Sister of My Heart Questions and Answers
by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

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In Sister of My Heart, how did Sudha and Anju get married? What are the differences in their married lives? 

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Sudha's and Anju’s marriages came about at the same time, and they were caused by the same circumstances. They both had ambitions of attending college and being more than the housewives Indian society expected them to be. However, circumstances conspired to prevent them from doing so. Specifically, they were caught skipping school and there were some health problems in the family.

Even though Sudha and Anju got married in the same way, their lives afterwards were quite different. Sudha moves in with her husband and his family, including his overbearing mother. Anju eventually moves to the United States to be with her husband. Both men treat their wives relatively well, but Sudha is confined to being a traditional Indian housewife while Anju attends university and has more freedom. Sudha is unhappy with this, and the breaking point occurs when she becomes pregnant with a baby girl and her mother-in-law insists she get an abortion, as a male firstborn is highly valued in Indian society. Her husband doesn’t insist on an abortion, but is complacent. In contrast, Anju is pregnant at the same time, and her husband is overjoyed. This dynamic leads Sudha to eventually move to the United States to be with Anju.

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albjosep | Student

While Anju and Sudha originally had plans to go to college, this changes into marriage plans. This change occurred after the two girls were caught skipping school and a health scare in the family. The two marriages are arranged and both girls end up getting married on the same day. 

Newly wed Indian woman traditionally move in with their husbands, and will thus leave their homes to form a new one at a different location. Sudha travels to a different part of India to live with her new husband and in-laws. Anju, on the other hand, travels to the United States where her new husband works. In addition to the great geographic distance, the two girls were pushed apart even further by the marriage arrangement. Anju learned that her husband was attracted to Sudha, which led her to feel some relief when moving away from Sudha.