Title : Tanya Tania
Author : Antara Ganguli
ISBN : 9789384898410
Publisher : Bloomsbury India
Genre : Contemporary Fiction
Pages : 224
Source : Self
Rating : 5 stars
Tanya Tania is a story about two teenage girls, Tanya and Tania, one from Karachi (Tanya) and one from Bombay (Tania). The two, upon their mothers’ insistence, start writing letters to each other and become pen pals.
The two start of as acquaintances and start getting close after the initial few exchanges of letters. In their letters, Tanya and Tania share every detail about their lives, details they wouldn’t even tell their families, with each other, drawing the reader into their intimate worlds. They write to each other about their surroundings, family, events, friends, school/college and aspirations. Eventually the two start talking on the phone. They continue writing to each other for two years (1991 and 1992) until one devastating incident makes Tania stop writing to Tanya.
The book is set in 1990’s Karachi and Bombay. The author has described the two cities vividly through her narration. Although both the girls are of same age, they’re vastly different from each other due to the differences in their upbringing and environment. Yet, the two bond really well and become great friends and become each other’s support in their intertwined worlds.
Things turn violent in the second half of the book, when both Tania and Tanya are subjected to riots and political mishaps in their respective cities (Demolition of Babri Masjid and violence in Pakistan), which leads Tanya to shift to America.
The author through her beautiful narration talks about friendship, sex, companionship, the importance of education, ambitions and jealousy and how these things are differently perceived by the two. The letters are funny and at the same time, heart breaking. This is the first book of Antara Ganguli that I’m reading and I must say the author is a compelling and passionate writer.
The ending of the book, which by the way will make you hold your breath, is heart-wrenching, tragic and unexpected. All in all, Tanya Tania has been an amazing read. It is highly engrossing and kept me hooked till the end, definitely a page turner.
It’s a must read.
One of the quotes from the book:
“It’s better to make people wonder what you think of them rather than wonder what they think of you.”
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