Calling upon two cultures, Vandana Khanna’s Train to Agra meditates on the effects of displacement and expatriation on the construction of a young Indian American woman’s identity. The physical journeys undertaken by the speaker reflect her inner journey from immigrant child to Indian American woman, struggling to find her place between India and America, Krishna and Jesus, samosas and hamburgers. The speaker constantly tries to recapture visions, smells, and sounds of her childhood and her travels, but cannot do so without imagination. Her memory fails her, so through metaphor she invents her past as it should have been. Traveling through her reflections on childhood, fate, faith, death, and belonging, she comes to accept her reality as a construct of lived memories and wished-for fantasies.
About the Author
Vandana Khanna was born in New Delhi, India, and has lived most of her life in the United States. She attended the University of Virginia and received her M.F.A. from Indiana University in Bloomington, where she was a recipient of the Yellen Fellowship in poetry. Her poems have appeared in Callaloo, Crazyhorse, Hayden's Ferry Review, and the Crab Orchard Review, among others. She lives in Los Angeles, California.