Always A Foreigner By Ashwini Devare - Review

 A girl was born and brought up in a village, in a small state in the southern corner of India. She has never stepped out of her state. She reads the book about another girl who is born in one country, spent her childhood, teenage and youth in several countries. This is me reading Always A Foreigner by Ashwini. I picked the book for the fancy of living in different countries. But, was it so?

Always a Foreigner

Born to a diplomat father, Ashwini has lived in India, Burma, the US, South Korea, the list goes on. She is a reservoir of knowledge for the fact that she has an anthropologically enriching upbringing. 

The book doesn't merely touch the snippets of her life but gives a glimpse of the political scenario in the country that she lived in and the repercussions in India.

The reality

Indian Foreign Service is often connected with the perks of living in the developed countries, opportunities to travel around the world, and the peripheral materialistic gains. Little has been thought and spoken about the diplomats assigned to third-world countries. 

The life of the seasoned officer in Burma is a shocking revelation in 'Always a Foreigner'. While it makes us proud of how privileged we are to live in India, it equally pains to know that such highly qualified officers have to go through pains of this extent and never acknowledged. This somehow made me reflect on how ill-informed we are about the sacrifices of our civil servants. 

Facing racism

I have heard of experiences with racism in the US, Australia, etc but never about Switzerland. I would have snubbed it as an imagination without research had this been a fictional work. A child who is being uprooted over and over again would naturally develop identity issues but Ashwini on the other hand is enriched with the cosmopolitan life she has been exposed to.

Knowing our history

There have been several speculations about the demise of Lal Bahadur Shastri but Ashwini's account gives a close-range testimonial to the incident. Likewise, several politico-social incidents like the democratization of South Korea, emergency in India, merging Sikkim to India, and several other historical incidents are witnessed by this talented writer.

Ashwini's narration is impeccable. She is highly talented and enriched with knowledge gained from her life across the world and hence 'Always a Foreigner' represents her life in different countries. Overall the book is a lucidly written reservoir of knowledge delivered with finesse. 

Listen to the audio interview in Outset Books Podcast.

Comments

  1. After going through the review of the book what I can say that there are so many things that got covered in the story plot... very rare to see in any book of this latest time.

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  2. Same here. I have never heard about racism in Switzerland. It looks like the author has soent a lot of time in doing research and writing the book. Loved youre review.

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  3. This sounds interesting. This story has so many ups & downs, struggles and what not. You have written this review very well. ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘

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  4. I feel we can never judge anyone unless we are in their shoes. The sacrifices and hardships of our civil servant is indeed unsung about. Wonderful review.

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  5. yes living life in another countries is not as easy as seems and I can say this by personal experience too. the plot of book seems relatable to me. will try to read it dear. thanks for sharing your honest review,

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  6. This book seems to be covering a lot of topics, to imbue all of that into one book should surely yield some marvellous results

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  7. The plot seems interesting . Racism in Switzerland is something I have not heard. This book seems to cover lot of topics . Thank you for sharing

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  8. The plot seems interesting . Racism in Switzerland is something I have not heard. This book seems to cover lot of topics . Thank you for sharing

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  9. There are rarely such books after classics that could really move one. This one sounds like one and pretty promising to me.

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  10. I think few days back I got to know about this back while scrolling thr feed of my insta. Di the reality section that you depicted is what I agree too. And the portion of knowing your history is also something to enhance our challenge. ❤️

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  11. This book sounds interesting. It has so many ups and downs. You have covered all the aspect beautifully. I might read it.

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  12. There is always a story of everyone which we never know until we walk on their steps. Life is not so easy to live. In your review, I have found this books so many things which we should know. Will going to give it a read

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  13. Will you be able to get me a review copy or media copy of this book? I have a dream of becoming a diplomat if everything goes well. I would love to know about our foreign policy and the in-depth factual data.

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  14. You have well written the review. I got to know about always a foreigner by ashwini devare - review . But this always story of all which we will know it. Very nice information . This sounds interesting .Thanks for sharing๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ‘

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  15. A fascinating memoir is about growing up as an Indian Foreign Service child in the 70s . Life is not so easy to live. In your review, I have found this books so many things which we should know.

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  16. A well Written Review !! after reading your insta review i was sure that this will also be as good !

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  17. The plot seems interesting and looks like this book covers a lot of topics. Thanks for the review. Gunjan

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  18. Sounds interesting Rakhi. So many things thete inyiur review and telling me I should go for this, need to know many things.

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  19. I remember hearing about this book few days ago. And I must say I got a complete insight through your review. Thank you for sharing.

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  20. I have been through a lot of racism and it exists everywhere. I am glad this book covers so the point. I am intrigued by this book. Great post๐Ÿค—๐Ÿค—.

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  21. This is a very detailed and comprehensive review. I am interested to find out more about the experience of the author. It must have been quite interesting to grow up in so many different countries. Your review makes me want to read it. Thanks for sharing. (Reens)

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  22. Interesting book to read. Same as you, the title captivated me at first and gave me an impression of a good life experience story to look forward. It was intriguing to read how much different the world it is compared to what we read and experience. Truly, you can't just rely on what is thought to us but have an experience yourself to judge more of what it feels to live.

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