Monday, March 5, 2018

Shoba Narayan's "The Milk Lady of Bangalore"

Shoba Narayan is an award-winning author and columnist. Her books include Return to India: an immigrant memoir, Monsoon Diary: a memoir with recipes, and the newly released The Milk Lady of Bangalore: An Unexpected Adventure.

Narayan graduated from the Columbia Journalism School which awarded her a Pulitzer Fellowship; and is an alumnus of Mount Holyoke College and Women’s Christian College.

She applied the “Page 99 Test” to The Milk Lady of Bangalore and reported the following:
Page 99 of my book is where I rant about the benefits of A2 milk. It is sort of symbolic because currently, I am trying to source and buy milk from “desi” or native Indian cows. These are humped cattle-- the Bos indicus species-- and their milk is supposed to be “non-diabetogenic” and good for milk allergies. This is also true of most native breeds such as the English Jersey cows.

There is a poignant statement in my book about how Indians should market indigenous cow milk like the French market cheese. We have at least 108 native Indian cow breeds. Farmers don’t like them because they produce less milk than the Holstein-Freisan breeds. But the native cows are hardier, and give healthier milk.

That said, the tone of the writing in page 99 is much more activist than the humorous tone of the rest of the work.

One thing that comes through loud and clear on this page is how I have fallen in love with cows: their limpid eyes, their gentle demeanor, their implicit generosity, their ambling gait-- what’s not to love?

Page 99 touches on the politics of milk. The cow in India has now become so political. The hardest part of the book was to chase the various political stories that are now epitomized by the cow, and finally decide to delete all of them and make the book apolitical and therefore, hopefully, timeless.

I grew up with cows roaming the streets in India. That said, a particular set of circumstances had to come together, almost as if the universe was conspiring to bring them to me, in order for this book to happen.
Visit Shoba Narayan's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Milk Lady of Bangalore.

--Marshal Zeringue