speculate about Renu's trajectory of self-reclamation:
Imagine Renu like this, cut off from the inside of herself and aware of the world--a teeming, passionate world--around her. Imagine that with each step, she was walking away from her superstitions and fears, away from her self-wrought sickness, her desire to live in the past. Imagine her stepping away from her inherited weights, demanding flight.
This is our secret dream, our need to break free from the ground on which we half the time drag our feet resentfully, because we have been told that it is important and correct to feel the earth beneath, even while flight is in our hearts. Weightless travel, metaphorical soul-soaring, a shedding of swallowed stones, a mobility that can hold the keys of the universe.
Our heroes are those who defy gravity, the gods who live in the clouds, beings who walk on water, those with magic boots and capes. There are some of us forever at our windows, waiting for rescue from the world outside. But even the sages walked on the earth; they gathered staffs and bowls, placed foot after foot further into life, eyes open, palms open.
Renu Krisnan stood on the beach on the island of Pi, ready for her journey. (173-174)
That this feminist flight/journey is not read negatively as an escape from life is ensured by the reference to the gravity, vision, and receptivity of sages, "placing foot after foot further into life, eyes open, palms open."
It is befitting to end the present survey of Indian-American writers on this shared note of constructive endings and beginnings. It is, after all, this "shedding of swallowed stones" that we find in Meena Alexander Fault Lines, this "stepping away from her inherited weights" in Bharati Mukherjee Jasmine, this reclamation of a "teeming, passionate world" in the poetry of Chitra Divakaruni and Sujata Bhatt and Shahid Ali, this desire to "break free from the ground" that unites the "women of the South Asian Diaspora" whose feet tread the sky. We can look forward to significant work by American-born generations, and, as the distinct identity of this literature becomes apparent, hopefully many more voices will be encouraged. Here, let us also be aware that the writing of this chapter, indeed the publication of this volume, is a small instantiation of the fact that ethnic and national literary traditions are also constructed and fostered--and that we have begun that important task.
Alexander Meena. House of a Thousand Doors. Washington, DC: Three Continents Press, 1988.
-----. The Storm, A Poem in Five Parts. New York: Red Dust Press, 1989.
-----. Nampally Road. San Francisco: Mercury House, 1991.
-----. Night Scene, The Garden. New York: Red Dust Press, 1991.
-----. "Is There an Asian American Aesthetics?" Samar (South Asian Magazine for Action and Reflection) ( Winter 1992): 26-27.