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The Milk Lady of Bangalore: An Unexpected Adventure

When Shoba Narayan moved with her family from New York City to Bangalore, India, the last thing she expected to see, wedged sideways on the elevator in her new apartment building, was a cow. Yet, the sight of it brought a smile to her face; after 20 years of living in the U.S., the cow's presence made her realize she was home again.

The cow belonged to Sarala, the milk lady who sold fresh milk across the street, and it was needed for a housewarming ceremony on the third floor. Good luck would be assured by having the cow in the apartment and even better luck if the cow pooped in the apartment. Hoping for the same auspicious beginnings, Narayan managed to have the cow walk through her new apartment, too, and was soon on a journey into the milk and cow culture of India.

She began buying fresh, raw milk from Sarala, a business arrangement that grew into a deep friendship. Narayan learned to see cows and the culture of cows in India in a new light. And when Sarala approached Narayan with the idea of buying a cow to increase her herd in exchange for free milk, their bond grew stronger.

Using humor and charm, Narayan blends her tale of learning about cows from Sarala and her family with the cultural, religious and historical importance of cows in India. Anyone with the slightest interest in India or cows will find The Milk Lady of Bangalore a delight. --Lee E. Cart, freelance writer and book reviewer