Train Friends

Essays; Non-fiction

“Amma left the world, like everyone else, taking nothing with her. What made her special was that she left nothing behind either; no mess, no burden for those left behind. But she did leave me an invaluable inheritance; an affinity for simplicity that goes beyond decluttering; a philosophy for living, not just tidying up.”

If My Mother Met Marie Kondo

This is a collection of fourteen paired essays written by Nandini Patwardhan and Ranjani Rao. Both writers grew up in Mumbai and spent long periods in the United States. The essays explore similar themes, but from very different perspectives.

Topics covered are the emergence of ambition in childhood, becoming mothers in a foreign land, the meaning of home, and how the writers’ values continue to be shaped by their formative experiences.

This is a different kind of immigrant narrative. There is nostalgia, but it is colored with optimism, ambition, and courage. Curious and open-minded readers will find resonance in this anthology. Grab a copy and hop on our train for a uniquely uplifting and insightful journey.

Get your copy here:

Story Artisan Press | Paperback & Ebook | 71 pages | ISBN: 978-981-14-2968-2 | August 19, 2019


Train Friends is a ruminative and eloquent series of essays which subtly weave the challenges of straddling two cultures: Indian and American. In a literary "jugalbandi". Nandini and Ranjani complement each other's views expertly on a variety of topics. Train Friends is like having two friends along with you for this journey called life.


The book is a captivating read taking the reader through the myriad phases of life capturing the simple joys of childhood and struggle immigrants face trying to transition cultures. An absolute page turner, the authors show-case the busy Mumbai hustle and how the local train bonds play a silent role in shaping the future of the city’s populace.

Utsav Patodia

Each story presents a slice of the author’s life which we relish slowly, ruminating and associating it with their emotions and experiences. The essays bring out beautiful aspects of the Indian diaspora, their cultural shifts and identity.

Sirisha Naidu

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"When you leave your home country, there is much that you leave behind but there is also so much that you take with you."
"Not a dancer, nor an artist and certainly not a sportswoman, I was a kid who did well in school and was rewarded for it."
"Home is not the street number or postal code. Home is a place where I can feel safe, be myself and soak in the sense of being a part of what is most important - family."
"By being a witness, a compassionate listener, a genuine well-wisher, a train friend gives you the best gift of all -  unconditional presence."
"Becoming a mother is undoubtedly one of life’s most challenging and rewarding experiences. There is no school for parents and babies, as we know, do not come with instruction manuals."

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