually her sister. In the past few years, she understood herself and her family members in-depth but when she started writing the book, she did not know if she would release it for the people to read.
Although after she finished the book, she flipped through the tough and painful memories caused by loved ones and revisited the days when she could not get out of bed or remained panic-stricken. She realised that there might be others like her, who are going through this and her book might be a help to them all.
“People have different issues at surface level but anxiety is the same and so are the suicidal thoughts. Thus we all need the same kind of healing underneath,” she said.
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Throughout the years, she saw different therapists and one of them helped her to organise her thoughts. When she started writing the book, she was forced to revisit several different aspects of her life that she had completely shut out.
It was then that she came across a concept called shadow work, which is working completely by oneself. It is an intrusive and tough process to go through.
“I did it for four months and I confronted and accessed the darkest parts of self, your shadow self, your anxieties, your repressed pasts. Most of the time we all present what we want someone to see and we do not even know ourselves. In this process, all of it comes out flaws and negative behaviour. It gives a shock to the system as you do not want to accept any of these,” she said. Thinking about her mother, childhood and Sheena, forced her to take days off from writing the book.
Even while confronting the incidents, she was unable to accept the entire topic about her sister Sheena Bora, with whom she shared an “unspoken connection.” “We were like sisters, we kind of understood each other even though I was young and this was years ago. These are things that I have not confronted or accepted,” she said.
Her Relation With Indrani Mukerjea
Talking about her relationship with her mother, she disclosed that it was not easy as her mother was always stressed and she was not the easiest kid to deal with. Vidhie said that she was “stubborn” and wanted to do the exact opposite of what her mother said.
“After the whole thing broke out, for the first three years I did not talk to her. I cut off communications with her and I chose not to understand her even though I had the opportunity. She (Indrani) did not have anyone as a kid or now. There was only me,” said Vidhie.
She took herself to empathise with her mother no matter what people’s judgement was on that. “At the end of the day she is my mother,” she said. Although there was a sense of betrayal within her.
“I have forgiven her but I have not forgotten. It is a gradual process. Forgiving her did more for me than for her because I was carrying around a big burden,” she said.
“A lot of people assume that I am okay in terms of mental health. I am much better than I was in the past few years but mental health is very prevalent throughout your entire life. I think we need to be aware of it,” she said.