FAMILY & HOME
Grazia|March 2021
This new book grapples with racism, the burden of heritage, and what it means to be vulnerable
ARMAN KHAN

THE ASIAN VOICE

Shukla harbours no lofty ambitions for Brown Baby. He does not, for a moment, believe the book can change and undo years of systemic racism and social conditioning. The book, however, implores us to confront our own relationship with colour, the different hierarchies within the brown world, and everything in between.

Nikesh Shukla is a British author with Gujarati ancestry. And vulnerability, as a trait, does not come naturally to South Asians. Particularly Indian parents. While acknowledging this fact, Shukla was clear in his mind with the kind of book Brown Baby (published by Pan Macmillan India) was going to be. “It was important for me to be vulnerable. After all, I was addressing the book to my daughters. And if I’m going to have an honest conversation with my daughters about the things that keep me up at night, then I must be transparent with them,” he says.

Indian families are uniquely dysfunctional. And Shukla smiles when we put it that way to him. He charts his own relationship with his late mother throughout the book, peppered with anecdotes – some endear you and others stun you with the force of their honesty. “I grew up with parents who were seen to be infallible, perfect. Parents whose decisions you can’t question.”

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