A collection of eight charming short stories that illuminate the diverse nuances of life as an immigrant INDIAN WOMAN in modern day Australia, Pavlova & Pappadums is a gem from Nitasha Thomson, reviews Shalini Singh.

Her first book as an author, Nitasha highlights the nuances of life as an Indian, a Hindu, a vegetarian; compiled with the complexities of living in culturally diverse Australia.

Pavlova & Pappadums resonates with the stories of conflict and acceptance of two cultures; joyously complimented with food and the bliss of cooking for a family.

Nitasha has now lived in Australia for more than 30 years and her close perception of her own unique challenges, joys and opportunities is portrayed in her work.

Although the book is a work of fiction, yet the narratives cleverly draw on Indian women in Australia – the protagonist, which a large number of Indian origin women will identify with. Each woman facing a clash of cultures, values and beliefs; is joined on her journey by family, friends and neighbours.

Reflection of sorts, the book is insightful and entertaining at the same time!

Diet is one area that Nitasha deals with so adeptly weaving it through her stories, that some elements make an almost appetizing read.

No! The book is not about cuisines. Rather with the inclusion of diet and lifestyle in her magical way, Nitasha will touch chords within many without leaving a feeling of any loss!

In one storyline Gauri is supported by her husband, Hari, to recognize that Manisha is growing up in a different society. Through many tribulations, Gauri finds comfort from the fact that together the family would find a way for Manisha to realise her full potential and live a wholesome life; while respecting their tradition and culture.

The conflict of dual identity and the journey of culmination to a rich existence – the book promotes acceptance of the Australian culture and lifestyle by immigrants and celebration of the Australian way of life.

Even the attitude to ageing, both in the Indian and Australian context, is skilfully handled; leaving the reader with a positive mood – memories of the yore combined with celebration of the present.

Nitasha, who is an Indian Australian, dedicates the book to the memory of her late father who encouraged and inspired her through her own unique experiences as an immigrant. Pavlova & Pappadums launched in Umina Beach, NSW, skilfully plots narratives promoting cross cultural harmony and understanding.

Pavlova & Paapadums is published by Brolga Publishing and distributed Pan Macmillan. Available for AU $24.99 from major book stores

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