How to pronounce Thrity Umrigar: thri-tee oomrigar
Thrity Umrigar is the author of three other novelsThe Space Between Us, If Today Be Sweet, and Bombay Timeand the memoir First Darling of the Morning. A journalist for 17 years, she is the winner of the Nieman Fellowship to Harvard University and a 2006 finalist for the PEN/Beyond Margins Award. An associate professor of English at Case Western Reserve University, Umrigar lives in Cleveland.
This biography was last updated on 01/17/2014.
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Thrity Umrigar discusses her life and her books, Bombay Time and The Space Between Us, and the reality of servitude in India.
Tell us a little bit about your growing up years.
Well, I was born in Bombay and lived there until I was 21, when I came to the U.S. I was raised in a joint family, which meant I grew up around very loving aunts and uncles. And since I was an only child, it helped to have all those extra adults in my life, for love and guidance. I've always had many sets of parents and even today, have a knack for "adopting" parents.
What do you remember most about growing up in Bombay?
I have two overriding childhood memories or impressions: One, was always being excruciating aware of the poverty around me. Now, as a middle-class kid, you're not supposed to be that aware of--or certainly not supposed to be tortured by--the poverty around you. It's a defense mechanism of sorts, to be able to ignore it. For whatever reason, I was never able to ignore it and to some extent, it really affected my childhood, made me a hypersensitive child.
Two, I always wrote. Writing was my way to make sense of the world outside and inside my home. Despite the recollections of the adults in ...
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