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I read the 3 chapters on display. It is written in good flowing English with some usage of Indian words that a non-Indian might not be familiar with. Others might agree that it adds to the ambience. The author has raised issues of identity and differences between NRI (expatriate Indians)and Indians in India. To my mind, her examples, written with humor, understanding gives an impression that there is really something that we can call Indian. But, is there such an animal? Growing up in Bengal, from a certain type of family, I grew up with Indian classical music, both Eastern and Western, Rabindrasangeet, and also Pink Floyd, Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan and a lot of rock. Bollywood was considered low class and derided. This is not the same as someone growing up in suburban Bombay in the 70s. Today, Bollywood dominates Indian copycat culture and media. Bad English in the English visual media goes by the name 'Indian English'. Today, I am happy to go to music concerts with the music that I grew up with, in North America, as 'people like us'(PLUS) have grown rarer in India. But, I liked the author's description of growing up in pre liberalization India under leftist/soviet intellectual influence. And, yes, many in the Indian diaspora are 'frozen in the India they had left'. These are the people who set up Indian ghettos wherever they go and generally are closed minded about Indian culture. Their children grow up with Bollywood and Amar Chitra katha. But, there is also a whole group of people with Indian roots, who are comfortable being 'global nomads'- living in multiple places, with children educated in different countries and moving between multiple homes. Yes one has Indian roots, but one moves on and their identity evolves. The more one lives in different cultures, one imbibes the good and questionable traits of those. But, it is difficult for someone who has not been a global nomad to understand one. Ultimately, a parent can only pass on 'values' within a cosmopolitan context and children become their own teachers. Forcing traditions can become counterproductive. Like touching feet was for me. I liked the author's description of parenting styles, the time to let go, being a helicopter mom and the cultural differences between East and West when bringing up children. The book takes a close look at the subtleties of identity and cultural nuances and it is very easy to identify oneself if one has grown up in India. A good and interesting read. Recommended.
Thank you for your detailed reaction to the book Sreerupa. I like your point about certain NRIs being frozen in time. Nicely put! I am not advocating blind emulation of an Indian culture that is constantly evolving. My quarrel is equally with people who go to the other extreme and shut India out from their children's lives completely. Their children grow up with a warped view of India and yet ethnically they are Indian and look Indian so that creates a kind of dissonance. I wanted my children to feel proud of their Indian enthnicity and I think I have succeeded - sort of!