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Bharati Mukherjee

            As Bharati Mukherjee tells us in her essay "Love Me or Leave Me", life in India wasn't exactly a fairytale with a perfect ending. It was hard for Bharati because she was bound to her Hindu religion, in which women were inferior to men. She would never be allowed to inherit her father's business because she was a woman, or even choose her own husband. "He was interviewing Bengali Brahmin bachelors in order to find me the perfect groom" (188). Although her father was a "contradictory man" (ibid), he sent his daughter to America because he wanted her to go to the University of Iowa where she would progress into a successful woman. He wanted to be able to say, "[m]y daughters are all educated women" (ibid). The person who encouraged him most to do this was a filmmaker Doris Day. "He would sing 'Que Sera, Sera.' 'What Will Be, Will Be'…it synthesized a New World pleasure in risk taking with a fatalistic Hindu acceptance of disastrous outcomes" (189). He basically believed that everything happened for a reason, and whatever happens must happen for a reason. Bharati's father enjoyed Doris Day's films because she was "an empowered woman" (188) who was enrolled in the "realistic-looking façade" (ibid) of America. However, Doris Day's film, "Love Me or Leave Me" inspired Bharati and showed her that America was a country with opportunities and that she would be able to exceed tradition and become the writer that she has always dreamed of becoming: " 'It' was my own desire to be a writer and touch people with my novels" (190).
             Bharati Mukherjee has always fantasized of living in America, "the land of opportunities". The thing that stopped her was her family. "The truth, which I couldn't share with my family, was that I was happier in Iowa City than in Calcutta" (188). She was content because she knew that this was where she had the chance to pursue her writing career. Bharati had already begun writing her first novel at age nine.