‘These were girls of forever skies and snowclad mountains, yes, but that was long ago. One remembered it. Some of the time.
The other girl had no memory of that place, for she was born after her family had fled their homeland. When the genocide began.
These girls had their own little dreams, dreams of the now. Little girl dreams.’
Shanna and Pema, two girls growing up in a big city, meet when they join the same new school. They come from displaced communities—people who had to flee their land to escape persecution. Shanna is a Kashmiri Pandit, and Pema comes from a nomadic tribe whose people called the high mountains beyond India their home. In both their families, ‘home’ is an idea, a memory. Home is also a place that the girls don’t always understand.
Shanna is dealing with the aftermath of a violent act that has forever changed her life. Pema was born in the city, but all around her are people who cling to the old customs.
As Shanna and Pema become friends, they get to understand their own and each other’s stories. They discover new wells of strength within themselves and start to deal with the sadness and confusion of the adults around them. And when they find that the polluted city air is slowly killing the older people of their communities, they embark on a plan that is as brave as it is audacious. Will the forces of history allow them to succeed?
As searing as it is tender, Nomad’s Land talks about the effects of terrorism and displacement on young minds. And about the healing powers of hope, friendship and reconciliation.
The author: Paro Anand