A new novel by Thrity Umrigar;
WHEN was it that you last thought of your household help as human? More importantly in a crunch who would you trust — the help or your own family?
Sera Dubash, a Parsi housewife, is bound to her home and hearth and her only daughter Dinaz and her son-in-law Viraf. Sera has had a difficult life but in the autumn of her life she is beginning to relax.
Her life cannot be complete without Bhima, her help, who has seen her through her ordeals. Sera looks after Bhima’s granddaughter’s education.
Everything is all right till Bhima’s granddaughter becomes pregnant and gives up her dreams of college and a better life. An embittered Bhima tries to get the name of the child’s father but is pushed away by the granddaughter till one day the situation becomes clear. Both women are confronted by a naked truth. To this point the author has managed well, but then the plot suddenly deteriorates into a soap opera with accusations flying fast and thick. With a predictable ending the book once again reinforces stereotypes.