Today, going from the nonfiction world (writing about adoption) to fiction (still writing about adoption), I’m presenting scenes from my longtime novel-in-progress, The Hand of Ganesha. For months, the book was orphaned. Procrastination, however, brought fresh ideas and new energy. Moving full steam ahead, the central themes of adoption and the search for authenticity are propelling the book forward. Once a month, I’ll be devoting this website to gradual unfolding of the novel.
Here’s a brief summary: The two central characters are both adult adoptees. Clara Jordan, part Native American, loves her adoptive parents, but feels driven to find out about her origins. Arundati Ragan, known to her friends as “Dottie,” lost her adoptive parents in the Mumbai massacre of 2008. She now longs to go to India to search for her birthparents. Like Clara, she is challenged by the mystery surrounding her origins. When the two adoptees’ paths cross, they become friends and decide to travel together to India.
Arundhati Benet was pushed open the library’s heavy doors. Dot Benet, as she was
known to her friends, shouldered in a briefcase heavy with articles from magazines, books, handwritten notes. She also lugged a carrying case with a new MacBook Thin and charging device. She headed toward the nearest carrel. Dottie Benet was not her original name. Born Arundhati Rangan, she was one of two adult adoptees in the library that day..
“May I help you find anything?” The reference librarian’s question pierced through Clara’s reverie.
The University of Virginia Library’s deep silence so engulfed her, she thought rather than voiced her first response. Well yes, my roots, my origins, where I’m from. I doubt that you could help me with that.
The middle-aged gray haired, bespeckled woman stood impatiently, hovering over Clara’s table, awaiting an answer.
Finally Clara answered, “I’m doing some genealogy research. Just browsing…actually, looking for ideas.”
“There are some websites I can direct you to.” When Clara didn’t answer, the librarian continued. “If you’ll tell me more about your search, maybe there are materials right here in the library that you could begin with.”
This woman looked trustworthy. Why not tell all? She was getting nowhere on her own, and the longer she waited, the less likely that she’d discover the truth.
Clara, who usually didn’t confide in anyone – much less total strangers – decided to open up.
Author’s Note: Stay tuned for monthly installments. If you have questions about Clara or Dottie, please write to me in the comment box and, as their spokeswoman, I’ll do my best to answer.