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

By S. Mitra Kalita | Go to book overview

Prologue:
A New Year

under a canopy tent, thousands step and twirl and skip in sync, silks flailing, skirts swishing, jeans scraping. Bare, pedicured, bejeweled feet alongside Nikes and Timberlands hit the carpet for just a moment before the next step takes over, picking up speed with each beat of the drums and the melodious sounds and high pitches of home. Here, in suburban New Jersey, the 7-Eleven cashier and Amoco gas station attendant become dancing kings with whom bankers and computer programmers struggle to keep pace.

It is the night of October 7,2000, one of the nights of Navratri, a Hindu festival commemorating good's conquest of evil. The tent's canvas walls encompass a heated area three times the size of a football field but can't keep the crowds within from shivering or blowing clouds as they breathe and speak. The teenagers with their North Face puffy jackets keep them on as they dance, brown faces eventually dripping with sweat, arms pumping out of the thick material of their outerwear. To stay

-15-

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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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