Latha has been a servant since she was 5 years old to the Vinthange’s. But she has this thing telling her that she was meant to be more then that. Living in a part of town known as Columbia 7, and her best friend Thara, she feels as though she will be her best friend forever and they have made plans to marry the boys a few streets over.
Biso, who is married to a fisherman who also is an alcoholic, is planning to take herself and her three children away from her abusive husband. She cannot take it anymore, the drunkenness, the abuse, the way he controls her and their money. She had her one true love killed in front of her, and wants the best for her children. She wants to travel to her aunt’s house further north where the tea fields are, the mountains, and safety.
You won’t know it right away, but these 2 women are connected. Through their lives, experiences, and personal feelings they are the same, but, in another they are different.
It is a somewhat tragic story of how they lived their lives and how they navigate through India’s caste system which is a hard thing to do in itself. Being placed in a certain class, and being “labelled” as being in that section, with little or no hope to be “classed” so to speak in a higher one, or respected more then she is now.
In this age of being polite, and respectful of everyone, the culture in this book was a eye opener for me at least at how these things can still be going on in the world.
Another thought I had was what is it about these 2 women who were trying to become better people, seen in a higher class struggle to be better or to be seen in a better light. I feel and this is my honest opinion, that it is how you feel inside that counts. But then again, people see you in a different light on the outside, we all need to take a bit of a deeper look to be able to see what is truly on the inside. Instead of just being a “servant” or anything else, we all have talents and dreams that we want to come true.
Harrowing, poignant, and heartbreaking, this author takes something and transforms it into not just a sad or terrible story, but one that we all can learn from.