Who’d not be driven by the luxuries that The American Dream provides? Especially since not only our very own rupee is being run over by dollar each day but we are too. In short, dollar makes us rich, rupee does not; or does it?
Sudha Murty’s Dollar Bahu reminds us how the Indian ocean has been pulled over by Western currents due to our misinterpretation of the dollar culture and disregard for the Indian culture. Gouramma’s dearest son Chandru and her dearest Dollar Bahu Jamuna are settled in the US while her elder son Girish and his wife Vinuta live with her in Bangalore. Each and every gift, dollar coming from the US fills Gouramma’s heart with immense love for Jamuna while Vinuta’s unending contribution in the household, her concern for the family members, all go unnoticed. It is only during Gouramma’s stay in America that she realizes how blinded she was.
Dollar Bahu very gracefully teaches one about how living and earning dollars in America is just as challenging as living and earning rupees in India. It gives one a brief ride into the luxurious facilities of America and its advanced education system which is quite a boon for women there but simultaneously makes one miss the unity and liveliness of Indian traditions.
But, technically speaking, the conversations between characters seem more like formal lectures. At a point, it seems that the author was in a hurry which made it difficult to seep into the story thereby making it obviously unrealistic. A few unnecessary details could have been excluded and rather the characters, especially that of Chandru, could have been explained precisely. Also, lack of humour makes it boring. Humour could have helped the book gain more attention from the youth.
To me, Vinuta’s character seems underestimated. In fact, the whole scenario reaches to a point where it seems more like an Indian daily soap.
Nevertheless, if born and brought up around the Indian culture, one can very well relate to and feel the cultural difference through Gouramma’s character. The minute details brought up while comparing the Indian and American culture surely make one doubt of wanting living the American Dream.