Chitra Ramaswamy on memory, mothering & the "mid-life gift" of responsibility

My guest this week is the award-winning journalist Chitra Ramaswamy. And, lucky me, Chitra lives in Edinburgh so - before I go any further - let me revel in the joy that was recording this episode IRL! With an actual RL person! I know…

Anyway, back to Chitra. Her first book, Expecting: the inner life of pregnancy was garlanded with praise and won the Saltire First Book award. Her new memoir-come-social-history, Homelands, is the moving story of a most unlikely friendship - between Chitra, who was born in London in the 1970s to Indian immigrant parents, and Henry Wuga, a 98 year old jewish refugee who fled Nazi Germany in 1939. 

Sitting in Chitra’s kitchen (with her rescue dog, Daphne, who you will hear plenty of snoring in the background!) we discussed the importance of finding commonalities, learning to talk about shame, living with a mother-shaped hole and what her friendship with Henry taught her about a talent for happiness. We also talked about the midlife “gift” of responsibility, the tyranny of the life list, and why she hopes she’ll age eccentrically.

You can buy all the books mentioned in this podcast at, including Homelands by Chitra Ramaswamy and the book that inspired this podcast, The Shift: how I lost and found myself after 40 - and you can too, by me!

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The Shift (on life after 40) with Sam Baker is created and hosted by Sam Baker and edited by Emily Sandford. If you enjoyed this podcast, please rate/review/follow as it really does help other people find us. And let me know what you think on twitter @sambaker or instagram @theothersambaker.

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