Shoba Narayan’s new book tackles the everyday dilemma of immigrants in America.
In Shoba Narayan’s ‘Return to India’, India dons the role of a neurotic wife one must escape, and America becomes the lover one longs for. As the book runs its course, the roles don’t really change for the two countries. However, it becomes clear that the author has begun to look at India with romance and longing in her eyes.
Shoba Narayan takes the reader through her tumultuous relationship with her home country, and why as a twenty-something-under-grad she felt the desperate need to elope with her dreams. Through her days as a foreign fellow student at Mount Holyoke, she enjoys the laidback American lifestyle that she always longed for. She watches her friends, who moved with her to the US of A, become more unrecognisable as she explores academic venues in the land if opportunities. Years later, and with a toddler in tow, she waltzes around as a typical New York mama. But as she watches her child grow into an ABCD (American Born Confused Desi), the surge to evoke every ounce of her Indian-ness rises. A few months later, she wants out.
Retun to India is in every way a memoir, and as the author confesses – an exaggerated memoir. It talks about how a lover of everything America decides to call it quits and run back home. It does not deal with what happens once the return has happened but gives a detailed account of what pushes Shoba and her family to make the move and how they go about it. This one is an easy read with good comic timing.