Indialy is a fun, quick-paced story about a Thai girl living in India and the cultural shocks offered to her from the first day in Bangalore. It is a series of her stories, from walking in an Indian mall to attending class, trying to find an auto-rickshaw, to stories of her landlady. The author remembers the struggle to find her way into a foreign land. Being a student is difficult, and what is more difficult is being one in a different country where very few people understand you.
The stories are light-hearted but authentic and express the shock that a Thai woman might feel by living in India. The author talks about her experiences as she navigates through India, where she decided to study after being impressed by an American Sitcom “Outsourced,” which takes place in India.
Indialy started in 2015 as Khim’s Facebook posts, and then it changed to a Facebook page after many of the author’s friends said others would want to hear her stories. It was all in Thai, and that’s when author and publisher James (Chidahp) came and asked her to write a book. James believes that Khim had a superpower; this super storytelling ability drew James to push Khim to write Indialy. Talking to the author, it’s very evident that she has many stories and is a natural storyteller.
The book is written in a simple style with many Thai words at the end of each story (perfect for Thai learners like me). The author tells the stories with honesty and doesn’t skip harsh details like someone suddenly holding her hand in a market and then creeping away or when an older woman just pinches her arm to know if she is real or not. Through the stories, Khim tells of her life in India, the friends she makes, the new life she experiences, and at the same time, show the kindness that she has received along with bumps on the road.
Khim grew up in Chiang Mai. Before she came to India, she had a different view and was scared of the country. But when her plane landed there, she felt it was more or less the same as Thailand except with Indian faces, of course. Khim says that she likes Indian people who love having fun.
When asked about her favoruite Thai food, Khim answered, “I really love my Thai mama noodles” and the second time she went back to India after her holidays, she brought a lot of them to India. Khim says, “There is no soup in Indian noodles!” It’s easy to understand her love for the soupy noodles and the shock she had when faced with the fact that the beloved Indian Maggi Noodles are usually without soup.
The book cover was what got me hooked with the pale green and Khim dancing in Indian style. The artwork is too good to ignore. The start of each chapter is with a picture of Khim or her friends and at the end of each chapter is the little dictionary for Thai learners. At the end of the book, there are many pictures of characters that Khim has met.
I recommend this book to anyone who has travelled to India, lives there, or hopes to. Also, to someone who is in for a light page-turning read; the book being only 254 pages long. Indialy is available in Thai and English. The Thai Language one is priced at 285 baht English version price is 520 baht. Indialy is available on Chidahp’s page and the Google Play Store (English).