Diehard Football Fan

Superbowl-bound Seattle is in Heaven, but my husband is in India. He flew out of Seattle, en route to Delhi, on the eve of the history-making game that determined his team would be going to Detroit. Of course, once he knew that his home team had made it into the...

The Confinement of Taboos

The summer of my eldest daughter’s birth in Knoxville, Tenn., was my time of “confinement,” an antiquated Victorian term, but one that aptly described my condition. To welcome her into the world, my parents, in-laws, siblings, sundry relatives, and my best friend...

A Window Opens Doors

My daughter reaches for a scalpel in an Oakland hospital because my grandmother Ammu refused to shave her scalp. It was mandatory in South India in the 1920s for a Brahmin widow to be subjected to tonsure as a lifelong act of renunciation and mourning. A shaved scalp...

Affidavit of Support

“Spent all day getting your ducks in a row, Dad?” Raghavan’s son Hari teased when he called from Seattle, knowing his father would be checking and rechecking the paperwork for the next day’s appointment—the long-awaited immigration visa interview at the U.S....

Muddy Waters

In India women are bound together by ties to water. Each mother passes on to her daughter the patience to queue by the communal well, the skill to walk with towers of water vessels balanced on her head, the adroitness to carry brimming buckets without spillage, and...