Wednesday, 7 December 2011


Dr. D. B. GAVANI Award winning writer Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni In her first full-length novel, The Mistress of spices, adopts a more complex strategy for portraying diasporic Identity. She makes use of fable in order to explore the various kinds of problems encountered by immigrants. Who come to the promised land of silver pavements and golden roofs. Divakaruni herself says for what reason, she has written this novel: "I wrote in a spirit of play, collapsing the divisions between the realistic world of twentieth century America and the timeless one of myth and magic in my attempt to create a modern fable."1 In this novel the first person narrative has been adopted from the perspective of Tilo or Tilotama, who has trained to extract the essence of the spices and make them to alleviate pain, solve problems and help people live better lives. The Mistress of spices -the deliberate gendering of the word to under cut the power associated with mastery supernatural powers is to be noted. She can presage disasters and look into the hearts of people, only in her hands "the spices sang back", her trainer, the 'old one', had told her signifying that Tilo would never be the submissive, compliant mistress thai she was expected to be. But Tilotama or Tilo as she calls herself, is not infallible sometimes the problems of the Diaspora are too convoluted for her to deal with. Tilo runs a spice store in Oakland, California. Where she has re created little India which boasts of all the spices that ever were even the lost ones. "I think I do not exaggerate when I say there is no other place in the world quite like this"2 She says of her store which attracts a large group of people for whom the place is reminiscent of home, a little oasis in their diasporic lives fraught with problems. The Mistress of spices feels that the Indians come to her store in quest of happiness: "All those voices, Hindioriya Assamese, Urdu, Tamil, English, layered one on the other like notes from tanpura, all those voices asking for happiness except no one seems to know where".3 But even within the structure of the fable Divakaruni has underscored opaque nature of national borders. The Mistress of spices is allowed by the powers that be to work magic only for the good of her own people- i.e., Indians. The others, they must go elsewhere for their need', the first mother, the senior perceptor, had warned her National boundaries become aggressive, all important in the Diaspora, as a way of defining identity, aliminality that marks the contours of one's experience, a platform for resisting co-optation by the dominant/hegemonic discourse. The spice store with its sacred, secret shelves functions as a geographical/textual space that is the repository of a monolithic national identity. The store represents a space for 'self indulgence'. "Dangerous for a brown people who come from elsewhere, to whom real Americans might say why?"4 The Mistress of spices is the benign spirit who hovers over Indians living in America. But for Divakaruni, assuaging the pain of diasporic life is more complex. Jaggi (Jagjit) is estranged and racially marked. A timid child, he is assaulted at school for not knowing English, for not belonging: "Talk English son of a bitch. Speak up nigger wetback asshole".5 Tilo's attempts at restoring confidence to the little boy combined with the pressures to conform transforms him into an aggressive young man who has been offered protection by a group of boys. In exchange they have asked him to 'carry this packet here, drop off this box there'. Jaggi is carrying out his duties conscientiously waiting to turn fourteen when he will get his coveted gift: "cold and black, shining and heavy with power in (his) hand, pulsing electric as life, as death (his) passport into real America."6 Tilo is shocked and wonders whether it is her spice-remedy, Jaggi's parents or America that have driven him to become a drug trafficker, who is perhaps on his way to becoming an armed gangster. The little boy has become jagjit by getting his back on those 'jeering voices, the spitting mouths, the hands; in the playground that had assaulted him. For every immigrant who makes it in America, assimilates and prospers economically. There are others who lose their jobs or worse, their children. In their introduction to an anthology of writings by South Asian in North America, Sunaina Maira and Rajni write: "For first -generation South Asians, issues of belonging become increasingly complicated the longer they stay in North America, and even more profoundly. Boundaries between ethnicities, class, gender and religion dissolve and re-emerge, as second generation South Asians....of contested identities and contested forms of belonging (or not belonging) in North America." The complexities of diasporic negotiations are underpinned by questions of identify, and Divakaruni novel tries to capture the nuances that contest the stereotypical images of South Asians as model minorities and unobtrusive citizens. The Mistress of spices offers a close look at a wide spectrum of Indians residing in the diaspora. Like in the composition of any community Indians too have the rich diasporic for whom perhaps the immigrant experience has been one of cultural dispossession and material acquisition: "The rich Indians descend from hills that twinkle brighter than stars..... Their cars gleam like waxed apples, glide like swans over the potholes outside my store." 8 But Tilo, the ministering angel, is more concerned with those who need her help. In continuum with the title, each chapter is named after a spice and discusses the trails and tribulations of an individual and the special characteristics of the spices for instance: "Each spice has day special to it..... color of day break and conch-shell sound. Turmeric the preserves, keeping foods safe in a land of.....heat and hunger. Turmeric the auspicious spice, placed on the....over coconuts at pujas, rubbed into borders of wedding saris."9 Thus, the reader gets the glimpses of spices into a range that surrounds the life of the diasporic Indian. Mrs. Ahuja's story is a story of dispossession. She left the settled, comfortable life at her father's house, when she was married to a violent man, an alcoholic who abuses her. Unhappy in domestic life, she wants to start again in America, but she cannot drown out those voices of conditioning that outlined womanly duties for her, 'the voices, we carried them all the way inside our heads". 10 The Mistress's tools can dismantle Ahuja's house but only when she, herself, is ready for the challenge; the Mistress helps Mrs. Ahuja She becomes Lalita by overthrowing the tyrannical structures that have weighed her down, compelled her to be brutally raped night after night by her husband. Lalita leaves her husbands and seeks refuge at abattered women's shelter. For Geeta, Tilo mixes several ingredients, ginger for deeper courage, fenugreek for healing breaks and 'amchur' for deciding right. Geeta's Predicament stems from the fact that, she is part of a paradigmatic diasporic family, where a clash between the first generation and second generation South Asians is inevitable. Her parents have 'given' plenty of independence, but they cannot accept her boy friend. In fact, they are horrified that, she would choose to be with a Chicano man and cut her off completely. Geeta, the second generation South Asian is not prepared for this volt face; she is shocked by the elements of reaction to Juan. Discussing the conflict between generations in the American Diaspora, Sunaina Maira and Rajni writes:"The relationship between the generations is complex and nuanced. Second - generation South Asians, having come of age in a post civil Rights era, often refuse to be treated as other by mainstream culture; at the same time many question the uncritical acceptance of the need for assimilation. The political involvement of the second generation, in its building of alliances with other people of color, often conflicts with the first generation's political agenda, which is typically more rooted in home - country interests". 11 For the second generation Indian like Geeta, the questions about identity are differently poised. She challenges continuous identification with patriarchal traditions which she associates with her grandfather. Tilo empathizes with Geeta, tries to assenge their pain and the novel tells us that she succeeds in restoring harmony within the family. Tilo or Tilotama, The Mistress of spices is really a young woman who is required by the dictates of the order to disguise herself as an old woman, thus accentuating her asexuality and inducing anonymity and restraint. She cannot be aware of her own body: "Once the Mistress has taken on her magic Mistress-body, she is never to look on her reflection again". 12 She is required to bury her own desires and prioritize those of others: "A Mistress must carve her own wanting out of her chest, must fill the hollow left behind with the needs of those she serves". 13 Tilo transgresses many boundaries for those who need her help, but she cannot be contained within this frame work. It is not hard to see that as in 'Arranged Marriage', Divakaruni is writing the script of women's rebellion against the pressure to suppress their desires and their bodies. The order of Mistresses clearly replicates patriarchal struggles and Tilo must be made to break free of them. She struggles with her own passions as she builds emotional relationship with a Native American man, whom she calls Raven. She transforms herself into a woman, feeling guilty about her "self indulgence", but decides to brave the retribution that she would have to face. At the level of body-politics, Tilo's re-formulations about her body, her desire to have a sexual relationship with Raven outside of institutional sanctions, go against the laws of the order of Mistresses. But, Tilo knows the danger, she is in. She can always sense it. Hence, she tells Raven, who wants to escape with her to an earthly Paradise: "Our love would never have lasted, for it was based upon fantasy, your and mine, of what it is to be Indian. To be American.... There is no earthly paradise. Except that we can make back there, in the soot, in the rubble, in the crisped-away flesh. In the guns and needles, the white drug dust, the young men and women lying down to dreams of wealth and power and wailing in cells, yes, in the hate, in the fear".14 However, the novel validates women's empowerment through articulation of their desires. As with her Protagonists in the shorts stories, Divakaruni argues for recognition of women's full control of their bodies. Once Tilo is in touch with her own sexuality, she can no longer assuage others pains or even see in to the future, but she can live the life of a young woman. The mistress has to extinguish herself in order that the woman find her voice, follow her desires and search for an identity outside of that of a ministering angel. She must leave her domain, the beautiful, organized spice store, in order to fulfill desire. At the end of the novel, Tilo becomes Maya, the young woman who has abandoned her special powers, "I who now have only myself to hold me up". 15 and found her new home through an act of cultural translation. The Mistress of spices adopts a more mature structural configuration in order to discuss the Diaspora. Each chapter contains a little vignette about an individual, about a cultural encounter. The stories are then braided together through the novel, the sublets shades caught and developments depicted. In the ways in which, the stories of lives are told and re-told, the text owes much too non- written cultural forms like story telling. A variety of cultural codes and icons are recognized as Tilo weaves her tapestry of different lives become implicated in the lives of Jaggi, Ahuja's wife, and Geeta, to name only a few. Sometimes Tilo asks the question that the audience would have verbalized. Discussing the role of the reader in a fictional form that parallels story telling, Abena Busia writes: "The act of reading becomes an exercise in identification – to recognize life experiences and historic transformations that point the way towards a celebration, a coming together attainable of the past, which are transformed into a gift for the future."16 Busia's comments made in the context of African American narratives are also applicable to the Indian context as well. This informal structure is significant as it woes those skeptical readers who may be alienated by the surreal nature of the central motif, a Prospero like figure solving the problems of diasporic Indians with spice concoctions. More importantly, the easy ambience that accompanies oral narratives allows the reader to almost interact, as it were, with the various characters in the novel and with the storyteller. Tilo, the form of the fable is effectively used in the novel. The 'fabulous' world of the mistress imparts a surreal quality to the novel; the order of the Mistress is and is not patriarchy; the structures overlap and specific histories coincide. One advantage of this literary model is that it continually confounds the category of realism; therefore the events in the novel cannot be processed as information. This is significant in a situation, where writers from South Asia and the Third world in general are mined for 'evidence' of oppression which can then be provided as 'proof of the regressive nature of these societies. Divakaruni's, The Mistress of spices refers its theme of magic realism, lengthy dialogues, and the characters, which touches the heart of the readers, as New Yorker Review Magazine says: "Divakaruni's prose is so pungent that it stains the page, yet beneath the sighs and smells of this brand of magic realism, she deftly introduces her true theme: how ability to accommodate desire enlivens not only the individual heart but a society cornered by change". 17 Divakaruni is fairly prolific as she has written many books in the past ten years: the market dynamics of the First world will make her work available to a large, cosmopolitan audience. Readings of her work produce new meanings and new sites of contestation. Therefore she cannot claim to be outside of the power struggling that revolves around the authenticity of voice within the Indian community in the diaspora. There are many versions of history being produced and the questions of history being produced and the questions of what's being said, by whom and who is representing who, becomes pertinent. However, Divakaruni's, The Mistress of spices gives plenty of sources on diasporic grounds. It enhances the Indian glory, into the past and present world. The intermingling of both cultures reflects more on Indian immigrants, who are curious of Indian land. The magical realism of the east, the exotic land viewed by western eyes, glance the Indian beauty of spices and their magic. The diasporic aspects which we come across in the Mistress of spices gives the sources of changing the names of characters, which the Indians all in alien shores, as Tilotama becomes Tilo, Jagjit becomes Jaggi, all these visions us the diasporic view, which we refer in this novel. Another basic and foremost aspect of diaspora is, Multiculturalism, as we have come across through the lives of Geeta, Jagjit and Mrs. Ahuja or Lalita. The South Asian diasporic writer, Chitra Divakaruni has attained considerable popularity and is sought after by the big publishing houses. This enhances the anxieties amongst critics and rightly so, as it points to voices that are not being heard or celebrated with same vigor. Divakaruni's texts are powerful and significant; they are particularly effective in mapping the contours of the new south Asian community in the United States. They provide a lens with which to view the struggle for identity amongst women and to develop a critique of patriarchal structures that organize the life of Indian Diasporas. Divakaruni provides all the Indian vision of cultural, traditional and moreover magical realism. Her immigrant experiences spells in her writings and evokes the Americans to see the richness of India and Indian spices, how they create magic in solving the problems of Indian Diasporas. The Problem of Immigrants: The problem of immigrants is always a pathetic world that creates the psyche of rootlessness and marginality moving from one homeland to another leading towards homelessness resulting in search for New Homes. Immigrant writers venture to investigate the discontent of new settlers making desperate attempts to seek their roots in distant cultural surrounding haunted by the lingering shadows of their homeland. Bill Ashcroft, an eminent postcolonial critic, has observes, "Whether it remains permanently disabling or, whether it becomes beginning of transformation of colonial discourse "is a pivot moment in post colonial cultures; since displacement turned into creative resistance" (Ashcroft: 3). Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni's The Mistress of Spices is basically a novel constructed on the lines of the technique of Magic Realism. In the background of myth, magic and romance, she presents a wide spectrum of the life and longing existing in the experiences of immigrants. The narrator in the novel is Tilo, a young woman born in another time in a faraway place. She is an expert in the ancient art of spices and is therefore respected as 'Mistress' charged with the special power of magic related with spices. With the passage of time she travels to Oakland, California where she manages a store of spices. She is well acquainted with the specific properties of each spice and recommends spices to her customers with meticulous advice of the curative value of those spices. In this galaxy of customers, once she gets fascinated with the personality of a young boy. With the romantic longing for him, She is supposed to lose control over her powers as the mistress of spices. Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni presents the 'store of spices' as the meeting point of all immigrants. She not only sells Indian spices to them but also inspires them to share their personal woes with her. The entire novel, The Mistress of Spices, has been classified with the names of different spices. In the early part of the novel, Tilo reveals her own past and her history of migration from the world of magic to the multicultural society of America. With all sympathy she shares the anguish and experience of immigrants who had chosen America as a land of their dreams. She declares her mission of life, "It seems right that I should have been here always, that I should understand without words their longing for the ways they chose to have behind when they chose America" (5). The very purpose of the store, she puts it, "The store is an excursion into the land of might have been. A self indulgence dangerous or a brown people who come from elsewhere to whom real Americans might say" (6). Through such an effort she seeks the fulfilment in her own life because her own vision of life is torn between the fragmentation of past and present. Divakaruni establishes that the twilight of "here' and 'there' hinders the process of 'wholeness'. It is said, "Space and Time takes on a complex significance because they are not fixed dimensions. There is an interplay between the memory of "there" and the time of "here". (Yocum, 1996, 222) Among Tilo's customers, the first customer is Ahuja's wife, a young and beautiful immigrant woman. The glamour of wealth fascinates her for a marriage with an American. Like other immigrant woman, she struggles with her own feelings of isolation and homelessness. Tilo realises that Ahuja's wife is a victim of cultural apathy and male domination. She tries to record her inner crisis, "All day at home, she is so lonely, the silence like quick sand sucking at her wrists and ankles, tears she cannot stop, disobedience tears spilled pomegranate seeds and Ahuja shouting when he returned home to her swollen eyes" (15). In her immigration, Ahuja's wife becomes more sensitive to her thwarted motherhood. Tilo, being a woman, has the realisation of the pain of immigrant woman who survives with double insecurity resisting the forces of gender apathy and cultural antagonism. She confesses, "This pain stung like ]|ive coats in my chest as the pirates plunge me onto the deck of their ship, as we took sail, as the flaming line of my homeland disappeared over the horizons" (19). Ahuja's wife survives in American society with the insecurity that she will never be able to get her roots there. Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, like women writers of Indian diaspora, articulates in her books, "the deepest fear and trauma faced by women in India and here (U.S.A.) show them emerging at least in many cases as stronger and self reliant woman" (Kamath: Interview). Tilo's sympathy remains only with women immigrants but also with the frustrated male immigrants like Jagjeet. Her store becomes a centre for Indian immigrants to relieve their pain and to redefine their position. In their pain, she recollects her own journey: how she was thrown on Dal Lake and was compelled to row Shikara for the pleasure of “American tourists. She was promised, "great things will happen to you in this new land, this America" (25). For Tilo the opportunity to share the anguish of immigrants becomes a defense mechanism, a safer outlet of her unexpressed fears and uncertainty. She declares her own mission, "I, Tilo, architect of American Dream." In American society, Indian immigrants consider themselves marginalised. Tilo tries to reveal the sensibility of Indian immigrants in contrast to the egocentric assertion of American identity. She admits, "It is not as if I haven't seen American. They come in here all the time, the professor type in tweed with patches on jacket elbows or in long skirts in earnest earth colors.”(69). There is a special reference to Geeta who was brought up by her grandparents with Indian moral values. Grandparents never compromise with liberal ways of personal relationship encouraged in America. They express their repugnance for the artificial make-up of Indian girls in America and prefer homespun values for Indian girls. Tilo tries to convince them that the amicable balance in the life of American immigrants is possible only through a fine synthesis of Indian and American styles of living. Geeta and her grandparents represent the two extreme sides of American life and sensibility. Tilo advises Geeta, "Who is India and America all mixed together into a new melody; be forgiving of an old man who holds an to his past with all the strength in his failing hand" (90). Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni admits that the presence of racial consciousness in the mind of immigrants shakes the feeling of otherness. She never felt herself in the mode of a complete identification. By and large, it is a distinction of the vision of Divakaruni in Mistress of Spices that she constructs the entire phenomenon with the ease and excitement of child without being a prey to self-imposed "otherness" often to be found in the life of immigrants and the underneath echoing voice of immigrant writers. Reference: 1. Qtd. Asian Review of books on Internet ( the mistress of spices) 2. Divakaruni, Chitra Banerjee's.The Mistress of spices, Abacus London, 1997 P-03 3. lbid.;P-78 4. lbid.;P-05 5. Ibid.; P-39 6. lbid.;P-120 7. lbid.;P-120 8. Contours of the Heart: South Asians Map North America, ed. Sunaina Maira and Rajni (New York, 1996), P 303. 9. Divakaruni, Chitra Banerjee's.’The Mistress of Spices’, Abacus London, 1997 P-75 10. Ibid.; P-78 11. lbid.;P- 12. lbid.;P-103 13. Contours of the Heart: South Asians Map North America, ed. Sunaina Maira and Rajni (New York, 1996) 14. Divakaruni, Chitra Banerjee's.The Mistress of spices, Abacus London, 1997 P-59 15. lbid.;P-69 16. lbid.;P- 70 17. Busia, Abena. "What is your Nation? Reconnecting Africa and Her Diaspora through Marshall's Praise song for the widow".Rutgers University Press. 1989).


Dr. D. B. Gavani C. B. Divakaruni a brilliant story teller; She eliminates the world with her artistry and shakes the reader with her love. Divakaruni profoundly exhibits the themes, such as Indianness, immigrant experiences, Sisterhood, Mysticism, Fantasy in her novels. She highlights the-cultural conflicts in the Indian diaspora. "We laugh - [for we have learned to laugh also, loudly and in your face.] we know we can have it all and are ready to fight for it ,we the Indian women in America. Watch us hold the world, like a great gold brown gulab jamun juicy and sweet as a promise in our land - and bite in."1 Divakaruni seems to say that if the Indian woman is to be relevant in the United States, she must ground her struggles in the heart of whiteness, rather than graft on cultural components which make no sense in the New World. They should re - invent their personality, which takes "The best of the both together" in order "to raise hell globally". C. B. Divakaruni, a woman with immense care on Indianness in her novels, depicts the Indian mysticism and fantasy and realism in her best selling novel, Sister of My Heart and The Vine of Desire, where she visualize on sisterhood, Womanhood and immigrant experiences through the lives of Anju and Sudha of Calcutta chaterjee family. An intensely rich and complex novel, Sister of My Heart is a virtual tapestry of plots. The underlying tension between the desires of the mothers, who embrace traditional Indian culture and Indianness and those of the cousins, who are more enticed by western philosophies are under the scrutiny. This western philosophy is the central evaluation of the work. The disturbing truth about the circumstances under which Sudha and Anju were born secretly tortures Sudha and weaves a menacing thread through the friendship. And, when the cousins fall in love and are physically separated by arranged marriages, their uncommon bond faces its hardest test. As the novel evolves we follow the women through their lives, experiencing their joy, sorrow, jealousy, loss, depression, surprised and prolonged separation and find that these battles and triumphs hold a universal thread with which women of many cultures can easily identify in the end, the strength of their friendship and the novel culminates in an emotional reunion, one filled not only with intense joy but also with lingering uncertainty as the Indianness is dealt with feminist approach to the novel. Sister of My Heart develops from the novelist's own consciousness on Indian concept of view - "The subtle dowry transactions, hectoring mothers - in - law, abusive fathers - in law, caring yet insensitive husbands" Characteristic of much writing on India and on women, the way in which Divakaruni focuses on what she calls "the particular nature of women's friendships, what makes them special and different", it is very much in the tradition of pre-feminist Bengali woman's fiction. Nevertheless, she is right about one thing at least: in the earlier days, women were unlikely to meet anyone due to orthodoxical religious bonds, where she visions not even other women were likely to meet another without the prior permission of their elders. But now due to the influence of western philosophies is somewhat flexible in Indian mindset. Divakaruni's Sister My Heart is in Indian contextual - Anju and Sudha are cousins belonging to the same patrilinear family and would obviously be called "sisters", not friends. Divakaruni has clearly addressed her novel to a western audience for whom this kind of bonding would be as foreign as this kind of family structure. Sister My Heart exhibits, in fact, many of the features of novels dealing with the bonds between sisters, such as Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, Shoba De's - Sisters, which are part dealing on Indian feminine sensibility. Women's friendships in western fiction have undoubtedly suffered when women have weighed them against feminine duties and responsibilities towards parents, lovers and husbands and children women friendship is the main theme in Sister My Heart. More than a century later Toni Morrison set out to write what she believes is the first novel about female friendship: note how Morrison's comments anticipate Divakaruni's by about twenty years: "Friendship between women is special, different, and has never been depicted as the major theme of a novel before Sula. Nobody ever talked about friendship between women unless it was homosexual, and there is no homosexuality in Sula, Relationships between women were always written about as though they were subordinate to some other roles they're playing".2 Divakaruni focuses on self centered attitudes which are nevertheless be crossed the limitations, where no one can feel absolute freedom, for which they feel and act - no woman is desired to love and get married, as if it is a great deal of breaking religious and traditional bonds in Indian phenomenon. Even Sudha has to escape from such deal (eloping with Ashok and get married) and getting 'Arranged Marriage' with Ramesh. Divakaruni shows relevant issues which are of Indian mindset. The ancient epics Ramayana and Mahabharata, myths, folk tales are sources on which Divakaruni writes Indian mysticism in Sister of My Heart. Divakaruni gives references in her novel on myths i.e., "The princess in the palace of snakes": "Once there was a princess, who lived in an under water palace filled with snakes. The snakes were beautiful - green and yellow and gold and gentle. They fed her and played with her and sang her to sleep".3 The above resemblance of the myth is to show, how Anju loves Sudha very much, as Sudha is a princess and Anju herself a snake, to take care of Sudha. Here, Divakaruni wanted to portray how Indian myths are born and to picturises the world readers, about the richness of Indianness. Divakaruni emphasizes on Indian bridal preparations how they are trapped in religious and traditional motives.[Bride has to undergo the beauty tips] "Each morning we start eating almonds which have been soaked overnight in milk improve both our dispositions and our complexions and have yoga to our body, which calms our minds, applying turmeric to face and oil to hair, 'Nothing enhances a husband's affections like silk - soft skin', Aunt says to have the kamasutra like wisdom". 4 Indian cultural Heritage is immensely picturised in Divakaruni's novel Sister of My Heart, - which she narrates mythical aspects: "When a child is born, Bidhata Purush comes down to earth himself to decide, what its fate and fortune is to be religious ceremonials had a great attempt in describing Indian phenomenon."5 The simplicity of the plot also allows Divakaruni to more thoroughly explore themes of womanhood, such as the limits of female social and economic freedom as a wife in and outside of India. In addition, the novel focuses on female character forced to re – visit and re - frame common theories of Indian American female identity solely in terms of female - female relationships - Indian womanhood perceptive of Anju and Sudha. Sister of My Heart merely portrays the tradition, al Indian Hindu life, through the lives of Anju and Sudha, living in India and America -the cultural intermingling of their lives extracts foreign as well as Indian feelings and emotions. The Indian society or the social life of Indians are class of patriarchal and matriarchal grounds, but always male dominated society is revealed in Indian context, Sunil and Ramesh, who are dominated over their wives, [Anju and Sudha] are of Indian male egoism, on the other hand, Divakaruni speaks of Dayita, daughter of Sudha, who is orphanage with loosing her father shows the new will of womanhood, fighting for the right cause to hold on matriarchal grounds, Sudha is praised for breaking traditional bonds, by taking care of her own child on her shoulders. Amitav Ghosh's vision over Divakaruni's writings is for new generation, which depicts cultural and traditional grounds in new trend "C. B. Divakaruni's account of family life in Bengal is warm and rich by detailed. Hers is one of most strikingly lyrical voices writing about the lives of Indian woman today".6 Sister of My Heart spans many years and zigzags between India and America as the cousins first grow apart and then eventually reunite. Divakaruni invests this domestic drama with poetry, as she traces her heroine's lives from infancy to motherhood, but it is Sudha and Anju which is backbone of the story. Anju might spell for both when she says, "Inspite of all my insecurities, in spite of the oceans that'll be between us soon and the men that are between us already, I can never stop loving Sudha. It's my habit, and it's my fate".7 Divakaruni emphasizes on Indian abrupt culture i.e., abortion of female child, as we witness with Sudha, forced by her in - laws to get rid of having female child for this, she has to pay a high price, by giving divorce to her, Divakaruni sketches the Indian odd cultures which hurts the feeling of inner most sense on humanity grounds. Sister of My Heart is an emotional journey of love, jealousy, frustration, fear, and angerness of Anju and Sudha the family sentiments, reputation, clash of superiority and inferiority all which faces by Indian girls, Anju and Sudha. Divakaruni expertly juxtaposes the challenges, freedoms and crossness of modern - day America with the issues, both personal and cultural, each woman faces i.e. Indo - American relationships. Divakaruni's The Vine of Desire is a striking novel of extraordinary depth and sensitivity which is also considered as a sequel to her novel, Sister of My Heart. With sequels one can trace the growth of the characters, where immigrant experience is revealed through the lives of Anju and Sudha. The Vine of Desire is a story of two young women [Anju and Sudha] for from Calcutta, the city of their childhood, who after a year of living separate lives is rekindling their friendship in America. The deep - seated love they feel for each other provides the support they need: it gives Anju the strength to pick up the pieces after a personal tragedy, and Sudha the confidence to make life for herself and her baby daughter, Dayita - without her husband. The unlikely relationships they form with men and women in the world outside the immigrant Indian community as well as their families in India profoundly transform them, forcing them to question the central assumptions of their lives. The zeal of Indianness is seen in the vine of desire through the lives of Anju and Sudha. The immigrant experience between both shows the love and jealous, on foreign grounds where each one escaping from their bond of friendship and sisterhood: Divakaruni's The Vine of Desire is written in epistolary form, diary entries stream - of - conscious dream sequences - powerfully convey the pain and confusion Anju and Sudha feel during their moments of life - changing awareness. Her skillful use of different techniques and styles allow the reader a unique access into the complex consciousness of each of the characters including men, we discover, that Sunil isn't the womanizer portrayed in Sister of My Heart but a lonely man suffering from an absent father who has been afraid to take risks has led an incomplete life. Divakaruni's technical innovation, when the narrator attempts to describe the pre - language imaginings of the infant Dayita, can fall flat. This said, Divakaruni's The Vine of Desire is a powerful story that lifts characters from its pages and opens the reader's imagination to an emotionally rich landscape filled with the secrets, lies, truths and passions that tear people apart and bring them back together. Indian immigrants Sudha, Anju, Sunil fight for their intention of fulfilling desired ends by helping each other, depicts the Indian phenomenon of the Humanity. Anju, who is to take care of Sudha after getting in her life of American world for her future settlement, and Sudha too, look after Anju, who lost her child? Sunil is shown on sensitive grounds as Indian male character express their intentional fatherhood loves Dayita. Divakaruni's The Vine of Desire explores the real sense of Indianness, though the Indian immigrants are in America, Indian lives never forgets their motherland and love and affection towards it. When Sunil is indulged in the party celebrated by Mr. Chopra's family, Sunil made angry of listening abusive words from American guy, he slaps the guy, where the guy utters on Indians: "Fucking Indians, showing off What did you say? Hey, man, let go my arm! I asked, what did you say? Didn't say nothing to you, "Fucking Indians, huh"? Says Sunil "I will show you exactly how fucking Indians can be"8 The Vine of Desire's characters resembles in each other, Lalit, Trideep, Sara - are supported by giving Indian concept of living. Divakaruni wants to expose the Indian style of living in abroad, with their own identification which we say i.e., Indians and Indianness. Sunil, Anju and Sudha are involved in their own way of life to proceed for future securities in America, who are tackling the problems one another. The feel of motherland i.e., India and Indianness poses a great deal in Divakaruni's writings, where she visualize the Indian customs, traditions and even food and nature (atmosphere) of her birth place, she gives the description of Indian food, Dal, Parota, and more on pickles. Indian costumes like Sari, Kurta, Paijama, Indian flowers Jasmine and the traditional and religious symbols i.e., wearing Bangles, Bindi and Sindhur at the levels of immigrant experience, where all these are not found in American culture. Divakaruni emphasizes on Indian movies before the foreign audience to portray what Indian movies are, through the life of Anju. When one of the women writer's in group asks Anju, to watch the movie, its Indian of you Anju stiffens slightly and gives the answer - as Indian movies and directors are, "No, we don't eat monkey brains or bugs either. Yes, we do worship Goddess kali, but no not usually by sacrificing beautiful virgins. Yes we do have street children. Yes they really live hard lives. Yes the police are brutal. Yes famine happens, and then people starve. Yes widows are often repressed wives also. But here's a lot more to India than what you've seeing here, there's."9 The Vine of Desire is a novel of extra ordinary depth and sensitivity. Through the eyes of people caught in the clash of cultures, Divakaruni reveals the rewards and the perils of breaking free from the past and the complicated often contradictory emotions that shape the women's passage to independence, where they struggle for individual identity in alien shore i.e., American right of living as we say Indo-American relationships. The Vine of Desire, as we felt that unfortunately almost from the beginning we found ourselves not only being irritated in the way she presented the story but actively disliking one of the main characters, Anju. It seemed that whatever situation she was placed in, made her bitterer and angrier. Through her character, we feel as though the author had succumbed to the temptation of creating an image of India and its society, as backward, miserable, and oppressive. Through Anju, the reader has made to feel as though what happened to her was the result of centuries of tradition. (The arranged marriage process, the need to have child but feeling guilty because she really didn't feel she wanted one; then feeling guilty and beating up on herself figuratively - when she loses the baby) gone wrong; that if she had come from a different society (namely, western society seem as more progressively forward thinking), she would not have gone through the emotions and reactions that she went through, her own task of imagination is seen through Indo - American cultures. Divakaruni's ‘Sister of My Heart’ and ‘The Vine of Desire’ are two novels which merely depicts both Indian and western cultures and philosophies where, sister of my Heart stands for Indian Hindu life and traditional, religious perceptive. The vine of desire is a novel of immigrant in alien shores. The Vine of Desire is sequel to Sister of My Heart. Sister of My Heart emphasizes on Indian traditional customs and duties and attitudes of Indians. The Vine of Desire reflects only Indian motivation of life in America. Both the novels give relevantly immense sources to collect the idea of Indianness to the world readers. Divakaruni highlights the beauty and charm of Indianness and immigrant life in foreign land, fighting for their identification. Exceptionally moving, dramatic, and exquisitely rendered, Sister of My Heart is a passionate novel about the extraordinary bond between two women, and the jealousies love, and family histories that threaten to tear them apart. The Vine of Desire force the reader to reexamine his or her views on adultery, divorce and marriage where Ashok tries several times to propose and get married to Sudha but she often refuses on the other hand, Sunil, who infatuated towards Sudha, tries to give divorce to Anju but marriage seems to be noble cause in their lives. Sister of My Heart is a novel of story telling frequently, with long chapters and often myth, tradition fantasy is seen, while, in the developing of the characters and enhance on Indian families, social, economic and religious life of India and its phenomenon. Where as The Vine of Desire evaluates, only the Indian form and its approach through the immigrants, Anju, Sudha and Sunil all the lives which are interlinking with each other falls in chaos and confusion regarding their central assumptions of their lives. The Vine of Desire is a novel of epistolary exchange, technical writing of third narrative person, interior monologue, and prologue. Characters are hanging between their lives of identification. Sister of My Heart is somewhat different, where its narrative technique is of first person narrative long narrative dialogues and characters are more comparing to The Vine of Desire. The dual novels deals compares and contrast the Indian mindset, where Indianness is a fragrance in Indo - American literature. Divakaruni picturizes the Indian concept and its context to a great extent. At the heart of Chitra Divakaruni's novels, Sister of My Heart and The Vine of Desire, is the belief that story telling not only lights the path for succeeding generations but also possesses shamanistic powers. Both speaker and listener may be healed or transformed, cursed of freed. For the Chaterjee's, an upper - caste Calcutta family fallen on hard times, but tenaciously remaining in their decaying mansion of mystery and faded glory. Story telling is a lifetime cast from aunt to niece, mother to daughter, cousin to cousin, past to present, and the life of immigrant experience in the book's climax, continent to continent. As critics view on Divakaruni's writings: "Divakaruni is gifted with dramatic inventiveness, lyrical, sensual language, where she depicts the beauty of India and Indianness and womanhood in her writings and writing on immigrant experience on alien shores". 10 Divakaruni's both novels Sister of My Heart and The Vine of Desire are the magical prose. These stories within stories, with their sights and smells and enchanted imagery transport the reader to India that is at once timeless and evocative of the present day. Theblend of realism, fantasy, mysticism on Indianness is visualized through Divakaruni's writings, in one way or the other the Indian phenomenon is seen in both Indian and American literatures by immigrant writer as Divakaruni is. Reference: 1. Divakaruni, Chitra Banerjee's poem, "We the Indian Women in America". Pg: 268. 2. Morrison, Toni. Sula. Ny. Knopf, 1974. 3. Divakaruni, Chitra Banerjee's, Sister of My Heart. Black swan 1999. p. 101 4. .Ibid. P.108. 5. Ibid., P.15 6. Qtd. Amitav Ghosh on Internet ( of my heart) 7. Divakaruni, Chitra Banerjee's, Sister of My Heart. Black swan 1999.p.2l4 8. Divakaruni, Chitra Banerjee's, The Vine of Desire, Abacus London 2003 , P. 138 9. Ibid. P.214 10. Qtd., Los Angles Times on Internet ( vine of desire)