The Toss of a Lemon
Saturday, Feb 11, 2012
This fictional story takes us to an Indian Brahman household of the 1800s. The book tells a story of a Sivakami a woman who was married at 10 and widowed at 18 (just as her husband, the village healer, predicted).
Despite the rigid social structures of the cast system and strict confines of the white sari of her widowhood, Sivakami was able to continue her husband’s business and run the household via trusted servants for the next sixty years. She ventured out of her family house only on three occasions.
This fast read book tells us about the village life and customs of 19th century India. These were times when a person’s life fortune and path was established at the exact time of his or her birth. It was announced by a lemon being tossed out of the window to the astrologer waiting in the courtyard to document the exact time of a birth. This 600-page book is a complex twist of stories of Sivakami’s children and grandchildren, varying degrees of human personalities, descriptions of religious customs, dietary laws and purification ceremonies of a Brahman family.