Miranda's story is from the heart - everyone has read at some stage of the poverty, the slums of India, the lepers, the beggars, the water, the food too spicy for most but at the same time India is so vast that it can offer you a myriad choices. Whether one seeks the urban cosmopolitan style of Bombay or Delhi or the toned down life of Chennai or the agricultural communities which thrive all over India, there is something for everyone.
Miranda Kennedy embraces what India has to offer - she tries to understand the huge and I mean gigantic differences that exist between her American upbringing and those of girls of her own age around her. The double standards that prevail in society in the East for single, professional women is hard - specially hard when you do live in a family environment and where your actions can hurt the entire family. You have to think twice - there is also very little forgiveness or forgetting and what would be such a small, insignificant thing or behaviour would be totally unacceptable in India. The importance of family, extended family and obedience, sometimes blindly accepting what parents rule as law may be baffling to a Western mind taught from the cradle to think independently. Here one is just a cog of a wheel - and practically everyone toes the line however educated you may be or however broad minded you may appear to be.
Miranda's career takes off on a shaky note but she does establish herself after her rocky start. After a successful term in Delhi she returns to America happy with what she has done. That was the nice part. The author took it as a sojourn from her everyday life and that this was an experience that was different and enjoyable - uncomfortable experiences and all.
This was my last read for 2011 - I have a stack of books to read this weekend. Everyone gets back to work only on the 3rd of January so its a long weekend as well.
A very happy new year to all.