Lucky Everyday: A Novel

( 10 )

Overview

An inspiring novel about a women named Lucky who is anything but . . .

Forced to flee Bombay when her wealthy and charming husband divorces her and squashes her career, Lucky Boyce feels defeated and desperate for respite. Fortunately, old friends welcome her to New York where life begins with promise. Determined and trying to make a difference, she volunteers to teach yoga to prison inmates. But with her confidence in question and love starting to surface, a series of bizarre ...

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Lucky Everyday: A Novel

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Overview

An inspiring novel about a women named Lucky who is anything but . . .

Forced to flee Bombay when her wealthy and charming husband divorces her and squashes her career, Lucky Boyce feels defeated and desperate for respite. Fortunately, old friends welcome her to New York where life begins with promise. Determined and trying to make a difference, she volunteers to teach yoga to prison inmates. But with her confidence in question and love starting to surface, a series of bizarre events leave Lucky searching once again for answers. Is her journey through life destined to be marred by duplicity and betrayal? Or does she simply need to overcome her fears and look within for the strength to break free? A stunning novel about one woman's struggle toward enlightenment, Lucky Everyday blends the principles of yoga with a thoroughly modern take on the quest for a fulfilled life.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"I want every woman in the world to read Bapsy's book."
-Bikram Choudhury
Publishers Weekly

Lucky Boyce flees to New York from Bombay after the breakup of her disastrous marriage to a glamorous but controlling husband in Indian author Jain's overstuffed novel. Lucky's lost her status, her self-confidence and her business; struggling to find a purpose in all this through yoga and meditation, she volunteers to teach yoga at the local prison. She soon runs into an old flame, now married but still in love with her, and an opportunity to turn a former business rival into an ally. As she moves toward enlightenment, Lucky's thwarted by ever more bizarre roadblocks: she is mugged, framed for murder, robbed, gets pregnant, ad infinitum, all interspersed with descriptions of visions and prophetic dreams, putting her somewhere between Job and Bridget Jones. Though Lucky herself is a fully imagined, flawed but endearing character, the constant reliance on luck to shape the plot combined with a disappointing ending make this a mediocre read at best. (June)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

This debut novel (originally published in India as The Blind Pilgrim) sneaks up on readers and pulls them in. We first meet Lucky Boyce when she is being driven into a prison, where she volunteers to teach yoga to male inmates. Her life had been turned upside down by divorce and the loss of her job, but Lucky is determined to survive. Forced to leave Bombay, she finds herself living with friends of her parents in New York and wanting to move on. Initially, Lucky volunteers at the prison in order to escape her own pain. But she finds the inmates teaching her about life as much, if not more, as she teaches them. Is it a coincidence that odd things start to happen as Lucky becomes more confident? Odd things like murder and people disappearing? Readers will identify with Lucky as she looks within herself for strength. VERDICT How lucky to review a book that is so refreshing and thought-provoking! This novel took ten years to write, and readers will appreciate Jain's sticking with it. Highly recommended for those who enjoy first novels and contemporary Indian fiction.—Marika Zemke, Commerce Twp. Community Lib., MI


—Marika Zemke
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143115359
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/26/2009
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 1,537,906
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

In addition to writing, Bapsy Jain is an entrepreneur and educator. She divides her time between Singapore, Dubai, and Bombay. She is married with two sons.

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Reading Group Guide

INTRODUCTION
“We are not human beings seeking spiritual experience, but spiritual beings undergoing a human experience.” —Lucky Everyday

Not long ago, Lucky Boyce had every reason to believe that she had been aptly named. After her big promotion at Paterson & Company in New York, the lovely Lucky was wooed and won by the dashing and highly eligible Vikram Singh. He whisked her off to Bombay and marked her as his bride with a custom-made, four-carat, heart-shaped diamond ring. Lucky felt as if the world were at her feet. Until Vikram forcibly—and without warning—threatened to annul their marriage, which ends in divorce. Lucky was stripped of everything she cared about: husband, wealth, and her nascent career as a jewelry exporter. Completely unmoored and seeking refuge in New York with her old friends Alec and Susan, Lucky has no inkling that her life is about to take a dramatic new turn. But will she be able to open herself up to it?

It is Alec who convinces Lucky to volunteer as a yoga instructor at the state penitentiary. The men’s aggressive posturing intimidates her at first, but Lucky’s no-nonsense attitude—and her ability to do one-handed push-ups—wins their grudging respect. Even more surprising, Lucky finds students like Rooster and Steve who are willing to put aside their preconceived notions and open themselves up to the truths that yoga offers. Sharing this knowledge with others that truly appreciate it brings Lucky closer to Shanti—the yogi back in Bombay who rescued her in the darkest days of her failed marriage—and begins to restore her shaken self-confidence.

While teaching yoga enriches her soul, her pockets remain empty. With little else besides her flamboyant engagement ring, Lucky decides to collect on a few debts from her days as a businesswoman running a firm for Vikram’s family. The owner, Mike Lockwood, is a bit of a shady character but he respects Lucky’s abilities and agrees to pay her back if she helps him turn his own ailing business around. She accepts and finds herself enjoying both the camaraderie and the challenge.

Yet, Lucky is hardly settled in her new life when she is brutally mugged and winds up with a broken wrist that might be paralyzed. While Mike and her old friends rally around her, Lucky is beset by one calamity after another only to find herself at the center of a web of lies that may spell complete ruin. Lucky wonders what she has done to deserve such ill fortune but—reflecting on Shanti’s teachings—realizes that it is she alone who has the power to break free.

In her charming and utterly original debut novel, Bapsy Jain juxtaposes Lucky’s current adventures with her carefree single days and the decay of her marriage. Part women’s fiction, part thriller, and part spiritual parable, Lucky Everyday is a wise and wondrous meditation on one almost-enlightened every woman’s journey through this life.

ABOUT BAPSY JAIN

Bapsy Jain is an entrepreneur and educator and divides her time between Singapore, Dubai, and Bombay. Jain has stood on her head many times in the course of the ten years it has taken to complete this novel. She is married with two sons.

A CONVERSATION WITH BAPSY JAIN
Q. Vikram and his mother/aunt attribute many of the problems in their marriage to the fact that Lucky is Parsi rather than Rajput. How important is the caste system in modern India?

Vikram and Lucky’s marriage is an intercommunity marriage. They belong to different religious communities. That is different from the caste system, which is based on a hierarchy of castes within one religion, Hinduism. Still, both the caste system and intercommunity relations share some commonalities. The caste system has been in existence in India through many centuries of history, and to some extent the remnants exist even today. But here let’s look at Vikram and Lucky’s intercommunity marriage. There’s a vast difference between attitudes toward intercommunity marriages in different parts of India. For example, in a traditional rural setting, issues of religion and caste are still hide bound. In the vast urban areas where there are multi communities, multi castes and multi cultures all sharing the same environment, there is less emphasis on a person’s traditional background, and Western values do come into play. Many young people of different religious backgrounds meet in college and have relationships that may eventually lead to marriage. Yes, grandparents may object initially, but they are usually won over.

The system does still affect lives, though it is losing ground to modern realities and conditions.

My aim in the novel, however, is to show how the caste system stems in a way from an aspect of human nature: a possessive mother who wants to be in the center and in control of her son’s life and so resents an independent daughter-in-law. Had Vikram married as per Geeta’s wishes she would have completely dominated her daughter-in-law who would have had to toe her mother-in-law’s line. This relationship, this upmanship between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law is relevant even in today’s society.

Q. What are there major differences between contemporary Indian novels and American novels? Who are some of your favorite writers—of any period and in any language—and why?

I think contemporary Indian novels generally reflect an extremely complex society that has shaken off the struggles of colonial experience but now has to find its moral voice. America’s history is more recent, and perhaps contemporary American novels reflect the success of America as a nation and the creation of an individualist culture, where people are fiercely proud of their freedom. At the same time there seems to be a search for greater meaning that often plays out in personal relationships.

The other difference between contemporary Indian and American novels is one of style and tone. The style and tone tend to reflect the culture and background of the novelist. The theme and point of view are generally far apart because of the different exposures and influences of the novelist. Similarly characterization and plot differ again on account of different thinking and circumstances.

The Indian author does dwell in some way on basics and philosophy as this is a poorer country where people lay emphasis on traditional and religious beliefs as an antidote to their powerlessness, whereas American novels deal more with emotions and conditions—and sometimes the emptiness of materialism—that relate to America.

I like and read a variety of novels, and Eckhart Tolle, Khalil Gibran, Paulo Coelho, Khaled Hosseini, Elizabeth Gilbert, Amitav Ghosh, and V. S. Naipaul are among my favorites. I find we share a common spirituality and essence which appeals.

Q. How much of Lucky—if any—is based on you?

Lucky is a woman who shares my history as a Parsi. Like all women we struggle to find who we are, our values and beliefs, and what is free will and destiny. I may have reacted differently if I had experienced what she does, but sharing her story has given me tremendous courage. I have always felt her presence within me, and the decisions she makes instinctively come out of a sense of that presence. On the level of the immediate plot and events, I studied for chartered accountancy in London and based her professional life on my own experience. I also enjoyed practicing yoga for several years.

Q. You live in Singapore, Bombay, and Dubai, yet your rendering of New York City is faultless. Have you spent much time there?

Yes, I have lived and worked in Manhattan and visit the United States frequently. I have a lot of close ties in the way of family and friends there.

Q. Lucky Everyday transcends many genres and offers a truly unique heroine. What was your inspiration?

I’ve come to the conclusion that there are many layers to our experiences. And that’s what I wanted to relate in Lucky Everyday. On one hand, Lucky could be victimized by the way she is treated by Vicki’s family. And this would ring true with women in India. But that’s not the end of it. Setbacks can be turned around. They leave their mark on Lucky, but she refuses to let them destroy her. Again, this is something that grew from within as I captured her thoughts and actions in words. In the end, Lucky lives and is empowered as we, women, are empowered by experiencing similar struggles.

What inspired me to write was the belief that Lucky Everyday could open minds to a new perspective, which could change thoughts, actions, and lives.

Q. Although this novel was originally published in India, you wrote it in English—why? Will it be translated into any Indian languages? How do you think it will be received?

I grew up speaking English and for me it is my first language. Though I do speak other languages I do not possess the fluency to write a novel in any other language.

Penguin India has been my primary publisher and the novel has been well received in India in English. I am pleased that the novel will be published and distributed by Penguin worldwide because this novel has universal appeal and draws on cultures of the East and West. In today’s world many people can relate to this in their own lives. I’m sure it will be translated into other languages later.

Q. It is incredibly brave of you to show your main character having an abortion. What is the prevalent attitude towards abortion in India and what do you think of the controversy it arouses in the United States?

In India, abortion is regarded as a personal decision. It is not the subject of public discourse or the subject of religious or political controversy. In Lucky’s circumstances it’s a complex decision. She wants to protect Amay, who remained loyal to her even though she had hurt him before. She feels that it would throw a loop in his life, which is too great a price for him—and his family—to pay. There’s something in her that reaches out intuitively to shield him even though she knows she will not marry him. She also grapples with the issue of the quality of life she can offer a child who is born with severe physical challenges. The potential physical and emotional suffering for the child and for Amay and herself weigh into her decision.

In the United States, abortion is a publicly controversial and decisive issue. But I feel that abortion is a very personal and deeply felt decision for a woman to make. It should be based on her own and her family’s views and circumstances. Rights and responsibility go hand in hand and it doesn’t seem right for anyone to impose their views—or judgment—on any woman.

Q. What is the most important aspect of the novel that you fear an American audience may miss?

The symbolism in the novel. The message the novel transmits to the readers is that it is internal engineering that gives happiness, not external trappings. The novel symbolizes in many ways that we do not choose this kind of life—our family, our circumstances, and in many cases, the outcomes of our decisions. This kind of life chooses you. It does this at various levels, and the audience may not comprehend this at all its levels. The story of the blind pilgrim embodies this. He searches futilely and yet in the end, the search is what he blindly sought.

Lucky’s choices are hers, but buried somewhere in those choices are circumstances that are far beyond her choice or control. Examples would be her marriage of choice but she has no choice in the influences that change the values of her husband; again her choice of joining Mike in business and the deception she faces as a result of that choice. This shows we do not choose our kind of life.

I hope that an American audience will see Lucky Everyday as a story on many levels. This is a story about women’s experiences anywhere. It could be India or America. The American audience must see this as more than just a glimpse of a woman from another culture. It’s her realization and understanding of being removed from her experiences, looking at them, and moving—growing—along with them that is the heart of the story.

Q. Has there been a Shanti in your life?

Almost unconsciously, Shanti in my life has been a force that came from people I grew up around. When I picture her within, as a person, in terms of her physical being, she is based on my dear maidservant, Janki, who looked after me from childhood until I was about twelve years old. But it’s not that she expressed to me verbally things that Shanti says to Lucky. It was part of the way she lived. She struggled without any outward display of struggle and she had a sense of detached acceptance that I really understood only years later in my adult life. There have been other people I grew up around, whose lives and actions have touched me and a part of them are woven into Shanti.

Q. What do you like about standing on your head?

Standing on my head allows a different view, a different perspective of circumstances and events. One has to flow in tune and along with life and if your world is turning upside down you also need to stand on your head to get the right view!

Q. Your novel has an incredible surprise ending. One would be hard-pressed to call it happy but—unlike many novels’ pat endings—it is extremely satisfying. Did you initially intend for Lucky’s journey to end this way?

I did intend for the novel to end this way. To me Lucky is empowered and will be able to face life with vigor as she no longer sees herself as a victim. She is able to live her life and is not drawn into it, she witnesses her life from a distance and can see things as they are—events that come and go.

After all she goes through in the novel, it was just not true to arrive at a place where Lucky lived “happily ever after.” Again, the ending came to me as a place that the reader has to be a part of. They have journeyed with Lucky and shared her inmost turmoil. And she holds on to something inside her in the end. But in the real world that is the something we all seek; an understanding that leads to happiness within despite happenings on the periphery. All of us inwardly hope to find joy amid sorrow!

Q. What are you working on now?

I am working on a sequel, Night Vision.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  • Are mixed marriages—whether they be Parsi and Rajput or Christian and Muslim or Chinese and Mexican—more likely to be plagued by troubles than homogenous pairings?
  • Did Lucky make the wrong decision in throwing over Amay for Vicki?
  • What does Lucky’s encounter with Jerry Freed—the prison’s African American assistant warden—teach her?
  • It would have been easier for Lucky to carry on an affair with Amay if she had never met his wife or if she had cause to dislike her. Yet Lucky not only meets Laila but likes her immediately. Does this affect your opinion of Lucky?
  • When Dr. Das Gupta tells Lucky that she is infertile, she feels as if it is her fault. Why do so many women feel this way when they have no control over it?
  • Does Vikram know that he is the one unable to have children or is his family hiding it from him?
  • Discuss the parable of the blind pilgrim in relation to Lucky’s (mis)adventures.
  • Cite three incidents in the novel in which karma is at work. Do you believe in karma?
  • What do you think about Lucky’s decision to have an abortion? Should she have told Amay first even though she had his best interests at heart?
  • Describe a time in your life when you—like Lucky—felt beset from all sides. How did you handle it? What might you have done differently had you had Shanti’s guidance?
  • The novel’s ending is a blur of images and thoughts. How do you interpret what happens to Lucky?
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 12 of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 8, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A very good read.

    Lucky Every Day is the story of an ambitious young woman who learns some hard lessons about life. While sold by Penguin as a primarily young women's fiction, there is a whole lot more to this book. The main character, Lucky Boyce, moves from young Bombay socialite to New York busineswoman to someone teaching yoga in prison. And though it begins with her rich and powerful friends, she is gradually surrounded by a cast of characters including former business rivals, shady cops, paroled convicts, a nerdy ex-lover, and an old Indian woman who becomes her "guide." And out of this tangled mess Lucky must not only absolve herself from murder charges, but must sort out what is of value in real life from what is not. A mystery, a coming-of-age novel, a spiritual journey, all rolled into one. Can you do a one-handed push up? And would you like dessert with that? A really good novel.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2010

    Compelling, motivational, spiritual, lovely...

    Lucky never steps back. She is a contemporary character who lives through struggles familiar to all of us by using universal spirituality.
    The book is entertaining yet dramatic, fiction yet real...

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2009

    LOVED IT!!

    This book was awesome it is definitely great to read something different. If you are looking for something new this is the book for you.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 15, 2009

    A FASCINATING BOOK WITH DEEP SYMBOLISM AND LESSONS FOR LIFE

    THIS BOOK IS A MUST READ. YOU ENTER THE MOST UNEXPECTED WORLD OF SPIRITUALITY IN A PURE FORM, COMMON TO ALL HUMANITY. THE LESSONS LUCKY TEACHES TRANSFORM US. WE CAN CHOOSE TO BE BOUND BY THE PRISON OF OUR CIRCUMSTANCES OR WE CAN SEEK OUT OUR ULTIMATE POTENTIAL GOODNESS. LUCKY SHOWS THE LATTER PATH. THE AUTHOR DOES AN AMAZING JOB OF WEAVING A DEPTH OF SPIRITUAL LESSONS INTO A CAPTIVATING STORY WHICH YOU CAN'T PUT DOWN, FROM BEGINNING TO THE UNEXPECTED END

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 7, 2009

    Page turner

    A novel to be read over again as it is symbolic and deals with current issues.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 6, 2009

    It is a wonderful story.

    This book is about a normal girl who goes for the good life -- and
    realizes that the good life may not be the best option. Her ensuing
    struggles, triumphs, and overall journey illustrate that everything
    that happens to us has a reason, and even if it seems bad on the
    surface, it's a good thing when we look at it the right way.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2009

    Loved it

    I loved Lucky Everyday's beautifully detailed character descriptions,
    and hope to see it as a movie sometime. I think the ending would work
    especially well for that medium.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2010

    A spiritual journey of reinventing yourself...

    "Lucky Everyday," an inspiring novel, captures the human spirit's ability to adjust to challenging twists that life often throws our way. The visual descriptions of East meets West take readers on an introspective journey through the life of Lucky Boyce as she transitions from a professional working in New York to a wife of a wealthy Indian family to a divorced yoga teacher. Spiritual leaders, Yoga practitioners, and readers worldwide discover a new way of looking at the everyday and an inspiring reminder that love, anguish and spirituality apply in both turbulent and peaceful times.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted July 12, 2009

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    Posted January 24, 2010

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    Posted January 19, 2010

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    Posted July 29, 2009

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