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It’s time for India

Hi Virtually Readers! It’s a very exciting week, as you may have noticed yesterday ;). Yesterday was not JUST our blogoversary, though, it was Indian Independence Day. To me, this always means dressing up in Indian clothes and eating Indian food and celebrating India. I am aware, however that most of you guys aren’t Indian, so here is a set of lists to tell you some things about my country. (well, you know, one of them)

India

YA set in India.

There is not a lot of YA set in India, however these are some books that I have read and loved that feature this wonderful country.

The Wheel of Surya trilogy by Jamila Gavin. I read this a long time ago and it is about Partition—the greatest, and most deadly, human migration in history.

5 to 1. I reviewed this last year, along with a henna tutorial you’re totally interested in.

The Star-Touched Queen. I haven’t been able to read this, though I really want to. It’s based in Indian and Greek mythology.

A Time to Dance. This is about a girl who lives in Chennai and has to learn how to dance after getting her leg amputated. It’s told in free verse.

Monsoon Summer. This is about a half Indian girl visiting Pune and finding out about her heritage and who she really wants to be.

 

Indian food

Let’s face it, Indian food is one of the best things ever. These are some of my favourite dishes. (I’m vegetarian, and so are all of these foods, but butter chicken is good too. ) However, the list is much much longer than this.

-Rajma. This is beans and tomato and it’s SO delicious.

-Dosa. This is a South Indian dish made from rice flour and served with sauce and potato and it is delectable.

-Pani Puri. These are little fried balls that you fill with salty sour sauce made from tamarind.

-Dahl Makhani. This is creamy lentils that you eat with rice and it’s very tasty.

-Sambar. This is sour south Indian Dahl.

-Soan Papdi. This is a flaky sugary sweet.

Reasons to write about India

There are, as you may have noticed, not very many YA books (at least one published in MDC’s) set in India, though there are some that are set elsewhere and have Indian origin protagonists. India, however, is a fabulous setting for these reasons.

-It’s really diverse. There are hot plains and forests and the Himalayas and deserts and plateaus and basically anything else you want to write about as a setting.

-It’s culturally really diverse. There are tribal people in the North Eastern states, and lots of Muslims and Buddhists and Hindus, and hill people in my area, and lots of other cultural nuances that are really complicated and great to research. There are hundreds of different languages that people speak.

-It has a really rich history. Kings, emperors, wars, backstabbing, rebellion… whatever you want to write about, it’ll turn up a few times in Indian history. (think the Mughals and 1857)

-India has a huge variety of religious and non religious myths. Hello, retellings.

 

Reasons to read about India

There isn’t much YA set in India, and I really need to actively seek out more of it. However, there are lots of great non-fiction books (like City of Djinns) that you can read about India, and you should probably read what YA is already out there. Also, if you’re willing to expand your horizons, there are great Indian poets and short stories, as well as novels. (This, let it be noted, is coming from an Indian Literature student)

-India has a really interesting history, and there are a great variety of (non-YA) books that talk about it. Like Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh talks about the opium trade during the Raj.

-There are 1billion Indians, which is a lot. If you read about India, you come closer to knowing more about 1/7th of the world’s people.

– India is in the news for a lot of different reasons. Reading novels is way more interesting than reading news articles, and can give you a better understanding of what’s really behind the headlines.

Reasons to come to India

You may have noticed that India is really amazing. This list is going to sound like a repeat of the other ones, but I really want to drill it into your heads.

-I live in India. So does Shar. Not that you’ll see us if you visit probably (but maybe you should contact us if you are?)

-There are lots of other really interesting Indian people that you will meet and be able to talk to.

-There are a lots of amazing historical sites—not just the Taj Mahal—that you can visit.

-India has some really cool wildlife. Rhinos, elephants, tigers, cheetahs, snakes—you name it.

So what are some things that you’ve heard about India? And how do you celebrate your country? Tell me in the comments!

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14 thoughts on “It’s time for India

  1. What great resources! I especially want to read A TIME TO DANCE, in part because of your excellent review. 🙂 I definitely need to read more YA set in India, and it would be fun to visit someday (although right now I don’t know how I’m going to make money. So, we’ll keep the dream alive but we’ll wait until I can afford it). I hope you had an awesome day, and thanks for sharing this with us!

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    1. A Time to Dance is so good. I hope you can read it :). There’s more reccommendations where they came from (my head). You should definitely come… though it is hard to make money, I’m quite lucky that I already live here (but flights around SE Asia are pretty cheap so that’s good). I did have a great day. Thanks for commenting!

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  2. Ahhh… Indian food looks delicious. But I have been too chicken to actually try to make any recipes like biryani.

    I should try and read more books set in India. That would be grand. Having more money would also be grand. xD

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    1. INDIAN FOOD IS THE BEST. Too chicken too try biryani…. maybe you should make veg biryani haha. More money, more books, more time–us bookworms are always in need. 😉

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  3. Hey! Fellow Indian here 🙂 First of all, I just wanted to say that Indian food is truly the greatest. I love chaat places with pani puri and aloo/chicken tikka and bhelpuri and papri chaat and now I’m hungry (oops). Not to mention all the mithais (rasgula-oof).
    I have to agree with you on how few novels, regardless of whether its YA or Fantasy, etc, aren’t based on or in India, which I think is a shame. India is such a diverse and fascinating place, with a rich history and so many different cultures meshing into one colorful, gorgeous place! And a lot of things have happened in India, both good and bad. I mean, even right now. India is one of the oldest countries, it has a long, long history, and there’s been both good and bad, at the same time, at different times, (I’m rambling). You hear about horrible things in the news (rapes, poverty, racism) in India, and yes, you may see that when you go their, but there is also so, so much more amazingness. You meet so many different types of people and you learn so much and the mythology and temples and culture. I’d love to see that portrayed in more novels, and I hope it encourages people to go travel there and learn about our culture/
    I love India so much. Even though I was born and raised in America, and only go their once a year, I always find myself missing it (although I could do without my sometimes annoying relatives that live there xD).
    I love India so, so much, and I wouldn’t trade my strange, dirty, rich, colorful, rude country and my Indian upbringing and heritage for anything:)

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    1. I agree with basically everything you said in your comment. CHAAT places are just the best. And India is such a complex country, and I’m so bored of reading about the US–like, I don’t know if you know the story of Noor Jahan, but it would make an amazing novel. Movies like Slumdog Millionaire really promote the idea that India is a bitter brutal place and it isn’t. Well, it isn’t just bitter and brutal, it’s so much more. Thanks so much for sharing!

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  4. This is so awesome! I would love to visit India someday. 😀 I watched The Life of Pi and thought it was really super beautiful. And OH I read The Girl in the Garden which is like a contemproary/memoir/adult/thing about an Indian girl who grew up in America but then her parents are like “no we’re going back to India” when she’s around 10. And it’s not my favourite. But it was still super interesting and I looooved learning more about Indian culture. I really am a sucker for learning about other countries. If only my memory wasn’t swiss cheese and make me forget everything I learn like 2 seconds after I read it hahha. Ahem. I also have The Star Touched Queen on reserve at the library! SO EXCITED.
    Also dahl is delicious. ❤

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    1. You should definitely visit if you can! I read life of Pi and really enjoyed it, though I haven’t seen the movie, but it was a pretty clever book. I haven’t heard of the Girl in the Garden. But if you can get your hands on any of Jamila Gavin’s books, I really reccommend them. I knooooww… I want to know about all the countries of ever. Aaah memory is very annoying (but it happens to everyone, not just you!) I know you didn’t like the star touched queen but I still want to read it. #dahlalwaysandforever.

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  5. This is such a fantastic post, I love it so much 🙂 I’m glad you wanted to share a bit about your country. And I really want to read more books set in India as well. Actually, The Star-Touched Queen needs to be added on my TBR, I heard only great things about it so far 🙂

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  6. I’m sure that India is amazing. Actually a friend of my father’s travels to India very frequently for business and he says that it is a beautiful country.

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    1. India is amazing! It’s a beautiful country–there are lots of messed up things about it, but that’s everywhere. I hope you can visit one day, but until then, live vicariously through books and movies 🙂

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