The Other Side of Light by Mishi Saran

“It was an ordinary dawn on an unremarkable day. Lying in bed, I could see a grassy semi-circle of garden through the windows. For a crazed moment, the scene appeared soaked in shades of yellow. Perhaps that’s why, bewildered, I sat up, rubbed final ounces of sleep from my eyes and swung my legs over the bed. Then I walked outside to look for Kabir.”

The gift of an old camera transforms Asha’s life. Parents and home; best friends Nishita, Meethi, Melana; the intriguing Kabir – she leaves them all to spend a year in a Swiss mountain village, learning to see the world through a lens.

There is a price to pay. Back home in Delhi, life has moved on; her three friends have wandered in new directions, her father is ill, and Kabir has found new purpose in Assam.

In the background, a country too changes shape; the Emergency locks India into strife, the riots of 1984 unleash a dormant savagery. Bombay becomes the target of terrorists. Amidst the chaos, Asha must find the threads of a new beginning that will once again take her away from the land she loves.

Mishi Saran was born in India and spent the first ten years of her life in New Delhi. Since then, she has lived in Switzerland, Indonesia, the United States, China, Hong Kong and Korea. She moved to Shanghai in 2006. She is the author of the travel book-cum-memoir Chasing the Monk’s Shadow: A Journey in the Footsteps of Xuanzang.(Penguin, 2005). To research the book, she spent a year tracing the footsteps of Xuanzang, a 7th Century Chinese Buddhist monk who travelled along the Silk Road from China to India, passing through Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Her first novel, The Other Side of Light is published by HarperCollins India (June 2012). She is currently working on her third book, also a novel, set in Shanghai in the 1930s.

Ms. Saran writes in English and is also fluent in Mandarin, French and Hindi. Following an undergraduate degree in Chinese Studies from Wellesley College (USA), she worked in Hong Kong as a news reporter and as a freelance writer. Her articles have appeared in a variety of international publications including the Financial Times, theInternational Herald Tribune, the South China Morning Post and the Asian Wall Street Journal. Her short stories have won awards and been broadcast on the BBC.