Return to India by Shoba Narayan

16029866I heard Shoba Narayan talk about her book in an interview on the radio. She mentioned how she missed the security of her extended family in India during her daughters’ growing up years in the US. That is when I decided to buy this book.

In this memoir, Shoba Narayan talks about her dream to get to America, away from people who know her. She describes her various experiences in the process: while obtaining a visa, her conversation with her grandfather before she leaves, her shopping trip in Chennai, her parents’ unwillingness to send her, getting the dollars for her trip, the life of her fellow Indian students who also travel to America at the same time as her.

She mentions about her traditional wedding in India (she has described it in her previous memoir- Monsoon Diary) and her registered marriage in the US to enable her to obtain a Marriage Certificate so that she could apply for a green card. Her adjusting to a married life, applying for a green card so that she could work, throwing the green card with the trash and then rummaging through the dumpster to look for the green card is very nicely and sweetly described. I could actually picturise it. She mentions about the birth of her first daughter, naming her daughter and her life in New York with a small child.

Her thoughts start changing after her daughter is born. Her mention about the lengths at which she goes to make her daughter learn the Indian values is very natural, her group, Saregama, with fellow Indian mothers to teach the children bhajans, her daughter’s interview for the Indian camp, how she drags her family to the temple, wears a sari for the whole day for a month and so on. She feels that the influence of mixed cultures might not be good for her daughter.

When she realizes that many of her fellow Indians are moving back to India, she starts thinking about it. Her husband is opposed to the idea. She writes about their discussions, disagreements and their agreements. Slowly, things start falling into place and they move back to India after living in the US for about 20 years.

Overall, an interesting read.

Book Source: Bought

Publisher: Rupa

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