My name is Madhu Sameer. Samsaara is my story. It is also a the story of every woman in the patriarchical world.
Samsaara is Sanskrit for the process of birth, death, rebirth, a cyclic process with no clear beginning or end which encompasses lives of perpetual, serial attachments. I was born, died several deaths along the way, only to be born again, as a stronger, better version of myself.
The first memoir, An Absurdity Called Love, is about my childhood and adolescence in India. My parents passed away at my birth, and the years leading from birth to the age of 25 were extremely tremulous, but I persevered and prevailed. I drew inspiration from A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, Gone With the Wind, Great Expectations, and Fierce Attachments (Vivian Gornick)
The second memoir, Love, Trauma & Individuation, is about my marriage. Unlike most Indians I did not want to chance an arranged marriage. Unfortunately, I jumped from frying pan into the fire. Culture, and relatives made it impossible for me to divorce him. Its a story of enduring an abusive and exploitative marriage.
I finally broke away in 2003, which starts off the third memoir, The California Files. Hell hath no fury as an Indian man scorned – and the legal nightmare began. My ex-husband sexually molested the children and robbed us of over $10m in property and support by bribing professionals and public officers in Santa Clara County. This was the most complex of the stories, braiding the story of my life, with children’s lives, with legal proceedings that spanned the next 20 years. The California Files was most difficult to write, so I tackled this one first for publication. The last chapter is unfurling in real time in Santa Clara & Fresno County and the memoir is timely.
In order to escape from threats, assaults, intimidation and everyday domestic violence, I moved to New Zealand in 2015, but I dont know whether it would have been better to endure the abuse in California, or being subject to racial and financial abuse in New Zealand ? My trials and tribulations in New Zealand are covered in the fourth memoir called The New Zealand Files.
My character arc seems to have been a path of individuation. Of discovering myself. Of growing up and facing the amoral adult world all alone. Of demolishing constructs that I was fed by the society, to see things as they really were, not as we were taught that they are. To see the world through a new set of eyes. To find my place, position in the world. For this understanding of the universe, I am indebted to my education in Fresno State, the Buddhist Teachings, Meditation, Jung’s analysis of Book of Job, Bhagvad Gita and my journeys into the realm of Shiva. The fifth book, My Spiritual Odyssey, details my spiritual growth in the face of life challenges as I head into the evening of life.
Samsaara is the story of suffering, endurance, growth and individuation. It traces my life as an Indian women, an orphan, agnostic, timid, easily frightened, manipulated and controlled, and a slow but steady transformation of this central character under the plethora of grueling challenges. The series showcases the comparative lives of women in four continents, and how women experience law, order, career prospects in each of these continents. The series exposes the myth of equality of women in United States and in the third world countries. The conclusions arising quite naturally through showing of these lived experiences are unexpected and unique.