Wednesday, 7 December 2011


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)

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