Suburban Sahibs: Three Immigrant Families and Their Passage from India to America

By S. Mitra Kalita | Go to book overview

Introduction

My earliest childhood memory is of an immigrant navigating suburbia—literally. She was my mother, Nirmala Kalita. In 1978, my parents bought their first home in Massapequa, a working-class town on Long Island;the down payment was made with savings from her night shift at Burger King. My mother was left with no choice but to learn to drive. As she nervously steered our newly purchased yet secondhand orange Vega, I sat in the back, my two-year-old frame strapped into a car seat.

So my confession begins: I am a product of the very subject I write about on the pages that follow. My father emigrated from India to New York City in 1971, sent for my mother and elder brother the following year, and began to climb a corporate ladder from the bottom: a temp job at Citibank. Their move into a $40,000 split-level home on Long Island thrust my brother and me into a school system where we were the only nonwhites, as far as we could tell. We endured little blatant racism but plenty of

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Suburban Sahibs: Three Immigrant Families and Their Passage from India to America
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • Suburban Sahibs *
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction 1
  • Prologue: A New Year 15
  • 1 - Deported from Home 32
  • 2 - The Patels Journey 47
  • 3 - A Gold-Paved Entry 65
  • 4 - Exercising Rights 86
  • 5 - Wanting More 92
  • 6 - Shaky Ground 98
  • 7 - Destructive Times 104
  • 8 - Standing Room Only 107
  • 9 - Downturns 122
  • 10 - Under a Mango Tree 128
  • 11 - Meeting Elephants 138
  • 12 - Farewells 147
  • 13 - The Festival Family 151
  • 14 - Classified 155
  • 15 - The Victor 158
  • Epilogue 162
  • Notes 165
  • Selected Bibliography 171
  • About the Author 172
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