Saffron and Silk

An Australian in India


“India overwhelmed me. Her colours are the stuff of fantasy, shining in the fabrics and costumes of women, even the poorest. Wild lavish purples and reds and oranges swirl together on one sari, with emeralds and magical midnight blues. India, now as then, bombards my eyes and ears; she gets up my nostrils and under my finger nails and adds her special masala – spice mixture – to my taste buds. I become mindful of my skin in a new way: its sweatiness, saltiness, clothes clinging, dust between my toes in my sandals. I began to understand for the first time the gospel story about washing feet”.

Saffron and Silk opens with a wedding between two unlikely lovers: a handsome thirty-something Indian-born development worker and a thirty-something Catholic academic from Sydney. The bride has left the predictability of her life in Australia to marry and live in the South Indian city of Chennai. Readers enter into the bride’s new family and their Kerala origins and into some of the rich culture of Tamil legends and history. She shares her struggles and frustrations as a ‘foreign wife’ and her insights into both the domestic minutiae of everyday life and the macro challenges of poverty.

Saffron and Silk is available through any good bookstore or directly from the author,
A. Benjamin, PO Box 33, Toongabbie NSW 2146,
or email
Price: AUD$25 plus $5 postage.
234 x 153 mm 240 pp paperback. ISBN 9781 86355 157 1
Amazon listing:

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