The first woman Chief Justice of a High Court in India, the first woman Judge of the Delhi High Court, the first woman to top the Bar examinations in London: Leila Seth has led a full life. In this autobiography, Leila talks about its joyous as well as its difficult moments. Figuring prominently are her early years of homelessness and struggle, her straying into law while in England with her husband Premo, and later practising in Patna, Calcutta and Delhi; and her happy marriage of over fifty years, including the experience of bringing up three remarkable children: writer Vikram, Zen Buddhist dharmacharya Shantum and film-maker Aradhana.
Intertwining family life with professional, Leila movingly describes the years after her father's premature death when as children they were obliged to live with friends. There are also delightful vignettes: Premo and her turning an old mansion into a splendid home in Patna, Vikram's writing of the novel A Suitable Boy, Shantum's ordination as a Buddhist teacher by Thich Nhat Hanh and Aradhana's marriage to Peter, an Austrian diplomat, and work as art director on films like Earth and Water.
Intimate, intricate, charming and often amusing, On Balance presents a rich and heart-warming portrait of an exceptional woman, her family and her times.