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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Desai's depiction of Uma is one of unremarkability.  Uma is shown to be someone whose life has been devoid of spark or the sense of the remarkable.  Perhaps, it could have possessed one or two flickers of intense luminosity.  Yet, Uma's life is one that can be faced by many a girl child in India.  She is a spinster, one that has ventured out to try to carve out her own identity only to have forces conspire against her to fail.  She lives her life not for herself, but for others.  Whether it is to ensure that Uma lives to take care of Arun, the baby boy of the family, or to guarantee her parents' comfort, Uma's existence has ceased to be for her own self- actualization. As a girl, Uma's social condition was one in which she was to get married.  Having seen this attempt fail multiple times and being denied the chance to carve out her own sense of being in the world, Uma is left to a life that involves tending to others' needs as opposed to her own.   In many respects, Uma's path is the "fasting" experience to the awareness of self, whereas Arun's is the "feasting" experience.