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I’ve Come To Say Goodbye

In The Chaos Of India An Unlikely Friendship Is Born

Barbara Carmichael, is an author, an artist and a woman of great resourcefulness and understanding. She has created this narrative around her fifteen trips to India, and her recount of the people, sights, sounds and smells is honestly shared. The stories are carefully told, factually and faithfully reported. Over the years she developed a relationship with an Indian family that became very close, so much so that she was considered one of them.

Barbara’s first trip to India was in 2006. She went with a friend who was a buyer for a shop. The women met Tarun, a spice merchant who also sold silver bracelets, necklaces and earrings. Barbie instantly developed a friendship that was to last from 2006 to 2014, when he suddenly passed away. Each time she visited Udaipur, she would meet with Tarun and his family. His elderly mother could not speak English, but was warm and welcoming, and Manisha, his wife, also accepted the “sister” her husband had met. Rudrakshi was the only daughter and was much loved by her family.

Each time Barbara, the Australian artist, visited India she took photos, and wrote copious notes in her journals. Sometimes she was invited over, once for a wedding, and other times just to see different parts of the districts that she loved. She once had a meal with a Maharaja, as well as taking part in many festivals and sight seeing tours. Her experiences are factually told. She doesn’t avoid the dust, the heat, Delhi Belly, or the poorer accommodation that she experienced.

The descriptive writing is very evocative. A fort visited was once lived in by a king; she relates as, “We saw his bedroom, the bedroom of his legal wife, the bedrooms of his illegal wives, and the bedroom of his mistresses. The light played rainbow patterns on the marble floor of the dancing room, where a troupe of dancing girls entertained him.”

During her visits she sees many icons, and evokes a sense of peace at the end of the day, by sitting on the rooftop drinking Holy Water (Gin) watching the colour fade from the day, and the enormous moon begin to rise.

The sadness and loss that the author feels when her friend Tarun dies, has been the catalyst to tell this story, a story which is poignantly beautiful. The sense of the sun never leaving you is ever present as the pages are tipped with gold paint.

 For anyone who has been to India, or would like to visit, this is a practical guide to the customs and issues of the country.

AuthorBarbara Carmichael
PublisherNew Holland Publishers
DistributorNew Holland Publishers
ReleasedJanuary 2018