Nargis Dhanji Bhatia
'Who knew the eyes of a young girl from the East coast of Africa would see the far corners of the world?
Indian-African Nargis Gercke was born in the Kenyan town of Mombasa before her family moved to Dar es Salaam (“the haven of peace) in neighbouring Tanganyika where she enjoyed a childhood so idyllic it felt like a hazy summer day.
In Life Actually, Nargis tells her story of growing up in a vibrant multicultural family, being shipped off to boarding school in England and finally spreading her wings across the globe. As one of the first women in Dar es Salaam to marry a Caucasian, she and her Swiss husband, Siggi, leave the nest in 1970 and immerse themselves in a swath of cultures from Israel and Spain to China and Canada. The world is a pearl that Nargis has discovered time and time again. This isn't a life half-lived, this is life... actually."
Nargis' inspiration to write her first book stems from her multinational and diverse family. Her desire is that this memoir gives her grandchildren the opportunity to share and preserve the family legacy, and that the power of her story brings her memories to life. Nargis now lives with Siggi in Montreal, Quebec, and continues to enjoy her passion as a travel consultant.
"Imagine my complete surprise and joy at reading the magnificently described chronicles of one of my own family member’s life and the sheer number of miles traveled and rich experiences gained. I was also born in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, so I found myself intensely engaged in the wonderful cultural and historical accounts that filled the gaps of my own lack of knowledge about familial bonds and relationships so dear. More importantly, Life Actually is a smartly written book that details the confluence of cultural and generational experiences, articulated within the context of historical events, which directly influenced a cohort of women, not just from one family. Now, this 20th century travelogue has the potential of influencing the next generation of people who are ready to be inspired by the travels of a very self-aware and intelligent woman, who detailed a richly led life, full of purpose and direction. Finally, one cannot escape the message of the author’s travelogue, that crossing cultural boundaries instills wisdom and a keen sense of understanding that few people actually achieve." Semeen - School Principal