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On The Outside Looking Indian

abstract:With so many wonderful Indo-diasporan authors making waves in the fiction world over the years: Kiran Desai, Salmon Rushdie, Jhumpa Lahiri, Vikram Chandra, Rohinton Mistry, Arundhati Roy... the list goes on, here is an interesting new book by Rupinder Gill, On the Outside Looking Indian (McClelland Books, 2011) that details a spirit and insight through her own non-fiction coming-of-age story that is both laugh-out-loud funny and full of universal truths. Listen to her interview on BookLounge.ca here. And if you're intrigued, there's also this excellent in-depth interview by Allan Gregg on TVO via YouTube.

The author's blurb goes: "There's a phenomenon in Amish culture called Rumspringa, where Amish adolescents are permitted to break free from their modest and traditional lifestyles to indulge in normally taboo activities. They dress how they want, go out if and when they please, smoke, drink and generally party like it's 1899. At the end they decide if they will return and join the Amish church.

"I am 30 years old. I wore my hair in two braids every day until I was 12. I dressed more conservatively than most Amish, barely left my house until I was 18 and spent the last 12 years studying and working hard on my career like a good little Indian girl. The time has come; you are witness to the dawning of my Indian Rumspringa, a Ram-Singha if you will. But instead of smoking and drinking Bud Lights in a park while yelling 'Down with barn raising!' I plan to indulge in a different manner by pursuing everything I wish had been a part of my youth. Things I always felt were part of most North Americans' adolescent experience...

"This is the story of the ultimate New Year's resolution, more akin to a new life resolution. Will it all be fun? Will my friends and family support my walk down memory-less lane? Will it all matter in the end? I don't know yet but much like my young Rumspringaed-out counterpart, I will decide whether or not there is any going back."

article:

July 19, 2011

 

 

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