One of the funnest aspects of growing up in such a diverse culture and community as the Fijian Indian one is, is the music. At nearly every wedding, party or family you were guaranteed to hear a handful of staple songs mixed in with whatever the current music was. That included Bula Malaya, a few other Fijian songs (which are still played) and UB40’s Red Red Wine at some point, most likely at the end of the night.
The blend of all these different kinds of music is something I took for granted at the time, but now I cherish it. Red Red Wine brings back so many fond memories of family parties and weddings, with aunts and uncles dancing with each other, while groups of cousins huddled in circles swaying to the music with our arms around each other.
So many fond memories tied to this song and that is one of the most beautiful parts of music.
Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would read a book about the Indian diaspora and the Fiji Islands. On the heels of the #WeNeedDiverseBooks movement, on a whim, I decided to research books about my parents’ home country, the Fiji Islands. I expected books on tourism and travel, but never did I expect to find Leaving India by Minal Hajratwala.
The book is much more than just the journey of Indians from India to Fiji, Hajratwala specifically writes about her own family’s journey from Gujrat, India to the Fiji Islands, South Africa, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and various parts of America. The author spent 7 years researching the book and interviewed 75 relatives in the process. The result is a stunning, in depth look at the Indian diaspora through Minal’s family.