Shoba Narayan returns to India with her family after living in NYC for 20 years. Upon arrival at her new apartment, she meets Sarala and her cow in the elevator. Sarala explains that the cow is there to bless a new apartment on the third floor. Narayan asks the woman and her cow to bless her apartment as well and thus begins a friendship and a fascination with cows. Sarala sells milk straight from the cow outside the apartment building each day. The two women spend time each morning discussing family, traditions and, of course, cows. When Sarala's cow is killed, Narayan embarks on a journey with her to find the perfect cow. Along the way, she learns to embrace the mix of traditional and modern customs in India.
Most people know that cows are revered in India. But they probably don't know that Indians use cow dung and cow urine for medicinal purposes and that the color of the cow and the shape of its horns are indicators for the amount and type of milk it will produce. Such information is presented in a colorful way, evoking the sounds and smells of India. Wonderful photos of the people and cows featured in the book are included.
Reviewed by bmk, 3/18. Other reviews by bmk.