Vegemite Vindaloo
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Vegemite Vindaloo

Journalist David McMahon's novel is story of unexpected turns in life and the courage it takes to accept them.

india Updated: May 09, 2006 18:21 IST

Vegemite Vindaloo
Author: David McMahon
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Penguin Books India
Price: Rs 295
Pages: 326
ISBN: 0-14-400148-9

I'll tell you something interesting. There's an Australian native tree, a type of wattle called the hakea. There is just one way for it to spread its seeds and propagate: only bushfires open its seed pods. No other way. So what looks to some people like destruction is actually the only way this great tree can survive and spread.

Ismail flees his village in Bihar one night with his wife, Zarina, and infant son, Azam, and, overnight, moves from being a respected tea-stall owner to a pavement-dweller in a massive, forbidding city. With no roof over his head, unsure of where his next meal would come from, Ismail struggles with the challenges of this strange new world.

Across town, Steve Cooper, a dashing young pilot, is looking for domestic help. A chance encounter leads to Zarina being hired as an ayah, and Ismail and his family come to live with the Coopers. As the months go by, little Azam slowly finds a place in the hearts of the Coopers, and although Steve faces strong opposition from society, he refuses to treat the son of his maid any different from his own son.

David McMahon's Vegemite Vindaloo is a story of unexpected twists that life can take

When the Coopers find out that their application to migrate to Australia has been approved, Steve hopes that the new country will give Azam the equal opportunity that will continue to be denied to him in India because of his parentage. But will Azam’s biological parents give him up that easily? And will Steve really find Australia to be the promised land he thinks it is?

As hilarious as it is heartbreaking, Vegemite Vindaloo is a tale about the unexpected twists that life can take, and the courage it takes to leave behind all that you knew and start over.

First Published: May 09, 2006 18:21 IST