Sudha Murty, a well-known author and the founder and Chairman of Infosys has a wide range of hobbies, including social work, reading, writing, and even performing.
Dollar Bahu, one of her seventeen books, was initially written in Kannada as Dollar Sose (Sose is Kannada for daughter-in-law) and afterward translated into English. It became so famous that Zee TV, India’s largest television network, airs it as a television series in 2001.
The story tells the tale of a Bangalore living middle-class Indian family of Shamanna and Gouramma, together with their (spoiled) daughter Surabhi and two sons, Chandru, a software engineer, and Girish, a bank clerk.
When Chandru’s firm sends him on a two-year secondment to the United States, it looks like all of the family’s aspirations have come true. Chandru will be able to send money home, which will not only be used to erect an additional floor to their humble house and fund Surabhi’s wedding, but it will also raise Gouramma’s social status, since having a son in America is something to flaunt about.
While Chandru is in America, Girish marries Vinuta, a teacher whose ambitions to be a singer have been stifled by a lack of opportunities and resources (being an orphan from a young age).
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When Chandru travels to India for 3 weeks to wed an Indian girl after obtaining a green card, his new bride, Jamuna, is almost worshipped. That’s because she is the daughter of America-dwelling wealthy parents, which Gouramma admires.
Vinuta, a lovely young woman who works tirelessly all hours of the day and night to ensure that her home and mother-in-law’s needs are met.
However, when it comes to choosing between Jamuna’s Dollars and Vinuta’s selfless devotion, Gauramma always favors the Dollar, ignoring what is precious – Vinuta’s commitment and unconditional love.
Vinuta continues to suffer the weight of the continuous comparisons between her and Jamuna as the tale unfolds like a typical Indian soap opera.
She begins to wilt, losing both her health and her intellect. Soon Gauramma has the opportunity to see her son Chandru and Jamuna at their American home and spends a long time with them. After a year or so of living in America, she realizes that the Indians who reside there endure the same issues and obstacles that Indians confront back home… Finally, after receiving a slap on the emotions from her dollar bahu, Gouramma realizes that a dollar may be able to alleviate poverty in one’s life but not everything. Before it’s too late and Vinuta is permanently lost, she quickly understands that not all that sparkles is gold.
and that, in the end, dollars cannot purchase everything. When she returns to India, she pours affection on her daughter-in-law, whom she used to consider trash and her grandchild. However, family is far more essential than money.
The novel closes on a “truth always prevails” note, and it reads like an obvious moral tale.
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Our nation is a large and colorful cobweb. Jobs, Machines, Mechanisms, happiness, treasures, Dollars, everything is available here. Luxury addicts’ people. They can’t turn back once they get addicted. But are the people who only buy in sales and keep multiplies the dollar with the current rupee rate happy? People in other countries earn thousands of dollars and work in quite ordinary conditions, but they act like making forty thousand dollars to protect their anonymity. We go there to earn money, and, for that, we leave everything we know, including our family, relatives and, our origin. We face the hard weather and other obstacles there, but we never become part of their life. We’ve gotten entangled in the Dollars Business.
Traditional Indian civilization places a higher value on personal relationships than on money.
Chandru is so focused on the dollar that he has little time to express his emotions to his mother while she is in America. Globalization means more money. The dollar cripples the intellect of Indians. The overwhelming strength of the dollar has blinded the majority of people. ‘Dollar Bahu’ is a narrative about hopes, goals, culture, and simple life. The book shows how money corrupts man’s life, as well as how freeing life may be when free of the stringent rules that control middle-class living.
The story expresses a simple concept: people’s misconceptions about the glitter and earning potential of a profession in the United States, causing them to miss out on the most significant aspects of life.
Despite the melodramatic presentation, this novel is worthy of your read.