Thursday, May 14, 2009

Blog: Red Carpet


I also agree with the previous post that The Red Carpet was interesting and insightful. Many points in the story caught my attention and forced me to rethink certain ideas the story presented, such as in the first two paragraphs, when Rangappa was renamed as Raju. The interviewer said, “the job is yours, provided you are courteous, prompt, and steady in you habits… Oh, and on the job you will be called Raju.” (1) After reading those lines, I agree with Cynthia and Kayla’s comments on how demeaning and rude it was for the interviewer to give Rangappa a new name. The way in which the interviewer told Rangappa that he would have to change his name, “Oh, and on the job you will be called Raju,” (1) was striking to me because I felt that it was made in a smug and condescending tone. To me, it was as if the interviewer had given him praise by saying “your driving was satisfactory”(1) and the interviewer was just about to give him the job, before coincidently remembering that the most important requirement for the job was being given a new name. It surprised me that Raju was more than willing to change his name because it is a significant part of his identity, signifying him as a member of the village of Tarikere and by forgoing his true identity, just for a job, was disrespectful to those apart of his community.

Again, I agree with Cynthia about the differing ideas about a women’s role in American and Indian societies. Not only are women in the Indian culture expected to cover up their entire body, they are not given the same opportunities as men. Sankaran introduces this idea in a unique way because she presents Raju’s father as someone who upholds more of the traditional Indian values, generally believing “daughters were considered the usual burden”(7) , where as Raju, thinks a little differently about a women’s role. While Raju was preparing for his interview, his father yelled down to Raju’s wife, “give your husband a new shirt,”(2) seeing as how they couldn’t afford a new shirt, Raju doesn’t get angry with his wife, he simply said, “Never mind. I’ll go as I am.”(2) Raju also states numerous times throughout the story that he desires his daughter to be “…educated…healthy… well nourished…”(7) and even a “…may-dum in her own right.”(7) Although I understand that he wants his daughter to have more opportunities than most Indian women, at the same time, he doesn’t seem to give his wife the same expectations. For instance, when the family was preparing for Mrs. Choudhary’s visit, the task of organizing the house was left up to Raju’s father and not Raju’s wife because “she lacked the experience. She was not a man of the world.” (8) To me, that comment contradicts Raju’s aspirations for his daughter because he wants her to be independent and wealthy, but yet he doesn’t want the same for his wife. Why does he hold such high expectations for his daughter and not for his wife?

Another occurrence that I found interesting occurred when Raju was talking to Mrs. Choudhary, about his daughter’s education and when he really began to think about it, he wondered, “ how… he could possible take care of Hema in the manner of his dreams?” (8) Although Raju desires to provide for his family and give his daughter a top education so she can “work in an office, in a job that would one day earn her a car of her own…” (7) when reading that line, I felt as if Raju wants to live out his dreams through his daughter. Earlier in the story, Raju said, “…he wished he could turn down his cousin” (1) because he “…decided he didn’t like the sound of the job,” (1) and it seems as if since Raju can’t accomplish his goals of working somewhere that pays him well enough that he too could have a car and not have to take two buses to get to and from work, he will invest his time in providing his daughter with the tools she will need in order to accomplish all of his goals.

Finally, in response to Jenny’s question about the title of the story and how it fits in with the text, my answer doesn’t vary much from yours because I too think that Raju associates the red carpet with wealth and power. However, Mrs. Choudhary disagrees with Raju about the carpet’s significance because it doesn’t mean as much to her as it does for a poor man of the working class. I think that Raju appoints everything of value to something that is famous and valued by all, such as the name he gave to his daughter, Hema Malini, the name of a film actress.

In essence, Raju is Mrs. Choudhary’s chafer and he when he takes her places, such as to visit Herma’s school and to clubs, there seems to be this red carpet that she walks on as people admire and recognize her. In essence, Raju is Mrs. Choudhary’s chafer the closets things he may ever come to a red carpet is the one that lies on the floor of Mrs. Choudhary’s car.

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