The Way We Are
An Anglo-Indian Mosaic
Edited by Lionel Lumb and Deborah Van Veldhuizen
Here we are again.
"The Way We Are" (TWWA) edited by Lionel Lumb and Deborah Van Veldhuizen is the fifth in our CTR Books series on the culture and way of life of Anglo-Indians.
TWWA judges selected 43 entries whose authors were distributed as follows:
USA - 14
Canada - 11
Australia - 7
UK - 6
New Zealand - 3
India - 1
Hong Kong - 1
Isn't that amazing? And the common element is the Anglo-Indian today.
As our editor Lionel Lumb says, "Put to rest are all the old calumnies of a shiftless people, drifters dependent on the goodwill of a colonial power and uncertain about their place in the world. Indeed, these pages reveal the world is ours, as we bring the strengths of our multicultural heritage to light the way for the increasingly diverse societies in which we’ve settled."
The gross proceeds of all sales - (publishing costs are borne privately) - will go directly to CTR Inc., the charity helping less fortunate Anglo-Indians in India.
Publisher, CTR Inc Publishing
PO Box 6345, Monroe Twp, NJ 08831, USA
Blair Williams, the publisher of this effort, is a Chartered Engineer (London) who immigrated to the USA from India in 1976. He has spent the last 24 years as an executive in manufacturing companies and is now an Industry Professor at Brooklyn Polytechnic. He is the author of a technical publication, "Manufacturing for Survival (Pearson 1997)".
On a visit to India in 1998 he was appalled to see the condition of the seniors of his Community, evoking the all too distressing realization that, "there, but for the grace of God, go I." On his return he set up CTR Inc., a 501c(3), 'Not For Profit' charity, expressly to help indigent Anglo-Indians in India. Today the charity provides monthly pensions to over 230 seniors in three major cities in India and is helping to educate over 100 children.
CTR Inc. Publishing is pleased to announce the release of its fifth volume on the culture and way of life of Anglo-Indians: "The Way We Are - An Anglo-Indian Mosaic". TWWA is an anthology of 43 articles chronicling the way Anglo-Indians adapted to life in the new countries they chose after emigrating from India.
Its 39 authors, including some who are not Anglo-Indians, provide a colourful and complex panorama of a vibrant people who assimilate into their host countries with creative survival skills. In the process, they explore and redefine what it means to be an Anglo-Indian today.
Some of these personal journeys are poignant, others dramatic, and still others humourous. Editors Lionel Lumb and Deborah Van Veldhuizen say: "TWWA is a collection as varied as it is vital, as complex in its detail as it is revealing in its honesty, as creative as it is heart-warming. The very first memoir, 'Never Give In', sets the tone for the way Anglo-Indians spread out around the world after 1947, and faced their challenges with guts and ingenuity."
Williams is proud that CTR has developed a worldwide audience for the books, and says, "TWWA takes the literary and anthropological significance of the series to new heights." He quotes Ruskin Bond, the premier Anglo-Indian literary icon, as saying: "The community has found its voice, and it is sweet."
TWWA’s publication coincides with the 10th anniversary of CTR, the charity founded by Blair Williams to help poor Anglo-Indians still living in India. The anniversary is being celebrated in October and November in Australia, the UK, Canada, and the USA.
As with its predecessors, all the money raised through the sale of TWWA will go to CTR, a non-profit charity run entirely by volunteers. Williams says: "We are proud to claim administrative costs of less than one-tenth of 1%, so every donation goes directly to those in need in India."
Book Launching on Oct 19th at Crown of India, 660 Plainsboro Rd, Plainsboro, NJ (609) 275-5707 with a seminar and buffet lunch. Assembly persons Linda Greenstein and Upendra Chivukula are gracing the occasion as chief guests.
Having published two memorable anthologies "Voices On The Verandah" and "The Way We Were", CTR Publishing continues with their winning formula in this third offering of stories that enrich our Community. Editors Lionel Lumb and Deborah Van Veldhuizen have created a richly layered book comprised of anecdotes both sad and joyful, insightful yet entertaining. The book is star studded throughout with illuminating stories of childhood in India, to hardships and successes of lives lived in foreign lands.
I particularly liked the way the book was divided. There are 4 sections, Passages, Identities, Traditions and Reflections. The fluidity of each section keeps you thoroughly interested and focused throughout the book, but nothing prepares the reader for what really happens and how, and there lies the journey. Unfortunately, I cannot go into each Author's contribution, suffice it to say every story had a poignancy which is heartwarming and insightful. I have randomly chosen stories to hint at the amazing talents of our Anglo-Indian writers. This book rejoices in the inner strength and endurance that Anglo-Indians possess.
PASSAGES begins with Moira Breen's pioneering spirit in the story 'NEVER GIVE IN' a true example of "self-empowerment". She instantly became my hero with her tale of living the American dream during the 1950's. Moira gives us much to admire in her story and her achievements. Margaret Deefholts never disappoints, there is always a poignant memory to find amongst her souvenirs! A 'PASSAGE TO CANADA' takes us back to the heart-wrenching time of saying goodbye to old friends and family, and beginning a new chapter in Canada. Lionel Lumb's 'DENIAL & PRIDE' takes the reader on his personal journey from early Lahore-days of being cosseted, to the rude awakening of life in Calcutta. Never giving in or giving up paid off well, and his story of success goes from strength to strength, as he "developed from an Anglo-Indian with a modest interest in his heritage to one who really cared".
IDENTITIES is a collection of stories on what it means to be a part of our Community, whether we were born in India, remembered India as a youngster, or only visited our 'homeland' as an adult. 'INHERITING REMEMBRANCE' by Susan Deefholts spoke to my heart. I also remembered ... "All the details - the backdrops of railway colonies, alfresco dances, hill stations, and boarding schools - these are my inherited memories now carefully stored away in rooms of my own." 'UNRAVELLING THE MOSAIC' by Sheldon Fernandez shows us the Community, seen through the eyes of someone going home for the first time. As Sheldon points out ... "that wisdom is truly timeless and the young will rediscover it through the memory of example and the plain pains of time. We will teach our children to respect their elders because one day we, too, will bear the wrinkles of acknowledged wisdom".
TRADITIONS - Has an eclectic group of stories. There is no denying that Anglo-Indians have built their lives on the traditions handed down through generations. We cling to these, for denying them would bring a sense of betrayal into our lives. Patricia Brown's 'FEBRUARY' is a deeply moving story about the passing of a friend, someone whom you have known since girlhood, someone you grew into womanhood with, the one person you could go to when you both immigrated to a new country and things were so strange. Anglo-Indian traditions kept this friendship strong.
REFLECTIONS - The final section bring together a collection of thought-provoking essays that probe Anglo-Indian attitudes with honesty, humour and scholarship. These range from Robyn Andrews's poignant portrayal of poor Anglo-Indians in 'A CALCUTTA CHRISTMAS' to Sanjay Sircar's witty exploration of our verbal idiosyncrasies in 'MATTERS OF LANGUAGE'. In between, Lionel Caplan provides compelling detail in his ' CLOSE FAMILIES IN CHENNAI', and Ed Haliburn puts the community under a microscope with his challenging piece 'WHAT IF?'
The Authors -- what an amazing cast of writers this book has -- all had the courage to keep their endings honest. As in all our lives, not every loose end is left neatly tied. I found "The Way We Are" a finely-balanced blend of compelling characters, charismatic writing and spellbinding stories. I am sure that TWWA will keep readers of Anglo-Indian literature well and truly entertained, beginning to end.
Lynette M Rebeiro
Author: Blind Spot
The Way We Are