Barbara Carmichael tells an incredible story of friendship between two unlikely people in her memoir I’ve Come to say Goodbye.

A 50-something year old artist and a 32-year-old Indian spice merchant named Tarun cross paths in Udaipur, in western India.

Over a 10-year period the author traveled back and forth to India spending time with Tarun, slowly becoming part of his family as he became like a brother. After overcoming initial anxiety, she is soon travelling on the back of Tarun’s motorbike in a land where it would appear that rules are made to be broken.

Her safe “beige” surrounds of Sydney’s North Shore are suddenly replaced by an explosion of colour and a journey of discovery.

With each trip come new experiences and an understanding between them of each other’s way of life. Through his eyes, as he showed her his beloved nation, she saw and fell in love with India.

Time after time she returns to India and continues her adventures. She takes a holiday with Tarun, his wife and their son. Little does she know that this will be her last visit with her brother.

When she receives news of Tarun’s sudden death a few months later, she is devastated. She cannot believe. She must go back to Udaipur. It’s the only way she can say goodbye.

Barbara’s understanding of India comes from her 15 trips over the last decade and her ability to tell a story in a way that she hopes will inspire her readers to adventure. 

I’ve Come to Say Goodbye tells not only of her improbable friendship in the lake city of Udaipur but the beginning of her incredible journey of self-discovery and a love of India. Over time, Udaipur became like her second home, and Tarun and his family, a part of her family.

Written in a warm, conversational style as if the author is sharing a cup of chai tea with the reader, Barbara’s stories are based the diaries of her travels that include sketches and photographs.

Babara is foremost an artist, and hopes to evoke the same images with her words, as she would with her brush. This is evident in her writing, as she captures the colour, chaos and light of India, creating an image in the mind of the reader.

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