The Awakening of Meena Rawat

MEENA. I glance at the cheap little twenty-five-dollar phone in my hand, the phone my multi-millionaire lover gave me. A bubble of schoolgirl hysteria expands in ... Bhavesh never did any packing, so 268 THE AWAKENING OF MEENA RAWAT 43 ...

The Awakening of Meena Rawat

Every day, twenty-eight-year-old Meena Rawat is hounded by inner voices reminding her to be grateful for the middle-class American life she has-even if she is stuck in an unhappy marriage. She and her daughter are both safe, clothed, and fed, more than she could say for herself as a child. Born into the "Untouchables" caste in a small village in North India, Meena frequently relives the nightmare of abuses and slurs she suffered in an orphanage. There is only one bright spot in her memories: the fellow 'Untouchable' orphan who became her best friend and first love, Ramu. When Ramu reappears in her new American life, he's different. Unlike her, he has cast off the shame of their upbringing and become a confident entrepreneur. Their meeting rekindles a lost passion and the two find they share a mutual sense of obligation to help the children of the outcast community they left behind. Meena fantasizes about a future with him, but will her responsibility to her daughter-and the certainty that she would lose custody-keep her chained?

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