Shrayana Bhattacharya trained in development economics at Delhi University and Harvard University. Since 2014, in her role as an economist at a multilateral development bank, she has focused on issues related to social policy and jobs. Prior to this, she worked on research projects with the Centre for Policy Research, SEWA Union and Institute of Social Studies Trust. Her writing has appeared in the Indian Express, EPW, Indian Quarterly and The Caravan. She lives in New Delhi.
In this pathbreaking work, Shrayana Bhattacharya maps the economic and personal trajectories--the jobs, desires, prayers, love affairs and rivalries--of a diverse group of women. Divided by class but united in fandom, they remain steadfast in their search for intimacy, independence and fun. Embracing Hindi film idol Shah Rukh Khan allows them a small respite from an oppressive culture, a fillip to their fantasies of a friendlier masculinity in Indian men. Most struggle to find the freedom-or income-to follow their favourite actor.
Bobbing along in this stream of multiple lives for more than a decade-from Manju's boredom in 'rurban' Rampur and Gold's anger at having to compete with Western women for male attention in Delhi's nightclubs, to Zahira's break from domestic abuse in Ahmedabad-Bhattacharya gleans the details on what Indian women think about men, money, movies, beauty, helplessness, agency and love. A most unusual and compelling book on the female gaze, this is the story of how women have experienced post-liberalization India.