In this eloquent collection of stories twelve different people from different walks of life discover how one chance meeting with a stranger can change a person forever. Madhu B. Wangu draws from her own Indian-American heritage and examines the lives of ordinary people facing challenging circumstances—cruelty, prejudiced minds, twisted family relationships, unhappy marriages—and demonstrates how these situations transcend ethnicity and background as interactions with strangers force each character to look deep within themselves, often acknowledging painful truths and long-held secrets, in order to seize control of their own destinies and forge their own paths to independence and happiness.
Madhu Bazaz Wangu poignantly weaves a universal message that ties the characters in these stories together, one that applies to anyone who has experienced poverty, jealousy, fear, prejudice, disillusionment, and above all, the feeling of being a foreigner, even within one’s own family.
Secret Healer: One small town boy’s journey from the innocence of childhood to the injustices of servitude before finding shelter with an old man.
Cadmium and Crimson: Two sculptors, one goal—to make masterpieces in three dimensions. The older dedicates his life to art and his younger contemporary to success. Where do their intentions lead them?
Blackened Mirror: A successful artist discovers his authentic self.
A Chance Meeting: A young man treats a total stranger the way he wants to be treated without expecting anything in return to amazing effect.
Yellow Jacket: The protagonist is unable to resolve the guilt caused by the jealousy toward his younger brother as a result of his sudden death.
The Thug: In an intense, frightful hour, a woman realizes the folly of gossip.
A Precious Gift: After her son’s death, a distraught woman learns from her old mother how to cope with loss.
An American Dialogue A synchronic event changes a prejudiced woman’s beliefs about a man from a religion other than her own.
Darkness Behind Eyes: At the age of seventy-two, the deep driving desire of a woman who has wanted to learn to read since her teen years helps her achieve her goal.
Gauri’s Freedom: An arranged marriage dramatically alters a young woman’s plans for her life until she meets another woman by chance who inspires her to take her life into her own hands through determination and self-sufficiency.
Cycle of Life: A young, idealistic woman learns why and how life goes on despite suffering, anguish and physical pain.
Portable Shrine: A writer discovers she is capable of more than she thought through the life lessons learned by the characters in her novel.
A Historian of Asian Religions and Indian Art, Madhu B. Wangu taught Hindu and Buddhist art at Wheaton College, Wellesley, University of Rhode Island and University of Pittsburgh. She has published four non-fiction books and numerous essays in scholarly anthologies. “Chance Meetings” is her debut story collection.
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