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

By S. Mitra Kalita | Go to book overview
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2
The Patels
Journey

Harish Patel's eyes fixed on the door exiting customs at John F. Kennedy International Airport. For almost two years, the forty-three-year-old had started his day at 8:00 A.M. as a factory worker and ended it at midnight as a security guard to earn and save enough money for his wife and two daughters to join him. Their arrival would make the family whole again, Harish thought. And what a day they had picked to begin life in America. It was July 3,1990. His daughters would surely find the next day's fireworks display near Harish's apartment in Edison reminiscent of those put on for their new year of Diwali.

Harish looked up when he heard the automatic doors open. Indians, some clad in saris, others in jeans and T-shirts, started to exit. Finally, Harish caught sight of his wife, Kapila, pushing a cart of suitcases, hand luggage, and shopping bags. She was wearing a salwar kameez. Behind her came the girls, Zankhana and Kajal, ages fifteen and eight.

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