Bon Bibi & Shah Jongoli, Sundarbans, 2000
Bon Bibi & Shah Jongoli, Sundarbans, 2000


Dear Amitav, 

I have no idea if you will get this message or if I will get a reply-but as they say-those who dare….
My name is Yasmine Thebault, I was born in 1952 in Dar-es-salaam, in  Tanzania.
My parents came from the Gujarat, but we Ismaili originate from the middle east. I went to school in London in 1967, met my husband at Imperial College in the summer of 1973, he is from French parentage, born in Jersey.
We fell in love, and got married despite all the opposition from my family.
Yesterday I finished reading The Hungry Tide and I felt so moved by it I could hardly breathe-something touched my soul. I retired in August from my post as Early Years Adviser to the Minister for Education, this has been my passion and my life’s work for 27 years-I have been feeling a huge sense of loss and Identity-so who am I -where do I belong? Is this it?
Piya spoke to me-I was in her soul, and Fokir-well he is me too-I have felt spiritually lifted since I read about the universality of these big questions.
I just wanted to thank you Amitav-as my mother would say Shuker.
Best Wishes, Yasmine.
Thank you so much Yasmine – it is wonderful to know of your response to the book.
Yours is a very interesting story – would you mind if I posted your letter on my website (
Thanks again and all best
 Dear Amitav,

I am delighted that you have taken the trouble to reply-I would be happy for you to post my letter on your blog.
 You say that mine is an interesting story and I feel it is. I started writing a photographic journal to celebrate my 60th birthday….

Reading The hungry Tide has motivated me to write and lifted my spirit, it is when we see the raw self and are not afraid to look away that we see our essence-my work with children has made me realise how very philosophical they are-if they are given a voice,but now we live in a world where e utility is all.
I will leave you with what a young teacher told me,
She said Yasmine, my headteacher asked me to ensure that all the children in the nursery class had a written target to achieve by the end of half-term. I sat with each child in turn after I had explained about targets for example, they could say my target is to learn five letter sound etc. So a very thoughtful little girl sat on my lap and she said-Miss, my target is to be a fairy in the water tray-she said it with such simplicity and honesty-for the little child there really were fairies and she wanted to be one-she also knew she wanted to be a fairy in the water tray.
Without imagination, our world would never have produced authors like you-so keep going Amitav-do it for the little girl who wants to be a fairy.

Kind regards, Yasmine,.



Sundarbans, 2000
Sundarbans, 2000

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