An Intimate Portrait of a Nation's Remaking
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Reversing his parents' immigrant path, a young American-born writer returns to India and discovers an old country making itself new
Anand Giridharadas sensed something was afoot as his plane from America prepared to land in Bombay. An elderly passenger looked at him and said, "We're all trying to go that way," pointing to the rear. "You, you're going this way?"
Giridharadas was returning to the land of his ancestors, amid an unlikely economic boom. But he was interested less in its gold rush than in its cultural upheaval, as a new generation has sought to reconcile old traditions and customs with new ambitions and dreams.
In India Calling, Giridharadas brings to life the people and the dilemmas of India today, through the prism of his émigré family history and his childhood memories of India. He introduces us to entrepreneurs, radicals, industrialists, and religious seekers, but, most of all, to Indian families. He shows how parents and children, husbands and wives, cousins and siblings are reinventing relationships, bending the meaning of Indianness, and enduring the pangs of the old birthing the new.
Through their stories, and his own, he paints an intimate portrait of a country becoming modern while striving to remain itself.
A refreshing voice
A delightful read. A gifted writer who has been able to successfully surface nuances of a very (needlessly) complicated society. Unbalanced in the dominance of the male perspective. Perhaps a bit polyannish in it's expectation of large scale change in entrenched behaviors. The author does highlight the dominance of the past in attempts at blending of the old and new.
Good insights and anecdotes in early chapters.
Capturing the heart and soul of India
Anand Giridharadas has managed to paint a portrait of India in a way few have ever been able to do. Yet, it is more than a painting. It is a collection of verbal photographs revealing the heart and deep secrets of one of Asia's, if not the world's, most mysterious and intriguing places. Anand masterfully describes a country coming to grips with its future, present and past....and manages to show how Western influence is transforming (for better and for worse) into a nation of influence and affluence. Having visited India on several occasions, I quickly discovered Anand's writings bringing back memories of tea, humidity, humility, sorrow and joy. I once again tasted and lived India from the pages of a great book.