The Golden Son by Shilpi Somaya Gowda Summary Study Guide

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Plot Summary Part 1

Anil is a boy in India. As a child he watched his father at work. His father was an arbitrator handling a case.  Anil's uncle wanted a divorce from his aunt. His aunt had given birth to a baby with a malformed lip, and Anil's uncle believed her v_gina was malfunctioning and he wanted a divorce so he could impregnate a woman whose v_gina was working properly.

Anil's father said that the fault may well lie with the uncle's p_nis rather than the aunt's v_gina. He had the child brought in for lip surgery and when her lip was normalized everyone was happy. This example of his Dad's arbitration skill didn't make Anil want to become an arbitrator like his father, but rather a doctor.

As a child Anil had a crush on a local girl named Leena. One time when they were smoking the local equivalent of marijuana Anil noticed that Leena had not yet grown breasts. But even though she looked like a flat chested boy he wanted to bone her. They sat in a tree watching a man bone his servant. Then Anil and Leena were discovered watching this, and they were forced to flee.

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This incident stayed in Anil's mind a long time, and was one of his fondest memories of Leena. This strikes me as odd, because nothing happened. They smoked some pot and didn't even kiss. The closest they got to sex was watching some strangers doing it. And yet this non-event was of tremendous importance to Anil.

Many years later, Anil goes to medical school in India, and then goes to Dallas, Texas, for some post-medical school training. He meets an Indian guy named Baldev who introduces him to a neighbor named Amber. Baldev tells Amber that his name is Dave and Anil's name is Neil. Amber is a white chick and Baldev thinks they will have a better chance of boning her if they act like white people.

Anil works in the supervision of other doctors. One patient is sick and he can't figure out why. His supervisor tells him he is retarded for not conducting a proper examination and noticing the needle marks on the arms of the patient--he is a drug addict. Anil feels like a dummy because he is a dummy. This is why if you're sick and want to live longer, go to an American doctor who has gone to an American medical school.

Meanwhile, Leena has grown up and she has been sold in an arranged marriage to a guy named Girish. That's right, his name is Girish, like "Girlish". Leena marries Girish even though she knows nothing about him. They don't even have their own home. Leena moves into his family house and Girish's relatives treat her like a servant. She is forced to work in the fields like a slave during the day. At night Girish slaps her around, bangs her head against the wall, and when he bones her he pins her arms above her head like she is a sex slave.

Meanwhile, back at the hospital in Dallas, Anil's sloppy examination of another patient results in the death of that patient. Ooops! His boss Sonia tells him that he f'ed up. But it is not a big deal for her, there are plenty more patients to let Anil experiment with, saying "Don't beat yourself up too much. Just make sure you learn from it." Anil let a patient die, but Sonia says he shouldn't be too upset. Anyone want to go to a hospital in India? Not me!

Meanwhile, back in India, Girish's aunt Rekha smacks Leena with a piece of wood every time she is dissatisfied with Leena's cooking.

Anil's dad dies. He goes back to India for the funeral. Since his father was the local arbitrator, Anil is called on to take his father's place for a part-time basis. This makes no sense. Are jobs inherited in India?

Anil settles disputes like two people who claim the same water well and two farmers who claimed the same tree.

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