Home to India

By Santha Rama RauHARPER
AN English-educated Brahmin girl of sixteen comes home to India after an absence of ten years and honestly and engagingly sets down her chronicle of rediscovery. With an august grandmother who allows pigeons to nest in the bedroom, but will not tolerate having servants treated as equals, and a dynamic mother who believes in horoscopes, but stands ready to lead the All India Women’s Conference should its president be imprisoned, and her sister Premila, as modern as her tennis shorts and wisecracks, the author draws an arresting sketch of three generations of Indian women.
Nehru, Gandhi, Mrs. Naidu, and Tagore appear briefly and tellingly. Against a rapid travelogue — “the season" in official Delhi, a pack trip to Kashmir, visits to ancient monuments and worthy projects, slums and palaces — there is always the growing portrait of the author finding herself. Finally, her first question of what India is to mean to her becomes, through her wise mother’s suggestion, a problem of what she may eventually contribute, and she leaves for college in America to study “a real democracy.” One hopes that what she found was worthy of her expectations and her gay and sound interpretation.