In a small, closed community of Brahmins in twentieth-century South India, one ordinary woman conforming to the common practices of her time and place must adapt to a curious world of plentitude, inhabited by strangers.
At the tender age of twelve, beautiful Rukmini, the daughter of a village priest, is married off to Sarangan, a sophisticated, urban journalist seventeen years her senior. Although curious about this man who would be taking her away from the only life she’s known, Rukmini has been taught to bridle her questions while treating her parents’ intentions as her own. Though scared and lonely, she comes to love this benevolent stranger, and finds happiness as a young wife and mother. Thus begins her life of security and affluence.
Sarangan’s own personal losses have made him wary of any bad luck or fate that might separate him from Rukmini. wHen tragedy strikes Rukmini is left alone to fend for herself and her two young children, navigating the outside world in an era when a woman alone had no social or economic opportunities in Indian society. After raising her children to be succeessful adults, she again ends up alone. Her now-grown grandchildren find her in an ashram and bring her to America.
In this poignant debut, S. Priyadarsini weaves an intricate tale of a woman’s search for love, acceptance, and survival in an often hostile and unforgiving conservative society where a woman is a mere extension of her father, husband, or son—seen but not heard.
This heart-warming story is a collage of the experiences of Indian women who are married as children and often face lonely widowhood. In spite of their circumscribed lives, most women exhibit love, courage, and resilience while persisting against common practices of their era. Rukmini's tale is an entertaining and enlightening story of a woman 's search for love, acceptance, and survival in an often hostile world.