Who am I?
I was born of Bengali-speaking parents in Lucknow, India and lived in many different parts of the country. My parents imbued me with a strong sense of Indian and world history and culture and a great appreciation of diversity in all its forms-geography, cuisines, people, food and of course literature.
I studied English Honours and sociology in India and did my Ph.D. on the impact of British occupation on revolution and reform in West Bengal from the Australian National University. The thesis was awarded a publishing grant from the Indian Council of Social Science Research and published as The Social History of a Bengal Town, 1985.
In 1990, I married an Australian of Dutch origin with whom she lives in Brisbane. I have a son and daughter and a grandson and two recently acquired rescue beagles. My extended family now includes members from six religions and an equal number of languages who live in many countries around the world.
Since migrating to Australia in 1990, I have worked in academia, government and non-government organisations. I have also been a volunteer Committee Member in many not for profit organisations which have provided a range of perspectives on Australia’s diverse communities.
Throughout this period, I have continued with pursuing academic and creative writing which draw on my experiences of living and working in India and Australia. For a while, I was also part of a performing group called United by Pen which brought together writers and musicians from diverse backgrounds. While the group has dispersed, some of the members remain friends and we are always happy to support each other’s achievements.
After retiring from full-time work in July 2018, I joined the Human Research Ethics Committee at the University of Queensland and am working on contributing more to the writers’ groups (including the Fellowship of Australian Writers Queensland and the Society of Women Writers of Queensland) of which I am a Committee member. I am also involved in other community activities such as assisting a women’s refuge to get support in cash and kind and promoting women’s achievements through community events and journals.
In 2015, I put together an anthology of my stories, poems and articles called In My Father’s House which was launched at my 25th wedding anniversary in Brisbane. I published my first novel The Rose and the Thorn in May 2019. I have begun to do the research for the sequel.
Reading in three languages (English, Bengali and Hindi), travel, theatre and cinema, trying out different cuisines and engaging with people from diverse backgrounds have been long-standing interests. I have now added learning about training beagles and growing Bromeliads to them. Success has been variable.