By Usha Bande
This study places Indian writer Gita Mehta's writings - fiction and non-fiction - in the framework of diasporic studies and ascertains how the author responds to the Indian realities vis-?-vis her Western experience. To Gita Mehta, India is "home" - home stands for a safe place, where there is no need to justify oneself to others. But as a member of the diaspora, perhaps her position should be redefined. That she should feel the need to explicate and explain herself and her culture to the West is in itself an acknowledgement of cultural differences felt by the diasporic consciousness. The book focuses on the fact that, though Mehta looks at her country with the bemused gaze of an outsider, her strong urge to recover the lost essence and to return to the folds of her culture become explicitly obvious. Her works are set in India, but they move in and out of the two cultures, blending subjective experience with observations and imagination to recreate the India that was and the India that is. In dealing with Mehta's works, one explores a varied territory of genre fiction, non-fiction, and prose. The analysis yields the author's vision of certainty and faith in her culture and traditions, but also her disappointment with the changing scenario of fast deteriorating values and overt materialism. However, she camouflages her disillusionment underneath her flamboyant optimism and keen sarcasm.
Publication Date: 12/31/2008