The vision behind Voices on the Verandah is to document, publicize, and celebrate the inherent talent of the Anglo-Indian Community in story and in verse.
The contents were compiled from an international literary contest (open only to persons of Anglo-Indian ancestry) held in 2002-3 and finalized in 2004. Twenty-two narratives and twenty-nine poems were selected: twenty-four from India; nine from Australia; eight from the USA; five from the UK; three from Canada; and one each from New Zealand and Germany. We also have guest contributions from Ruskin Bond, William Dalrymple and other prominent Anglo-Indian writers.
The book is aptly titled, as the tales and poems are, indeed, the voices of our Community and are authentic portrayals of Anglo-Indian thought, feelings, culture, and way of life. This is an important step towards perpetuating a body of literature that repudiates the distorted and derogatory images of the Community depicted in pulp fiction and movies.
R. Dean Wright, Professor of Sociology (Iowa), who earned a doctorate for his thesis on Anglo-Indians, says, "I have looked back over the history of the Community and note several 'bumps' of cultural surge, times when the group took its destiny into its own hands and demanded it become something else. The something else was ultimately a movement to become more permanent, more lasting, to preserve its heritage for future generations . . . cultural heritage that uniquely identifies that group as having a life that will last far beyond the life of any member . . . a heritage found in the arts."
Nothing can sum up the intent of CTR Inc Publishing as aptly as Dr. Wright’s observation. It is, indeed, time to take "destiny into our own hands" and mould it into a lasting "heritage for future generations". To this end, "Anglo-Indians - Vanishing Remnants of a Bygone Era", "Haunting India", and now "Voices on the Verandah" are the first three publications in a series of books about Anglo-Indians and India to be released by CTR Inc Publishing over the next several years.
All three books have another vitally important and synergistic function: the proceeds of all sales (publishing costs are borne privately) will go directly to CTR Inc, the charity helping less fortunate Anglo-Indians in India.
The series thus serves a dual purpose: to preserve the culture of the Community and to provide much needed resources for its poorer members in India.
We can, and we will, make a difference.
CTR Inc Publishing
The following is an excerpt from a review by Jyotirmoy Datta, News-India Times: December 3rd 2004, quoting a passage from the piquant and deeply moving winning story, "Butterfly" by Kathleen Cassity, an Anglo-Indian who lives in Hawaii.
Back at my parents' house, I sat with my (American) mother in front of the fireplace, silent, while a Presto-Log burned in every colour of the rainbow. After she drifted off, I wandered into the kitchen, rummaging through the cupboards until I found the last jar of hot mango pickle. I opened the jar and inhaled, lungs pierced by the pungent aroma that contains my entire life. I pressed my nose against the icy windowpane. The fire inside my belly glowed and spread, threatening to thaw the deep, deep freeze within. Outside the snow was falling, in a world shrouded in silence.
The narrator is the eternal Ruth, standing amidst the alien cold. The children and the grandchildren do have strong emotional ties and these ties are sweeter, having been transformed by imagination.
In the 'Meet the Author' section at the end of the anthology, it is said of the writer:
Kathleen enjoys music, swimming, yoga and travel - particularly visiting her Anglo-Indian relatives all over the world.
This fascinating book is a 'must-read' for anyone who has ever visited, let alonelived, in India for any length of time. To an old 'koi-hai' like myself, it has poignancy all of its own, and it brings back many memories . . . . .
Author of Under the old school Topee - (BACSA Vol 10, Spring 2005)
. . . . . let me also say that there are some absolutely wonderful contributions here . . . amusing, touching, informing, thought provoking. . . the kind of writing one would want to present to the outside reader. Congratulations to everyone.
Author of Farewell the Winterline
I received the three copies of "Voices" and they were fabulous! I do believe, that the book, as well as it has been done by you, and your team, will be successful on its own merit, and I, in whatever small way I can, will ensure every one I meet hears of it.
Singer, Writer, Actor
I just received a copy, it looks good, and feel proud that our community has an added work of literary art.
Jennifer Bayer, PhD
Head of Research Group on Communications and Literacy at the Central Institute of Languages
My reaction to "Voices on the Verandah". I have dipped into it many times and have enjoyed what I've read, but I confess I have not found the time to read it from cover to cover. It has certainly contributed to my pride in my origins and I trust will do the same for many others who have shared our very special place in history.
Author of Bye Bye Blackbird and Malayan Archipelago
"Voices on the Verandah" is a unique book filled with wonderful short prose. Personal stories that relate to a fine history lesson that stretch across the pages. I continued on to the poetry for a real treat.
I would like to offer you my sincere congratulations on the wonderful job you did in getting the above book published. I can well imagine what you must have gone through. Shabash.
"Voices on the Verandah". What can I say? It was beautiful to look at and hold. That's all I could do for my parents have taken it away and will return it only on finishing!! You, Margaret and Sylvia and the entire team have done a wonderful job.
Thank you for the wonderful book, "Voices On The Verandah'', which I received a few days ago. I could not put the book down for long, and enjoyed every article. You, Margaret and the team need to be congratulated.
Gwen Estelle Desmier
Voices on the Verandah