Genre: Young adult, historical fiction, South-Asian authors
Year Of Publication: 27th September 2016
Publisher: Bloomsbury India
Pages: 224 ( paperback)
My rating: 5/5
“Tanya Tania is a story about two young women coming of age in two countries that are coming of age”.
This book is set in 1990s India and Pakistan.
Amongst political turmoil and a tumultuous family life Tanya Talati and Tania Ghosh find solace by writing each other letters that span over six years.
It all begins when Tanya breaks her leg and her mother suggests she write a letter to her best friend’s daughter – Tania. Soon a deep friendship forms between the two and they share with each other what cannot be said out aloud in their own homes.
Tanya Talati :
Her father moves their family from Boston to Karachi in order to pursue his dream of building a hospital. She has a twin brother called Navi who is the apple of their parents eyes. Her mother is an American and finds it difficult to adjust in a new country – thus,spiraling into depression.
She loves school . Her favorite hobbies include filling out college applications so she can get a scholarship and go back to America and urging her maid “Chhoti Bibi” to study so she can pass her exams ( which is an achievement she hopes that can be put on her college application).
Favorite quote by Tanya : “I’m not brave. I’m not brave, Tania. I’m my mother’s daughter. We are not brave.”
The Queen Bee of her school. She is popular and rich. Her parents fight a lot and her older brother Sammy outshines her in academic achievements. Her mother wants her to go to Wellesley college in America – but she wants to stay in India and be with her boyfriend Arjun ; whom she has worked hard to get.
Her confidant is Nusrat – the Muslim maid that comes to wash their dishes who can’t speak. Nusrat is wise beyond her years and gives really good advice.She has strong arms and soft hands and is fiercely loyal towards Tania – who considers her ,her best friend.
Favorite quote by Tania : “People were finally looking at me. I didn’t say anything. I was just glad that I’d blow-dried my hair that morning.”
Two girls in two countries, roughly the same age with vastly different personalities find support in each others written words.Then something terrible happens amongst the riots , the killings and the kidnappings and they stop talking to each other .
This book had various themes (that range from bullying to friendship etc.) but the most important message was : sometimes we can’t fathom that our words (born out of hate and sorrow) will have dire consequences. Thus, it’s always better to think things through.
The 1992 Babri Masjid Riots are also highlighted (in vivid detail) and play a major part in the story.
This book had me glued – I finished it in one sitting and couldn’t make myself put it down. I live in Karachi and what Antara Ganguli has written at the end (in the acknowledgements) was beautiful and aptly sums up the character of this city I call home.
“Thank you Bombay and Karachi for being the beautiful, ugly, horror-ridden, life-giving cities that you are, stubbornly holding onto the banks of the grey Arabian, promising everything, giving everything and taking everything. No riot will destroy you and no one idea will overpower you. Here’s to you and here’s to the children who grow up in you.”
This is the first book I’ve read by Antara Ganguli and I can already say that I’m a fan and look forward to more of her writings. I should also add that I really loved the cover ❤
“Watch your thoughts, they become words;
watch your words, they become actions;
watch your actions, they become habits;
watch your habits, they become character;
watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”