It’s her own story of learning language. When Rich lost her job at a New York magazine, she didn’t just file for unemployment compensation, she decided to immerse herself in Hindi and in India, as she says on her website;
I’d recently lost a job, I was watching the business I’d been in and loved, magazines, begin to crumble. My world had been turned upside down. Compounding that was the fact that in the decade before, I’d gotten smacked around twice by breast cancer. I barely recognized my own life anymore. Or the way that I put it in the book was, “I no longer had the language to describe my own life, so I decided to borrow someone else’s.”
There are many examples revealing about Hindi, English, language in general, culture, and Rich herself, e.g.,
…the word for yesterday and tomorrow is the same: kal, from Kali, the goddess of death and destruction. There’s a philosophy embedded in there—it’s only when you’re in today, aaj, that you’re here; if you’re in yesterday or tomorrow, you’re in blackness.