chapter  1
1 Fictions of Identity
Pages 23

Listening to the interview tapes is like visiting old acquaintances. But infact, I met Seema-the subject of the first of 54 interviews with women of similar social backgrounds-only once. Comfortably seated in her office in Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay) on a midsummer afternoon, Seema, 21 years old, attractive and articulate, tells me about her life. She holds an administrative position at a nursing home and expects to marry sometime in the not-too-distant future. She describes herself as a little immature but passionate, and speaks at length about herself and her life. Frequently, especially when she is concentrating on her thoughts, Seema runs her fingers through her layered, loosely worn hair. She speaks about what matters to her, what it means to be a woman, her recollections about getting her first menstrual period, encounters with male sexual aggression, her sexual desires and practices, and her expectations related to marriage and motherhood.