Jackals' Wedding

A Memoir of a Childhood in British India

by Dawn Kawahara



Book Details

Language : English
Publication Date : 1/21/2003

Format : E-Book
Dimensions : E-Book
Page Count : 576
ISBN : 9781403343024
Format : Softcover
Dimensions : 6x9
Page Count : 576
ISBN : 9781403343031

About the Book

Jackals’ Wedding, my story within a family story set in India, the land of my birth, tells of a past of puzzling opposites. "Tigers, and oil, and tea are all I remember," I once blithely answered an Indian professor who’d taken me for a whirl. When he stopped dead, held me at arm’s length and searched my eyes, I had to think twice about the superficial untruth I’d blurted.

There were many parts of my early life I’d locked away in the dark, just like my mother, and my grandmother before her. The good things that surfaced were idealized, airbrushed into scenes worthy of Kipling, or The Little Princess. I knew the romantic version, but what was the truth? What had really happened during those years in India? How had my mother and father became ensnared in a storm and sun relationship, a "jackals’ wedding," with my sister and me dragged along unwittingly? How had the exigencies of wartime prevented them from dealing with their own blow-ups? What was the big taboo within our family? Why so many secrets locked away, as my mother’s heart had seemed locked to me?

I was hungry to know the truth, so I began to dig down to the beginning through my first memories that are entwined with the unrest of the times. With a stroke of serendipity, my husband convinced me I must return to India, the land of my birth, and my childhood home in Dehra Dun. During this trip together, time spans were erased. People stepped forward to help. Images and voices and feelings came flooding back, and I was ready to examine them as I’d examined the belongings that had traveled half the world in battered leather cases.

Brought to light, the joys of my childhood flashed vivid and fragile as glass bangles. Fears that had lurked large as nightmare lions and scary as snakes dissolved like thunderheads shrinking and fading into a quiet sky. In Jackals’ Wedding, the stories of the child I was and the woman I’ve become are braided with my mother’s story and the stories she told. Many times during the writing, it seemed she was back, whispering in my ear what she wasn’t able to tell, in life.

I am still searching for my father.

About the Author

Dawn Fraser Kawahara is a gypsy by nature, perhaps because of her family’s adventurous streak, the seeds sown in early travels, and because of the interest she continues to develop in people and their cultures. She has lived in India, Burma, Australia, and five states of the United States and traveled in each area. Her most recent travels with her husband took her to Alaska and the Pacific Northwest and to connect with family in Colorado and Ohio. Past travels have taken the Kawaharas to Japan, Peru, Portugal, Spain, Thailand, Cambodia, Belgium, Holland, Greece Italy, Central America, Jordan and Egypt, Croatia, Montenegro, Slovenia and back to Italy, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, the Cook Islands and French Polynesia, and five Hawaiian Islands. A return to Burma and an exploration of south India, the lands that drew her forebears, and England, Scotland, and France, where they originated, are now fulfilled wishes. Jackals’ Wedding is the author’s first book, one of a planned trilogy. Book two ("Tales Under the Tamarind Tree: Burma Sojourn")is in progress. Dawn has also authored Behold Kaua`i, Modern Days ~ Ancient Ways, nominated in two categories for consideration in the Hawai`i Book Publishers Assoc. best-books-of-the year awards. She has won numerous national and international awards for her poetry and writing. You may check out her prize-winning true story, "In the Eye of a Fish", at www.kauaibackstory.com (First Place, Nov. 2012). Dawn founded TropicBird Press, Wailua, Kaua`i, through which she writes, edits and designs books. She is the originator of the annual Garden Island Arts Council Poetry Fest and promotes fine and cultural arts in her community. She and her husband pursue a shared interest in travel to ancient sacred sites. They make their home on the farthest of the main inhabited Hawaiian Islands–Kaua'i-living "with birds and books." The author has led Elderhostel(now Road Scholar) travel groups throughout the South Pacific and teaches course lines of Hawaiian culture subjects on Kaua`i since 1998 for Hawai'i Pacific University.