# WeTwo and why we need it.
I felt an urge to write a novel that could appeal to the children of marriages which, like mine and Atam’s cross boundaries. I’d like to think it was as strong as the urge of PK to cycle from India to Sweden in the video below. It was a struggle but I wrote it. Sculpting the Elephant is about an Oxford artist called Harry and an Indian historian called Ramma. They have to confront boundaries of nationality, culture, religion, colour and class. I took a complimentary copy to Caroline Henney in Oxford’s Antiques on High because she inspired a character in the book. Another trader called Amanda Fore flipped through it and read the dedication to anyone with a partner from a different country, religion, colour. Amanda reacted emotionally and said, ‘Glenn, my late husband, was African/American.’ And the stories poured out of her. A customer overheard and joined us. She said, ‘My husband is from Brazil and he has American Indian ancestors.’
It was as if my novel had given permission and a safe space to talk about their experiences. I’d love to hear stories of couples crossing artificial but often formidable barriers. I hate stereotypes. The aim of my books and my lived experience is to get people to see each other as individuals – crossing invisible barriers. My Indian born husband Atam Vetta’s PhD was in quantitative genetics. I learned from him that each of us is unique. Sadly the world is not organised to cope with that scientific truth. Could We Two help change that ? Have you a story you can add? I’ll begin with mine and Amanda’s.
We Two – Atam and Sylvia Vetta
Atam and I met in the sixties on the steps of the first Gurdwara in the UK. He is not Sikh – he is an atheist Hindu but the Sikhs are a hospitable people. Atam was born near Lahore so at Partition his family became refugees. He made it to the UK via teaching Maths in Ethiopia. When we met he was working to save money to do a PhD . I was teaching English as a second language to immigrant children. He drove up on a Vespa. In the sixties that was cool.
You can listen and watch the full story on the video on the home page.
Eighteen year old Amanda was living in Newberry with her parents. In 1977 with a group of friends, she hitch-hiked to Upper Heyford for a dance on the American air base. She danced all night with handsome Senior Airman Glenn Fore. When he paid for a taxi home, she knew she had met a nice guy. Their relationship blossomed but they knew that the Southern States of America was not a safe place for a white woman in love with an African /American man. They married and settled in the UK Sadly Glenn died six years ago after 37 happy years together but Amanda says he will always be the only man in her life.
We Two Katie and Kes Isbester: Crossing Continents
Katie Isbester of Claret Press is Canadian and her husband is Dutch. Not so different? Crossing national boundaries was not so simple, even for them. Katie summed up their story.
‘We had a commuter courtship and a commuter marriage – which I was quite happy with. But once I became pregnant, that no longer worked. So it became a question of where to live. Pregnant with my first, we toured the great cities of the world before returning home to give birth. Pregnant with my second and with a highly active toddler in tow, we toured again looking for a place to call home. With a new born in our arms, we decided and moved. Our third child was born at Guy’s Hospital, London Bridge eighteen years ago.’
We #Two Crossing Barriers of Caste: PK and Charlotte
This story is not a fairy story. After 40 years of marriage, Dr PK Mahanandia serves as the Odiya Cultural Ambassador of India to Sweden where he lives with his wife Charlotte and their 2 children . His village, that once shunned him as an untouchable, now gives a thundering welcome every time he makes a visit.
There is a long article from National Geographic and various other sources about him and Charlotte .