I’ve Come to Say Goodbye is the story of an incredible friendship between two unlikely people: an Australian artist, Barbara Carmichael and a young Indian man named Tarun. Over a 10 year-period, the author travelled back and forth to India and spent time with Tarun and his family in Udaipur. She became a part of his family. He became like a brother and her guide. Through his eyes, Barbara saw India, and with his family, she experienced life in an Indian family. She was no longer a tourist.
After overcoming initial anxiety, she is soon travelling on the back of Tarun’s motorbike in a land where it would appear that rules are made to be broken. Her safe “beige” surrounds of Sydney’s North Shore are suddenly replaced by an explosion of colour and a journey of discovery. With each trip come new experiences and an understanding between them of each other’s way of life.
Barbara’s experiences are are many and varied. In Delhi she finds herself booked into a hotel that is in its final stages of demolition. She is the only guest. She sleeps fully dressed with her suitcase against the door, as the sounds of falling bricks echo through her room. In Jaipur, she is run over by a rickshaw in peak hour traffic, and experiences a somewhat unbelievable recovery. On an overnight train to Jodhpur with her friend Pam, they awake to find five men standing at the ends of their beds, watching them sleep.
Time after time she returns to India and continues her adventures. She takes a holiday with Tarun, his wife and their son. Little does she know that this will be her last visit with her brother. When she receives news of his sudden death a few months later, she is devastated. She cannot believe. She must go back to Udaipur. It’s the only way she can say goodbye.
Barbara’s colourful description of the people of India, her detailed observations of life in India made me feel that I was there, sharing her experiences and adventures. If you have never been to India, you certainly will want to go there after reading this beautiful book…
A lyrical and engrossing travel memoir. With an artist’s eye, Carmichael brings to life the lavish colors, scents, and sounds of India, and the unforgettable adventures she has along the way. A must read for anyone who’s been to India or ever dreamed of going there....
From beige Australia to dazzling India, the intrepid Barbara Carmichael takes us on a poignant journey of friendship and self-discovery. A big-hearted tale of travel, family and the strange hand of destiny that can bring people together –– and apart.