Hitting rock bottom as a homeless drug addict, Cheeni Rao returns to his family to find the door locked. Behind it he hears his Indian immigrant mother sobbing, "I can do nothing for you. You are now in Hanuman's hands." Hanuman, the Hindu monkey god, is his last resort.
In Hanuman's Hands is a gritty, hauntingly beautiful memoir by a unique, new voice from the prestigious Iowa Writers' Workshop. Srinivas "Cheeni" Rao is a young man born to a long line of Indian Hindu priests, who faced with the freedoms and temptations of life on an elite New England college campus, spirals down into a hedonistic nightmare of drugs, sex and crime. On his long journey to recovery and rehabilitation, he is magically guided by visions of Hanuman, the trickster monkey god of the Indian epic poem, the Ramayana.
Bringing India whole heartedly into America, Rao weaves his own story of Western culture clash with mythic stories of his Hindu ancestors who served in the ancestral temples of Kali. On campus, his previous life of abstinence and celibacy devolves into a life of drug use and dealing to the offspring of America's finest families. His perilous descent leads to a chilling threat by a local henchman named Teddy "Two Doors," and Rao flees for his life. Hitting bottom in the back alleys of Chicago's Southside, the author begins to have visions of the mischievous monkey god Hanuman. This unlikely guide points the way to recovery at a half-way house run by a mug named "Tats" and shared by an unforgettable cast of street-wise characters. In Hanuman's Hands charts Rao's mythic battle for rehabilitation in a movingly beautiful memoir.