Tania's Treasure Trove

By Sesh Damerla
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A Review By Manjit K. Thandi

B.A. Hons, University of Sheffield, M.A. University of London

The 'forbidden fruit' becomes all-consuming when one has been discouraged from tasting it! Such is the case with the whole of the subcontinent; it has been a forbidden territory for Tania, until the sudden demise of her parents.

Expatriates are drawn to, and develop a far closer bond with their countries of origin, than, perhaps, those who never leave their native shores. Hence Tania, of Indian parentage, returns from the USA to India, on a quest to find answers for questions her parents even forbade her to ask.

Under the surface story, Tania' Treasure Trove covers many levels, and explores the many and varied reasons why we travel, whether that be travelling to different geographical locations, or indeed, back in time, into personal histories to find answers. Sesh Damerla explores spatial and temporal boundaries to address serious issues about culture, traditions, social status, gender, and the inequalities therein. Intricately wrapping these issues in stories set in the myriad colors of India, Ms Damerla addresses questions which traverse time, place, nationality, and class.

As an expat myself, from the age of three, I found Tania's story most engaging, as I continue, after having left India over 50 years ago, to seek the truths behind my own identity. The style of writing is peculiarly Indian, and the attitudes expressed, sometimes full of pathos, sometimes comical, and often spoken in complete seriousness, and add spice to a story which, on different levels, will appeal to a wide variety of readers, especially those who have left the shores of their beloved homelands.

Raj Swaminathan

Chief Executive Officer - Indus Software Technologies, pune.

In this gripping book, Sesh Damerla captures the essential conflict of our times beautifully, through her wonderful characterization and build- up of the key personalities that Tania encounters in her journey of self-discovery, while solving her own life puzzle.

I read the moving stories (in a single sitting!) as Tania traverses the breadth of India – from Mumbai to Hyderabad, from Hyderabad to Chennai and Kanchipuram, from Mumbai and Baroda in the West to Punjab & Haryana - unravelling through both a picturesque travelogue the collage and mystique of India while at the same time discovering the agonizing and captivating story of her parents and their past. As Tania re-discovers her wonderful family stretched across the country, welcoming their grand-daughter back home, it truly felt that India was welcoming its daughter back after a short sojourn outside.

I recollect a famous quote by Mary Angelou– “I have great respect for the past. If you don't know where you have come from, you don’t know where you are going”. This book begs the author with two requests (a) Make me a movie (b) A sequel on where does Tania go from here…..