The older part of Amristar, the original walled city, was full of bazaars – small ones that only the locals knew about, tiny bazaars that sold bangles and cloth very cheap but could be reached only on foot through tiny alleys; and the big, main bazaars where the streets were wider and the roads slightly cleaner. The bazaars of Amristar were busy places where every day, throughout the year, transactions were made, prices were bargained over, shops were opened in the morning and shut in the evenings. It was as if it had been so since the beginning of the world and would continue to be so till the end…

Money, congestion, and noise danced and eternal, crazy dance here together, leaving no moving space for other, gentler things. The actual walls that had once surrounded the city had fallen away long ago, but the ghosts of the wall still separated the old city from the newer one that flourished outside.***Excerpt from Chapter 1 of The Sari Shop by RUPA BAJWA

NOTE: I picked up The Sari Shop by Rupa Bajwa one day while browsing at the library. Since I enjoy reading about India, this story of a clerk at a sari shop appealed to me. During a three-hour train ride to San Diego (and a three-hour ride back to Los Angeles), I read this wonderful novel – and was transported from California to India throughout the journey. The main character, Ramchand, reminded me of Jay Gatsby – someone who gazes over the fence at the life the rich lead and embarks on a self-improvement program to become more like “them.” Poignant and compelling, The Sari Shop tells the story of a dreamer who aspires to fly out of the cage his caste represents – and enjoy the freedom to live without limits. I really loved this novel. Highly recommended! 

“An impressive debut, full of lean and lyrical prose.”

Ligaya Mishan, New York Times Book Review

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