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Saturday, October 29, 2022

Woman of an uncertain age. By Priya Malhotra

The book is an eye opener - especially for women in the Asian community (maybe other communities too) who may live long in liberal communities but are bound by unwritten rules and expectations engrained by generations repeating the same mantra. Naina fiftyodd recently widowed two grown up professional children is struggling to cope with the "inevitability" and I like this "startlement" of death. There is no turning back, you just move on. sheexpected Harish to be with her for decades, a comforting security blanket who would take up all the insecurities, the barbs and issues of life. Taking the step to move to New York after being in the haven of New Jersey surrounded by over thirty Indian families who were familar was the first battle. Finding a low level job in an art gallery was a major plus for Naina, but even here she hid the actual work she did even from her children not wantung them to know the actual work she did. it was only after many years of grit and hard work and results of being promoted was she confident enough for her children to visit her at her place of work. The massive issue was when she developed feelings for the boyfriend of her daughter - Jai. ten years younger than her twelve years older than Amaya,she did the unthinkable revealing her feelings to him thinking it was reciprocated and being rebuffed brutally. the story then evolves into a hitherto little known area of online dating for the Asian single older woman. scandalous to many, unknownto many uncharted territory to many. Cultural barriers, stigma exists even amongst second generation Asians and it is difficult toerase. to those first generation Asian Americans it takes great courage to break the barriers and live your life the way you want to. Naina herself felt guilty at her ability to find and develop relationships which were making her happy, and fulfilled when her daughter and son wereboth failing in their quest to find partners. this was a emotiinal book dealing with peculiar, specific issues facedby only some people. This was seen in the attitude of Naina's American friends who could not figure out the need for hide and seek, for hiding evidence of a partner or a sexual relationship from family and friends. they could not comprehend at all and by including it in the story, the author was able to highlight the divide. this was for me a page turner, rich, varied, so symtomatic of the system itself and the unwritten rules in life. sent by Bedazzled Ink Publishing for an unbiased review courtesy of Netgalley.

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