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10 thoughts on “Home to India

  1. Rachel Brown Rachel Brown says:

    A memoir of the author s teenage years in India during WWII Rau and her older sister grew up in London, but returned to Bombay with their mother when their diplomat father was stationed in South Africa They tried living in South Africa, but her mother packed them up when she went to a movie theatre and found a sign reading Indians, natives, and dogs are not allowed It s hard to review this in a way that differentiates it from the many other books about people grappling with cultural identi A memoir of the author s teenage years in India during WWII Rau and her older sister grew up in London, but returned to Bombay with their mother when their diplomat father was stationed in South Africa They tried living in South Africa, but her mother packed them up when she went to a movie theatre and found a sign reading Indians, natives, and dogs are not allowed It s hard to review this in a way that differentiates it from the many other books about people grappling with cultural identity and loyalty during a return to their homeland after a long separation I did particularly like this one, though It s not primarily a comedy, but there are many funny bits, often involving her deadpan sister and a grandfather who reinvents Descartes via musings on the existence or nonexistence of the Indian sweet on his plate Rau s ear for dialogue is as sharp as her observation of a country and cultures she sor less encountering as a newcomer, as she had left India when she was six.Unsurprisingly, she gets involved in the political scene Her mother is a friend of the politician and poet Sarojini Naidu, who comes across particularly vividly, reigning over a dinner party in a blouse printed with the cover of her favorite book She also meets Nehru a couple of times Rau captures the excitement of the political scene, as friends often call up to apologize in advance for missing dinner parties, as they ve decided to get arrested for civil disobedience instead.The book was published in 1944, when Rau was about 21 It feels very immediate, with little mediation by hindsight Her thoughts on politics and identity are honest and serious you can see her growing up intellectually as the book progresses.But though the content is weighty, the touch is light It s a quick, easy, enjoyable read I was not surprised to learn that Rau became quite a successful writer, author of a number of books and the film version of A Passage To India.


  2. Devon Devon says:

    I m not sure how to explain it, but reading her travel novels always gives me the sense that I would have loved to have been her friend Her insights and observations are so candid Of course, she s still very much writing for a Western audience with editors pushing and prodding her work in the direction they feel is most profitable On one hand, she has to lure the West into seeing India as a cosmopolitan country filled with promise on the other, she has to sell books.I could go on and on, but I m not sure how to explain it, but reading her travel novels always gives me the sense that I would have loved to have been her friend Her insights and observations are so candid Of course, she s still very much writing for a Western audience with editors pushing and prodding her work in the direction they feel is most profitable On one hand, she has to lure the West into seeing India as a cosmopolitan country filled with promise on the other, she has to sell books.I could go on and on, but The Postcolonial Careers of Santha Rama Rau goes into all of this very nicely and is an invaluable resource if you wish to read further into her life and career


  3. Helen Epstein Helen Epstein says:

    I have been reading the new eversion of this memoir and am delighted by its tone of voice and intimate depiction of a family of women in India during the second world war Santha Rama Rau is a witty, engaging story teller with an astute eye for personal foibles as well as state politics This is one of the first popular books by an Indian woman writer in the U.S.


  4. Barby Barby says:

    I had read this book when I was twelve or so and enjoyed it however, I think the historical content was somewhat beyond my scope of knowledge Rau shares her memories of returning to India at the beginning of WWII after spending a decade being educated in England The India to which she returns is strange to her, and she finds herself caught between two cultures Her family is prominent her father is a diplomat, and her mother is an activist Rau actually meets Nehru and hears Gandhi s speech I had read this book when I was twelve or so and enjoyed it however, I think the historical content was somewhat beyond my scope of knowledge Rau shares her memories of returning to India at the beginning of WWII after spending a decade being educated in England The India to which she returns is strange to her, and she finds herself caught between two cultures Her family is prominent her father is a diplomat, and her mother is an activist Rau actually meets Nehru and hears Gandhi s speech once again accepting leadership She gives us a glimpse of crucial time when India is struggling to remove itself from the British Empire and become a country in its own right


  5. Camille Cusumano Camille Cusumano says:

    I loved this little memoir and read it twice, wantingWritten just as WW II was in full force, its backdrop is the period leading up to India s violent, bloody independence from Great Britain The author, Indian born, has lived and studied in England from the age of 6 So when she, her mother, and sister return home to Bombay, India and its mannerisms are a bit foreign to her She is clearlywestern at age 16 but so hoping to embrace her Brahmin home land She scandalizes her grandmot I loved this little memoir and read it twice, wantingWritten just as WW II was in full force, its backdrop is the period leading up to India s violent, bloody independence from Great Britain The author, Indian born, has lived and studied in England from the age of 6 So when she, her mother, and sister return home to Bombay, India and its mannerisms are a bit foreign to her She is clearlywestern at age 16 but so hoping to embrace her Brahmin home land She scandalizes her grandmother by not being married or even close yet After all her grandmother was married off at age 9 Lots of culture clash like that and much of it is charming The author had to be only about 20 or 21 when she wrote this book with a degree of maturity, insight, and worldliness that is impressive and refreshing


  6. Jorge Jorge says:

    It was interested to learn from an Indian Brahmin how India was changing during WWII Her descriptions of the conflicts between generations and the changes that India would be experiencing were insightful Rama Rau, knew Gandhi and Nehru personally Although superficial, her perspective of the men were very interesting I got this book at a holiday church fair and it has sat on my self for a few years I am glad that I finally got to it.


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