Coming from India, we all know all about bonding over tea. Of course, the word ‘tea’ and ‘together’ go hand in hand, even though not in that order. So it’s the title that intrigued me while shopping at Costco. My love for ‘chai’ time compelled me into buying the book for my in-flight entertainment during the upcoming India trip. I’m glad I picked it.
Marjan Kamali’s Together Tea is about an Iranian family settled in the US after having to flee their country when its’ culture is hijacked and dictated by the fundamentalists. It is about an Iranian family becoming Iranian-American and yet not quite. It is about the determination of parents to let their kids thrive and achieve the best in life. It is about a mother. It is about the woman in her as well. It is about a mother-daughter relationship. It is about arranged marriage. It is about the sense of captivity that women feel when a handful of men feel empowered by holding women captive to their ideologies. It is about a very rich & colorful culture whose inherent value is lost to the world as its primary perception is that of its association to terrorism.
‘Together Tea’ provides a delightful and in-depth insight into a world very alien to most. On the other hand, it dwells into nature of the relationships that are no different across the world- no matter what culture, religion or country you come from.
Marjan Kamali, the author, was born in Turkey. She holds an MFA in creative Writing from New York University and an MBA from Columbia University. The book , her debut novel , is certainly an excellent read with bold and honest opinions, rich cultural descriptions, very real relationships, intriguing and interesting, good paced and informative- all at once. A must-pack for your summer travels.