One of the passages that stood out to me a little more than the other passages in “Love and Longing in Bombay” happened in Shakti, when Sheila and Ganga were having a conversation and Ganga states
I mean that she doesn’t see me, if she’s talking to someone she keeps on
talking. To such high people the rest of the world is invisible. People like
me she cannot see. It’s not that she’s being rude. It’s just that she cannot see me. (pg 69)
In this exact moment, when Ganga spoke about being invisible to people who were “higher” than her, as far as social status, I didn’t relate to Ganga, nor did I relate to Sheila. I felt more like an outsider who ended up sympathizing more with Ganga, because, naturally, I don’t think anyone likes to be ignored, whether it be an accident or not. I didn’t relate to one character more than I did to the other because Chandra set up the story where he gave me a glimpse of both Sheila and Ganga’s lives. I saw how extravagant Sheila lived and how she used her money to climb up the social ladder and how Ganga used her money to make life better for her and her daughter. There wasn’t a time when I was thrown into one’s world more than the other, in my opinion, so that is why I saw I felt like an outsider just observing. I also think that by having the story being told my Subramaniam made it less personal as far as the story coming from Sheila or Ganga’s perspective. Had it been from either of the ladies’ perspectives, I would’ve definitely identified with one more than the other.
When I was reading Shakti, and how extravagant these women were, and how they used their money to basically make friends, it was eerily similar to what America, or at least mainstream America seem to be so obsessed with, The Real Housewives saga. The first Real Housewives began a couple years ago with The Real Housewives of Orange County, then that was so successful that there were multiple spinoffs that include Real Housewives of New York, Beverly Hills, and Atlanta. All these shows do is showcase these women, who, most of them, married into money and do nothing all day but thinking of ways to top the next housewife. The feud between Sheila and Dolly reminded me of this, especially when Dolly called Sheila to be invited to the Shanghai Club, and she straight out lied to her about her involvement in the club.
As I mentioned earlier, these women spend their days thinking of the extravagant ways that they can keep their names in the mouth of their neighbors and the people who are in their circle, often times expressing how horrible they feel for people who cant live like they do, followed by a throaty laugh and a hair flip. Most of the people who watch these shows and are so enamored with the lifestyle they see don’t live that kind of lifestyle, and honestly will probably never live that lifestyle. I guess what I’m trying to get at is, and I’m going completely off my emotions, but it shouldn’t matter how much money a person has, or doesn’t have, everyone should be treated the same. I’m not saying that I have always done this, because I haven’t.
Ganga spoke about not being seen and it didn’t seem like she was bothered by Dolly’s actions in the least. It’s something that she just accepts. It’s obvious, however that despite the fact that Dolly ignored Ganga, she had no choice but to pay attention to Dolly and she clearly did because, in a comedic twist (at least to me), she paid enough attention to Dolly that’s she was able to tell Sheila information about the bank in Hong Kong that no one else could have known.