Bestselling author Gita Audhya. Photo Courtesy of Gita Audhya
Bestselling author Gita Audhya chatted about her book “All Those Tears We Can’t See.”
She is an Indian immigrant who moved to England with her family and ultimately, she found the United States as her home with her husband. She is the author of many books, her most recent being “All Those Tears We Can’t See,” which addresses the challenges that immigrants face when they are trying to achieve “the American dream.”
Audhya currently resides in New Jersey with her husband where she enjoys reading, writing, and celebrating the completion of the books she has written with some champagne.
Every book has a story about its creation. What’s the story and inspiration behind ‘All Those Tears We Can’t See?‘
I could give you a very good answer because this book was written from my own experience. Like Samantha, when I immigrated to America a long time ago, I had to start a new life in my new adopted land.
The language, culture, traditions, morals, beliefs, and everyday way of life were foreign to me, and assimilating into my adopted country while still retaining my culture and beliefs was even harder than you could imagine.
I had disagreements with my children occasionally, but then I ultimately learned to adjust to their views. I endured lots of hardship in my life and waited for a long time to fulfill my American dreams. I knew that with all these opportunities and hardships would bring a good life for my family and myself.
I always wanted to tell the whole story about India’s glorious ancient past and her spirituality, about the Muslims who came to India and made her their homeland, the English invasion that changed the culture and progression, and America’s influence by modernizing and creating IT boom.
Of course, it was difficult for me to weave all the factors together through fiction, but I did it. To create India’s and America’s inter-depended relationship, Samantha, and her first-generation daughter, Monica, evolved in my novel. Simonti (Samantha) was stuck between her past, present, and future so the last thing she wanted to do was to give up on her culture because she feared that the western culture would break down the protected door, she created for her daughter so carefully. This was the way it has happened and will happen in the future, but the realization came too late for Samantha.
Though a lot of information about India was available it was always mixed with myth. I knew that the difficulty of understanding each other’s cultures was there. So, I wrote about India’s middle class with its complexity, artificial English style, social changes, revolution, and dreams with America’s influences.
In the process, I made the characters very believable so that the readers can relate to them, empathize with them, and sympathize with them even though they were fictional characters.
Can you tell us about the serious issue that you address in this book?
As this modern era is approaching with its glamour, elegance at this present time in India where the middle class are brimming with lots of wealth, but societal unhappiness is on the rise. I never could imagine how rape could take place in this civilized modern world in a dark alley or in open daylight. It was the talk of the town in 2012.
I decided that moment to undertake this heavy burden on my shoulder so that people from all over the world would realize how serious this situation is in India where horrible crimes are taking place without justice. When I was growing up, we could go out at the night without fear as it happened very rarely.
Now, the parent provides bribery money for their sons who leave jail without being punished. The victim who suffered horrified indignity doesn’t get any justice. It was very hurtful for me to expose these current disorders, but I had to pursue this venture so that an effective law can be passed.
My intention was never to hurt anybody in this regard; I only wanted laws to be better. That’s why I dedicated my book to the assault victims and Jyoti Singh Punday in her memory.
While writing this book, did you learn anything new about yourself?
I always had lots of imagination, curiosity, and analytical thoughts but I did not know that I could write an entire epic novel. One of my friends read my rough copy and she confirmed that I may have some talent. That word was not entirely new to me. But I did not have any motivation behind it to write literary fiction and publish it.
When I published the book, the reviewers and the readers pointed out that it was a wonderful story. With their encouragement, I knew I had some motivation and a it was a new dream of mine to be a good writer. I could inform, entertain, teach, motivate, and show creation with heart through writing.
I learned that I am a very hard-working and dedicated person and if I want to pursue something I devote all my time and focus just to achieve it.
How does it feel to be an author in the digital age (Now with technology being so prevalent)?
Remember the time when we did not own any computer in our home, but we had plenty of whiteout to erase the spelling mistakes as all of us had a manual typewriter. I am not sure how many of us still use typewriters now. I am so happy that digital technology is here and is helping our job become so much easier.
Writing, printing, flyers, and presentation on computer or paper are all within our reach. I always write my novel with an MS word processor, store it, and when it is finished I printed them out or send them electronically and I don’t even have to meet the person face to face.
There is also another advantage we have nowadays that we can present the job with PowerPoint demonstration with graphs and financial and statistical calculations on a big screen computer. Zoom and virtual meetings are right there so we can take advantage of them if we don’t have enough time to travel.
Now that the AI Chat-GPT was invented to enhance our job even further, the future with more electronic tools is not very far behind.
If you could have dinner with any of the characters in ‘All Those Tears We Can’t See’ who would it be and why?
All the characters in All Those Tears We Can’t See are very interesting and beautiful in their own way so it would be very difficult for me to choose any particular one. But since I had to do it, I will pick Samantha.
She had shown the courage and struggle of starting over in a new place with different languages, cultures, and traditions where it seems like a brand new world. It reminded me of the cultural dynamics of immigration when I suffered tremendously in my mind. Like her, I cried many nights when I left my country, my parents, sister, friends, and relatives.
I knew Samantha would not fancy any American food, yet dinner with her would be an exotic one. She probably will invite me to her home and will make Somosa, Birriany, lamb curry, Malaicurry with shrimp and a few more dishes. It would be a seven-course dinner.
I particularly liked her because she is a protagonist in this novel with a very strong personality. She maintained her culture with all odds even when Amit, her husband, respected her for her beliefs yet wished one day she would change to the American way and especially wear their clothing.
The irony is that along with her daughter, Monica picked up Western culture even though her mother sacrificed her career to bring her up in an Indian way. I really felt sad when her hard work failed and a big mistake occurred on her part which ended up in a heartbreaking tragedy. I also liked her loving relationship with her daughter and the concept of the American Dream. I can relate to her in this respect with my own son.
This book has been so very popular with the readers. Can you tell us if you have a new book or project in the works?
The first book I wrote was In Pursuit of Love, Spirituality, and Happiness. I loved that story. One of the readers was curious why I chose Hawaii instead of India. India’s Majestic Everest brings out the Devine feeling that would have been suitable for the ground of Spirituality. But I wanted to write about America.
I told him contrary to belief, America has a soul which lies in the mighty Mountain range of Hawaii where volcanic lava flows and shows how the earth was created in ancient time. The 2nd book I wrote was about an immigrant’s epic journey from India to America to pursue her American Dream.
I always enjoy writing a variety of topics to provide different cultures, tones, and mentalities. Human minds fascinate me as it works with an array of psychology. After the controversial matter, I wrote, my mind wanted to take refuge in a soothing love story. But it did not work out that way, as usual, and once again the complexity occupied in this fiction. It is a love story with a backdrop of AIDS tragedy.
I wrote about thirteen chapters, but six more chapters must be written still and then editing would start. I finished writing a story about LGBTQ which has to be edited as well. And the last one would be my favorite story which is about a 9/11 firefighter hero. I try to accomplish as much as I can, but writing is a very complex matter, and it has to be handled with care.
When finishing a new book, what is your favorite way to celebrate?
After finishing the book, I really feel relieved. It is so much work. So, to reward me my husband brought me a dozen red roses, a bottle of champagne, and a heartfelt handwritten card to celebrate with me. But the irony is, I had to clean the mess afterward.
Her bestselling book “All Those Tears We Can’t See” is available on Amazon by clicking here.