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Marital Relationships, And Cross Cultural Concerns In Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni's Arranged Marriage

2518 words - 10 pages

The mother comes to know that her daughter has a relationship with an American, and she stops speaking to her and changes the will related to property transaction. She considers that her daughter lives in sin. She changes her telephone number and rejects all the letters written by the protagonist. The protagonist becomes desperate and even thinks of committing suicide. The feeling of guilt disturbs her. Finally, she decides that she should live for herself on her own terms and not for Rex or anyone else. She feels that she has understood the real meaning of love. She thinks that her mother’s value oriented life, her affection, and her attitude towards those who distance themselves from their roots have a positive impact on her persona. She feels redeemed and looks for a fresh beginning.
The narrative “A Perfect Life” set in San Francisco is based on a weak plot and cannot justify the fondness Meera Bose shows towards an orphan boy Krishna. Divakaruni in the early stages of the story portrays the character of Meera as a woman who prefers to stay away from children and has no plan of having a child of her own in the near future.
The title of the story raises many questions as “perfection” means different things to different people. To Meera, the protagonist in the story, perfection stands for a good living place, decent job and a handsome boyfriend who can be compared to the Hollywood heroes. One indispensable qualification is he should not be like Indian men back home in Calcutta. This is the world of Meera.
Critic Husne Jahan argues that Divakaruni promotes the neo-imperialistic status of America through the characterization of Meera.
Meera’s idols are Peck, Eastwood, and Beatty of Hollywood, not Dilip Kumar or Amitab Bachchan of Indian cinema. Also, Richard’s distinguishing qualities are tallness, leanness, and sophistication; and as he is described as “very different” from Indian men, the latter are voided of such qualities by implication. Indian men are, thus, culturally, ideologically, mentally, and physically diminished in comparison to their American counterparts. (49)
Meera has a steady relationship with her boyfriend Richard. Both are easy going about the man-woman relationship, and are not in a hurry about marriage and raising a family. Meera believes that her life is under her control, and is moving as per her meticulous planning, and is perfect. Many women in the Indian diasporic community consider that Meera’s lifestyle is strange even by American standards.
Suddenly Meera’s life takes a bizarre turn when a seven year old boy of an unknown ethnicity turns up near the staircase outside her apartment. Meera lets him in contrary to her expressed attitude towards children. Divakaruni fails to explain the reasons for the dichotomy. The story becomes melodramatic. Meera flouts the laws and keeps the boy secretly in her house. For the sake of the boy whom she calls Krishna she is ready to jeopardize her relationship with her “ideal”...

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