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From Another Land: Making Home in the Land of Dreams Paperback – 29 Nov 2018
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About the Author
Tanushree Ghosh currently works at The Intel Corporation in The US, managing a senior team in supply chain. She has a Doctorate in Chemistry from The Cornell University, is an alumni of IIT Kanpur and The Presidency College Calcutta and is also a social activist and writer. Her blog posts, op-eds, poems and stories are an effort to provoke thoughts, especially towards issues concerning women and social justice. She has been a regular contributor for The Huffington Post US and has published several posts on topics that affect The under-represented and lesser privileged, whether that’s a population, a nation, or an individual. She is a frequent contributor to several popular media and e-zines (including The Logical Indian, Youth Ki Awaaz, The Women’s Web) and is a regular contributor for Café Dissensus everyday with her own segment called Black Light (satiric short fiction on social causes). Her literary resume also includes poems and stories featured in national and international magazines (including Words Pauses and Noises, UK; TUCK, Glimmer Train honourable mention) and inclusion in seven anthologies (through winning national and international contests) including Defiant Dreams (Oprah 2016 reading list placeholder) and The Best Asian Short Stories 2017 (published out of Singapore by Kitaab). Long before she started writing, Tanushree started activism. She has held different leadership roles in ASHA and AID India chapters in The US and has affiliations with several women’s organisations. She is also The founder and director of Her Rights (www.herrights.website), a 501(3) c non-profit committed to furthering The cause of gender equality and supporting victims of gender violence. She has served on several leadership panels (both corporate and non-profit) and is often an invited speaker or panellist speaking on gender roles, advancement in workplace for women, navigating biases and cultures and resilience through pursuing inner causes.
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I am not addressing you, the readers, but remembering the iconic sitcom from where many of us got our images of life in the USA. This and other TV shows and books, of course, have been our window to the American way of life. “From An-Other Land” by Tanushree Ghosh brings to us a view from another window---- through the eyes of Indian immigrants to the Land of Oppportunity.
Laced with understated humour, this book of short stories throws up the complex dynamics of relationships, between people and between people and the country they have chosen as their own.
The story of Tarun and Michelle slowly and poignantly unravels, as the complicated emotions of Michelle lead us to wonder about Tarun, “Will he, won’t he?” Then there is the unusual tale of a woman who marries her brother-in-law for a green card, not only for herself but for her husband as well!
The author puts a lot of thought into the naming of her characters. For example, the sisters Asti and Tiyash are named like inverses of each other, and their personalities are opposite too. The characters are introspective. Tanushree showcases the dichotomy that immigrants must deal with---- their Indian heritage and their American sensibilities. A perfectly harmless question in India may be construed as an intrusion in America.
A couple of stories also bring up the other point of view--- that of American citizens who feel insecure about Indians taking away their jobs. Yet, through this insecurity, an empathy prevails, with both sides realising that the other is human too.
The development of each story and the delineation of the characters bring to mind an iceberg: there is a lot more beneath the surface, than what is seen at first glance. The author hints at many layers of emotions. She also employs quirky turns of phrase. In the tale about the Biswas family, she says of the forgetful mother, “--- some names had fallen into oblivion through the cracks in her sixty-five year old memory.”
In many of the stories, the underlying theme is loneliness, yet the human spirit also shines through.
Instead of plunging straightaway into the stories, the author has cleverly introduced her characters in the first story, as people in line for Immigration. As we go through the book, we are compelled to turn back to the first story, just to see where each character comes from, in terms of their mental state, and their aspirations.
The author is an observer and she gently brings to life the myriad characters that people this book.
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Dr. Saju Skaria