Chasms and Relationships
Ranjana Kaul
THE SPACE BETWEEN US by Thrity Umrigar Harper Collins India, 2006, 321 pp., 350
June 2006, volume 30, No 6

Thrity Umrigar’s second novel , The Space Between Us is, to put it very simplistically, the story of Sera Dubash, a middle class westernized Parsi, and Bhima, her maid. In this novel Umrigar moves beyond the world of middle-class Parsis which she portrayed so well in Bombay Time, and depicts the wide spectrum of class and society which constitutes the fabric of life in a modern Indian metropolis. Bhima is a representative of that extensive support system of workers without whom most Indian middle class households would collapse; individuals who touch upon the lives of their privileged employers intimately but themselves remain peripheral and insignificant entities in any deeper and meaningful sense in those lives. Her relationship with Sera, based on the struggle for survival on the one hand and necessity on the other, illustrates those subtle nuances of separation and distance from the lower classes which most middle class Indians accept without thought.

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