Sister Of My Heart Summary

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Sister Of My Heart

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Sister Of My Heart Summary

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Sister of My Heart by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is a novel told in two parts. Book one comprises the first twenty chapters, and book two the last twenty-two chapters. Book one begins with Pishi telling a story to Sudha and Anju. The story is about the BidhataPurush, who is a god. BidhataPurush comes to newborns on the night they are born to inscribe the babies’ fortunes on their foreheads. For Sudha and Anju, two cousins who live as sisters, Pishi is their mother figure. They were both born early, and Pishi stayed with them on their first night to look after them. Sudha imagines what BidhataPurush wrote on their foreheads: good luck and fortune for Anju, and beauty, goodness, and perhaps sorrow for herself. Anju hates the entire world, except for Sudha.

By convincing Pishi to tell her the truth of her and Anju’s fathers’ deaths, Sudha learns the shocking fact that she and Anju are not actually sisters, but cousins. Sudha and Anju argue over birthday presents, which are part of their bridal dowry, and Sudha asks Anju if she would love her were they not related; she is relieved when Anju says she would love her no matter what. They decide to skip school to go see a movie.They dress up in fancy clothes and makeup. Sudha meets a man and gives her name and address to him before they are caught and ushered home. Sudha’s mother decrees that she will be married as soon as she finishes school.

Sudha accepts this after she sees her mother crying, but Anju is angry with Sudha for being willing to go along with it. Sudha tells Anju that she has always wanted a happy family and thinks marriage will get her there. She sees Ashok, the man from the movie theater, again—he has a letter for her, but she doesnot take it. Later, for her graduation, he gives her a diamond ring as a gift, and she tells him her mother wants her to marry.He promises that his parents will request that he marry her. Meanwhile, Anju forms an infatuation with Singhji. When Anju’s mother has a heart attack, Sudha decides that Anju must marry without haste.

Shortly after, as both girls are preparing to marry, their mothers go to the matchmaker. Sudha is matched with Ramesh Sanyal, who works with Indian Railways. Sudha wants to marry Ashok, so she goes to Singhji and asks him to help her.He sets up a way for her to meet with Ashok in secret, though she tells Anju about it. Ashok and Sudha plan to elope. Meanwhile, Anju discovers that her intended—Sunil—is a man with whom she has common ground when they bond over Virginia Woolf, but later Sunil tells Sudha she is beautiful. When she asks him to stop, he apologizes. Sudha decides not to elope, because she thinks it will ruin Anju’s chance at a happy marriage.

Sudha finds a packet of money with a letter that reveals that her father is alive. When she goes to Pishi with this information, they figure out that Sudha’s father must have killed Anju’s father. Sudha decides she cannot keep the money, even if she and Ashok could live a lifetime on it, and determines she will give it to beggars. Both of the girls get married, and it is then that Anju realizes her husband, Sunil, is in love with Sudha, and she runs from the room in anger.

In book two,Sudha and Ramesh decide to wait to become intimate, because Sudha is uncomfortable with Ramesh. Meanwhile,Anju dislikes her violent and angry father-in-law. Sunil plans to return to America, and Anju goes to stay with her mother while he is gone. Sudha’s new family acts as though she is a servant, and when Anju visits, she notices and is aggravated by this. Time passes and Sudha and Ramesh are frustrated by their inability to get pregnant. Sudha and Anju communicate through letters after Anjugoes to America. She thinks often about leaving Sunil, though she loves him. They argue about Sudha. As it turns out, Sudha is able to conceive, but Ramesh is not able to father a child.

Ashok asks Sudha to come away with him, but once more she gives him up in hopes of having a baby. Anju, meanwhile, becomes pregnant. When she finally calls home to tell her family, she learns that Sudha is also pregnant; however, when it is revealed that Sudha is having a girl, Ramesh’s family wants the baby aborted. Sudha flees to her mother’s, and Ramesh’s family sends divorce papers. When Anju learns of this, she decides to get a job to pay for Sudha to come to America. Meanwhile, Ashok wants to marry Sudha, but does not want to raise her daughter and asks if Sudha will leave her baby with her mother. She starts to consider moving to America with Anju.

Sunil finds out about Anju’s job and they argue. Anju goes into labor, but the baby does not survive. Sudha promises to come to America. After her daughter, Dayita, is born, Ashok returns and asks Sudha to marry him again, saying this time that he will raise and love Dayita. However, Sudha decides that she will take her daughter to America because she promised Anju. Ashok gives her a credit card so that she can live in comfort and return to India at any time. Before she leaves, Sudha finds out that Ramesh is remarrying. Sudha also learns through a letter from her father that while he did not kill Anju’s father, he feels responsible for his death, and that Anju is her sister.

Even though Sunil is obviously still in love with Sudha, Anju decides that they can find a way to share in each other’s lives after she realizes how glad she is to see Sudha, and how much she loves Dayita.