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

By S. Mitra Kalita | Go to book overview

3
A Gold-Paved
Entry

The royal treatment started with Sankumani Sarma's first visit to the United States. It was August 1995, and he and five others were on a business trip to Grand Rapids, Michigan, visiting the headquarters of Steelcase, Inc., a furniture manufacturer, to observe its process of making office chairs. Steelcase gave each a daily coupon to dine in the cafeteria. There was no amount listed, no limitations on their intake. Instead, the visitors'tickets were stamped with the words “‘Til you're satisfied.”

Sanku and his friends took the words to heart. They made repeated trips to the counter, filled up cups of coffee, sampled juices from apple to orange, tried mashed potatoes for the first time. Calculatingly, they tried to eat three meals in that one sitting. Their own employer, a major Indian furniture manufacturer, had given each a $45 daily allowance for meals and expenses. Rather than spend the money—at the time,$45 was more than a thousand rupees, more than a week's salary—Sanku and his room-

-65-

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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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