If you’ve been to my blog before, you’d probably know that I’m a immense fan of nonfiction that have a travel aspect to them. Shoba Narayan’s latest book, The Milk Lady of Bangalore: An Unexpected Adventure is an interesting twist on the usual “travel” story as it’s partly about her experience living with her family as expats (of sorts) in India. I say “of sorts” because while she and her husband actually were born and raised in India, her two daughters were not. Instead they were born in the USA, and part of the reason that Shoba and her husband decided to move back to India was to give their girls the chance to truly get to know their grandparents and family in India before it was too late.
I started this review talking about the author and her family and their move, but The Milk Lady of Bangalore is at its core truly a book about the history, economy and religion of India. Using the “cow” as a “lens” the author dissects Indian society and culture and the reason why an ordinary (to us Westerners) animal is still so revered in India. I definitely learned a great deal about what life is like for those actually living in India in addition to the communities that are formed in a country that’s still more collectivist than it is individualistic. Furthermore, it was incredibly fascinating to read about all the beliefs and rituals surrounding cows in India which while rapidly becoming more modern still holds on tight to numerous ideologies and superstitions that are connected to the country’s agricultural history.
The Milk Lady of Bangalore: An Unexpected Adventure teaches us readers that we should appreciate what we are fortunate to have. In writing The Milk Lady of Bangalore, Shoba also shows how just by investing in one person you can end up making an enormous difference for several more people. The times are without a doubt changing, but what remains the same is the concept of life and death and if you are able to help just one person and bond with them thereupon making everything all the more sweeter.
Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.