The Milk Lady of Bangalore: An Unexpected Adventure

The Milk Lady of Bangalore: An Unexpected Adventure

The elevator door opens. A cow stands inside, angled diagonally to fit. It doesn’t look uncomfortable, merely impatient. “It is for the housewarming ceremony on the third floor,” explains the woman who stands behind the cow, holding it loosely with a rope. She has the sheepish look of a person caught in a strange situation who is trying to act as normal as possible. She i...

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Title:The Milk Lady of Bangalore: An Unexpected Adventure
Author:Shoba Narayan
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Edition Language:English

The Milk Lady of Bangalore: An Unexpected Adventure Reviews

  • megs_bookrack

    I adored this book! As memoirs go - top, top notch - super interesting and engaging!

    took me completely by surprise. I had no idea what this was going to be like and within the first few pages I was hooked. Narayan, a journalist by trade, writes in such a pleasing way. To me, it flows like you are sitting for coffee with a friend and she is telling you a very detailed story. I couldn't put this one down and ended up reading it in three days.

    This is a memoir - one of th

    I adored this book! As memoirs go - top, top notch - super interesting and engaging!

    took me completely by surprise. I had no idea what this was going to be like and within the first few pages I was hooked. Narayan, a journalist by trade, writes in such a pleasing way. To me, it flows like you are sitting for coffee with a friend and she is telling you a very detailed story. I couldn't put this one down and ended up reading it in three days.

    This is a memoir - one of the best I have

    read - but it is truly so much more than that. The basic gist is that Narayan decides with her husband to move back to their native-India after living for 20-years in the United States. They both have parents who are getting older and as they have two children, they want their children to know their grandparents and experience their culture. They move into a large apartment building in Bangalore and on move in day, Narayan, by chance, meets Sarala, the milk lady. This is how it all begins.

    This book is a beautiful examination of culture, friendship, life, love, loss and growth. I laughed and I cried. You know you have found a special book when one brings out such a wide range of emotions - in my opinion anyway. It was interesting to read about Narayan really learning about her own culture for a second time. I could absolutely relate with a lot of her feelings having moved away from the area I grew up in, and being away for many years, going back, you see things with fresh eyes. You can appreciate how much culture varies from area to area and that can really bring forth a lot of self reflection about ones own beliefs, traditions, goals, wants, needs and really where one feels like they belong.

    Now,

    :

    In this book you will also learn so much about cows - magnificent animals, they really are. This book felt to me like a microhistory of cows and their role/significance in India culture, particularly through different Hindu beliefs and customs. I absolutely adored that aspect of the book. If you are someone who enjoys that type of book, you will love this. Also, if you are a foodie, you will probably love this and should definitely read it. There is a lot in here about milk, the different types / properties of milk. I am telling you, fascinating.

    Overall, I applaud Shoba Narayan for her efforts with this and I say, thank you, for sharing this part of your life with the world. It was beautiful! Also, a big thank you to the publisher, Algonquin Books, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. I truly appreciate the opportunity and apologize that it has taken me so long to get to this! One of my favorite and most unique reads of 2018 so far!

  • Nicole Means

    Wow! “The Milk Lady if Bangalore” transported me back to 2010 when I had the pleasure of spending over a week in Bangalore. I only wish this book had been written then because the author provides so much insight into the ubiquitous cow found on the streets of Bangalore. Upon first spotting the cow, the tourist can be found staring with his/her mouth agape, but after several days, the cow is such a “normal” part of Bangalore, that the tourist barely notices. Narayan’s writing is truly exquisite o

    Wow! “The Milk Lady if Bangalore” transported me back to 2010 when I had the pleasure of spending over a week in Bangalore. I only wish this book had been written then because the author provides so much insight into the ubiquitous cow found on the streets of Bangalore. Upon first spotting the cow, the tourist can be found staring with his/her mouth agape, but after several days, the cow is such a “normal” part of Bangalore, that the tourist barely notices. Narayan’s writing is truly exquisite overloading all of the reader’s senses through her vivid style. I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in understanding the role of the cow in Hinduism!

  • Kate Olson

    Some books enter into my life for the simple purpose of making me a more informed world citizen, and I am all for that. However, THE MILK LADY OF BANGALORE 100% did that, but also did the almost impossible and utterly charmed and entertained me at the same time. Narayan has taken a topic that seems to be incredibly simple (the life of the milk lady across the street from her apartment building), and has woven it into not just a rich look at life in modern India, but also a compassionate and lovi

    Some books enter into my life for the simple purpose of making me a more informed world citizen, and I am all for that. However, THE MILK LADY OF BANGALORE 100% did that, but also did the almost impossible and utterly charmed and entertained me at the same time. Narayan has taken a topic that seems to be incredibly simple (the life of the milk lady across the street from her apartment building), and has woven it into not just a rich look at life in modern India, but also a compassionate and loving tale of one family's life and livelihood, as well as a well-researched and fascinating account of the role of the cow and milk in Indian culture throughout history. And not just that - she wrote all of this in a fast-paced and addictive style, from her unique perspective of being born in India, living in the US for 20 years and then returning to India as an adult with her family.

    As a lifelong Wisconsin resident, and a cow-landlord for 6 months out of the year, I thought I knew pretty much what I needed to know about these giant animals. But no. No, I didn't. Narayan has made me desperately want to travel to India ASAP to see for myself the differences between desi cows and imported hybrids. And taste packet milk versus fresh milk sold on the street. I want to see a cow shelter and I want to donate a cow to a Brahmin. This book is one I will truly never forget, and its gift of the cow urine anecdotes will give me something to bring up in awkwardly silent social gatherings for years and years to come.

    If you read one nonfiction book in 2018, make it this one. And then PLEASE be in touch so we can talk about that cow urine. Please?

    Thanks to Algonquin Books for the complimentary review copy of this title - all opinions are my own.

  • Rana

    Dude. Who knew cows could be so fucking fascinating? I spent almost as much time googling images of native Indian cows as I did reading. A near perfect blend of memoir and cultural and historical facts.

  • Jenna

    What an absolutely charming memoir! In

    , Shoba Narayan tells of moving back to India with her family after 2o years in the United States. She quickly befriends her milk lady Sarala, a generous and deeply superstitious woman who raises cows within the immense city of Bangalore, supporting her family by selling the milk. When Sarala needs another cow, she entices Shoba to help her purchase another.

    I learned quite a lot about the richness of Indian culture and so it was mo

    What an absolutely charming memoir! In

    , Shoba Narayan tells of moving back to India with her family after 2o years in the United States. She quickly befriends her milk lady Sarala, a generous and deeply superstitious woman who raises cows within the immense city of Bangalore, supporting her family by selling the milk. When Sarala needs another cow, she entices Shoba to help her purchase another.

    I learned quite a lot about the richness of Indian culture and so it was most interesting and fun to read. Narayan writes colourfully and whimsically about Indian mythology, infused as it is with everything cow. I didn't want to put this book down and highly recommend it to animal lovers and people wanting to learn more about Indian culture. Within you will learn about Hinduism; Indian mythology, culture, and food; and cows -- their personalities and preferences, the supposed medicinal properties of their urine and dung, their milk, their ability (so it's believed) to assist humans and bestow great fortune upon those who honor them. It is a quick, enjoyable, and delightful read, though with a bit of sadness in a couple of chapters as well. The author dwells more on the positive though, and writes humorously.

    The bit about drinking cow urine might be disgusting to most Western readers, so be prepared to perhaps get grossed out. As a vegan, I find it at least as disgusting, if not more (maybe I'm weird!) to drink milk, so don't worry -- it's not THAT bad to read about! I think it's more fascinating to learn about other cultures than to be disturbed by any differences.

    If you'd like to know what it would be like to get onto an elevator only to find a cow standing there, waiting to go bless a new home, read this book. If you'd like to know what it's like to go cow shopping, finding the right one to suit your and your family's personalities, read this book. If you'd like to know what cows mean to the majority of Indians, read this book. If you want to know the process of donating a cow in order to get good karma and blessings from the cow (because hey, who couldn't use a little extra good karma?!) read this book. If you just want a fun, interesting, and light read, this is the book for you.

  • Diane S ☔

    Moving back to India, after twenty years in the states, the first thing Shoba encounters is a woman with a cow, in the elevator of the apartment building in which she and her family are moving. This is her first introduction to Sarala who will soon be her introduction to all things cow.

    Who would ever think a book about cows, their urine and dung, their milk and the benefits from drinking it straight from said cow, to be so fascinating? Yet,I was, I loved this story, loved the people in it, and

    Moving back to India, after twenty years in the states, the first thing Shoba encounters is a woman with a cow, in the elevator of the apartment building in which she and her family are moving. This is her first introduction to Sarala who will soon be her introduction to all things cow.

    Who would ever think a book about cows, their urine and dung, their milk and the benefits from drinking it straight from said cow, to be so fascinating? Yet,I was, I loved this story, loved the people in it, and loved reading about the vibrant and colorful country of India. The importance of cows in the Indian culture, and how this came to be. The many uses of cow urine and dung. So much about their culture, their traditions, and the importance of family. So yes, it is about cows, but it encompasses so much more.

    Loved the friendly tone, like the writer is talking to you, explaining to you. Not at all snooty, just wanting to learn, understand, and embrace all that she can. Also explains some of the differences between those who hold with the old traditions, and the young people who now want to be modern. Generational gap. So friendship, family, and cows. Loved it!

  • Booknblues

    What a true delight it was for me to read

    by Shoba Narayan. It is the story of an American immigrant who returns to her home country of India in middle age with her husband and two daughters. It was an interesting and eye opening view of India, especially its relationship to cattle. Shoba is a well-to-do Indian who makes friends with a local milk lady, who she first meets when moving into her apartment:

    What a true delight it was for me to read

    by Shoba Narayan. It is the story of an American immigrant who returns to her home country of India in middle age with her husband and two daughters. It was an interesting and eye opening view of India, especially its relationship to cattle. Shoba is a well-to-do Indian who makes friends with a local milk lady, who she first meets when moving into her apartment:

    She quickly becomes intrigued with the cows, the milk lady and the idea of buying fresh milk. At first she is apprehensive about drinking fresh milk, but upon research, she feels compelled to try it. Soon it becomes part of her everyday life:

    This is really a memoir as it takes place over ten years of her life, but it does mostly inform us about cows and milk, while filling in information about her life and her relationship with her milk lady and her family.

    I found it intriguing being the daughter of a dairy farmer. Urban cows is an interesting idea, while we in America have adapted to the idea of urban chickens, I'm not sure we are ready for cows.

    Narayan's writing is informative, humorous and entertaining. Even those who find no interest in this topic, may ultimately find the book endearing. I encourage anyone interested to read it. I did however round it down because I felt it may not have universal appeal, but I may end up rounding it up.

  • BELIEVESINMIRACLES

    Thank you for selecting me as a winner in the giveaway.

    I really enjoyed this book - I have learned so much about cows and much of what I learned was enchanting !

    This book tells the story of an Indian woman who has lived in NY for 20 years who decides to move back to India with her family and the relationship she develops with the woman who sells her milk directly from her herd of cows.

    As an animal rights person I was very happy to know that there is a place in the world where cows are treated we

    Thank you for selecting me as a winner in the giveaway.

    I really enjoyed this book - I have learned so much about cows and much of what I learned was enchanting !

    This book tells the story of an Indian woman who has lived in NY for 20 years who decides to move back to India with her family and the relationship she develops with the woman who sells her milk directly from her herd of cows.

    As an animal rights person I was very happy to know that there is a place in the world where cows are treated well for the most part, though there are a lot of homeless ones who are forced to forage thru the garbage and ingest a lot of plastic. I do not believe that they are more sacred than any other animal, I love and respect all animals, but am pleased that of all the places to be a cow and get a break, India is their best hope for lovely treatment.

    I did knock off a star because I bristled a bit at her usage of the word s**t instead of her normal usages of poop or cow dung, not because I am adverse to cursing or because I myself do not curse, but rather it was so out of line with how the rest of the book was written, that it was totally out of place and felt like a slap. Sorry if that is me playing small or being picky, but it was unneccesary.

  • Virginia Myers

    This book was not what I expected. I saw in Book Browse that it was categorized as a "biography/memoir" and I somehow expected something different than what this book turned out to be. I thought it would be more of the typical type of memoir about some part of the author's life with a little informative data about Indian cows. It turned out to mostly about milk and cows interwoven into a little bit of the typical memoir type stuff.

    I did enjoy reading the assortment of experiences that the autho

    This book was not what I expected. I saw in Book Browse that it was categorized as a "biography/memoir" and I somehow expected something different than what this book turned out to be. I thought it would be more of the typical type of memoir about some part of the author's life with a little informative data about Indian cows. It turned out to mostly about milk and cows interwoven into a little bit of the typical memoir type stuff.

    I did enjoy reading the assortment of experiences that the author had as she befriended the lady from whom she bought milk every day and I learned a whole lot about cows and their by-products, e.g. urine and "poop".

    By the time I reached the end of the book, however, I was suffering from an overload of information about such things as which type of cow provides the best milk and other previously unknown facts and figures about cows in general and Indian cows in particular.

    So now comes the question: Would I recommend this book? It may be sort of a cop-out, but I will put it this way: If you are interested in learning some interesting facts about the life of a cow in India, then I think this is surely the book for you. Or, if you are the type of person who just enjoys reading non-fiction books that can add to your overall knowledge on different subjects, then I think you might want to add this to your list. If, however, you have no reason to want to learn more about customs and mores of the cow culture of India, I am not sure this is the book for you.

    I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review as a result of the BookBrowse.com ‘s e First Impression program.

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