May 7, 2009

Review: Cartwheels in a Sari ~ a memoir of growing up in a cult.

In her memoir Cartwheels in a Sari, Jayanti Tamm reveals her childhood as “the chosen one” in the spiritual cult of Sri Chinmoy. Chinmoy was an Indian guru known for spreading peace and lifting extremely heavy objects.  His sari-swathed followers have included Carlos Santana and John Lennon, among others. Chinmoy died in Oct. 2007.

Today Tamm is an English professor at Ocean County College in New Jersey. With a conversational tone, she writes about growing up under Chinmoy’s ridiculous rules, and exposes his heavy-lifting publicity stunts with a lighthearted but condemming honesty. Readers follow Tamm through the reconstruction of her parent’s arranged marriage and her disturbing first day of kindergarten, to her last days as a Chinmoy disciple before being ostracized from the cult. 

Jayanti Tamm gives an insider’s view of Sri Chinmoy, the evolution of his Queens, N.Y.–based church and the real lives of its ascetic adherents.

A fun, interesting and easy read. If you thought your family was weird, check this one out. 

Crown Publishing, $22.95.

You must be logged in to post a comment. Create an account.

Alice Kinston Jun 11, 2012 9:36pm

I really like your writing style, good info, regards for putting up :D. “Your central self is totally untouched By grief, confusion, desperation.” by Vernon Howard.

sj* May 9, 2009 8:26pm

as bob dylan says: "everyone's gotta serve somebody."

Read Elephant’s Best Articles of the Week here.
Readers voted with your hearts, comments, views, and shares:
Click here to see which Writers & Issues Won.

Caroline Treadway

Caroline Treadway is a professional freelance photographer and writer who shoots editorial and commercial work, including photojournalism, sports, portraits and weddings. She received her master’s degree in journalism from Boston University in 2010. Caroline’s passion for journalism is evident in the variety of stories she covers and the depth of her reporting, documenting the unique and powerful moments of life. Recently, Caroline has been documenting the life of Navajo geo-botanist Arnold Clifford and threats to rare plant species in the Four Corners region of the Navajo Reservation in New Mexico and Arizona. As a journalist, Caroline seeks to overcome the traditional boundaries between photographer and reporter. This multi-platform approach gives her the flexibility to create visual stories for a rapidly changing media world.