Cartwheels in a Sari

A Memoir of Growing Up Cult
Narrated by: Jayanti Tamm
Length: 7 hrs and 47 mins
3.9 out of 5 stars (62 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In this colorful, eye-opening memoir, Jayanti Tamm offers an unforgettable glimpse into the hidden world of growing up cult in mainstream America. Through Jayanti's fascinating story, the first book to chronicle Sri Chinmoy, she unmasks a leader who convinces thousands of disciples to follow him, scores of nations to dedicate monuments to him, and throngs of celebrities (Sting, Pope John Paul II, Nelson Mandela) to extol him.

When the short, bald man in flowing robes prophesizes Jayanti to be the Chosen One, her life is forever entwined with the charismatic guru Sri Chinmoy, who declares himself a living god - a god who performs sit-ups and push-ups in front of thousands as holy ritual, protects himself with a platoon of bodyguards, and bans books, TV, and sex.

Jayantis unusual and increasingly bizarre childhood is spent shuttling between the ashram in Queens, New York, and her family's outpost as Connecticut missionaries. On the path to enlightenment decreed by Guru, Jayanti scrubs animal cages in his illegal basement zoo, cheerleads as he weight lifts an elephant in her front yard, and trails him around the world as he pursues celebrities such as Princess Diana and Mother Teresa. But, when her need for enlightenment is derailed by her need for boys, Jayanti risks losing everything that she has ever known, including the person that she was ordained to be.

With tenderness, insight, and humor, Jayanti explores the triumphs and trauma of an insider who longs to be an outsider, her hard-won decision to finally break free, and the unique challenges she confronts as she builds a new life.

©2009 Jayanti Tamm (P)2009 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Witty, compassionate, and often heartbreaking, Tamm’s story offers crucial insight into a cult’s inner workings and methods of indoctrination. All readers, though, will recognize universal coming-of-age themes as Tamm discards unwanted childhood lessons and begins to shape an independent adult life." (Booklist)

What listeners say about Cartwheels in a Sari

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A Must-Listen

This is a gripping story that you will want to listen to in one sitting! Funny, moving, and inspirational, Cartwheels in a Sari is a terrific book that will leave you thinking about it long after it is over.

6 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Interesting Story

Jayanti Tamm has written a moving story of her first 25 years of life as "the chosen one". What I enjoyed most was the description of day to day growing up straddling the life of her upbringing and the outside world. What I didn't like was Jayanti's pronunciation of the word "guru" which she uses hundreds of times in the book. It sounds like "Grr-er" or just a throaty growl. The other thing I didn't like was that I had a lot of questions that the book didn't answer (or maybe it did and I have to re-listen). For example, there is the story of how Jayanti wanted a pet but Guru didn't allow pets. Later in the book, she relates a story of her brother walking Guru's dog.

Despite my complaints, I do think it is a worthwhile story and a very interesting listen.

2 people found this helpful

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Queens Resident that never knew but always curious

Born and raised in Jamaica queens (Not dangerous at all I like to add)My school was past hillside where Sri chinmoy resturant and house was. I always wondered about them and they seemed happy. This audio book let me into the world of it all. Very well done but I will never think the same way walking past the white house and resturant.

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life changing !

I too am a cult survivor, and Tamm's fearless honesty and insight into her experience has been incredibly healing for me to hear. her performance is very personal and bring you the experience home and a great way. thank you for this amazing book!