Madhur Jaffrey is a woman of many talents - a talented actress much loved by Merchant and Ivory, the woman perhaps most responsible for bringing Indian cookery to the masses and if this book is anything to go by, also an excellent writer. The moment I finished reading her account of growing up in a large, well-to-do family, I was straight off to Amazon to see if she'd written about her adult life. Surely if her childhood is this interesting, how great would a book about her days of acting and cooking be? Sadly her venture into the world of autobiography seems to have stopped almost as soon as it started and I very much lament that this covers only her childhood.
"I was born in my grandparents' sprawling house by the Yamuna River in Delhi. Grandmother welcomed me into this world by writing `Om' , which means `I am' in Sanskrit, on my tongue with a finger dipped in honey"
Hers is not the poor peasant life - far from it. Her grandfather the barrister had their large house built on a plot in South Delhi and housed his eight children and all their offspring (though admittedly not all at the same time). This is a book about being part of a quite affluent family during a time of change and upheaval during the final years of British rule. She also tells us about the impact of the Partition of India on her life, noting the disappearance of her muslim school friends, off to find new lives in the new Pakistan. It's all rather sedate and dainty but there's no harm in that.