November 27, 2014

r2idreams -- Return to India, a book for and by NRIs.

After moving to the bay area, I haven't thought much about moving back to India. I think I exhausted my thoughts and churning at least for a little while by putting them in print. My mom is here for a few months. It could be her constant chatter about small details of her Indian life and adjustments to her American life that has made me forget my own ruminations about an old life in India.

But, today I read a post about what an Indian blogger who wrote about her take on Thanksgiving and how immigrants have adopted the celebration and given it their own flavor. The post made me think of how we had celebrated Thanksgiving this year: we had combined my little one's birthday and our house warming ceremony with a Thanksgiving meal. After the house warming puja and hymns, we cut her birthday cake and then, we went around the table saying thanks and gave the celebration our own unique definition.

As Indian immigrants in the US, I think our journeys follow similar paths. We are FOBs initially (fresh off the boat) and wide-eyed students staring at the strangeness and grandeur of this country. We transition to being new hires in Tech companies (usually) learning the ropes of working in the US and the mechanics of a 9-5 work-life in the US. We marry, buy a house, find a partner and settle down with kids here. And then begin the arduous task of teaching them "Indian culture", insisting on arcane bits of Indian folk takes and legends, snippets from the Ramayana and Mahabharatha that we suddenly deign necessary knowledge for our Indian-American kids. And around then, we start wondering about India, our aging parents back in India and a little voice chimes in,

"What if we returned back to India?"

r2idreams, my book, is about that voice. It is a conversation with that voice, a deep diving on the topic of the immigrant's obsession with his native land. This book is a story of three Indian immigrants in the US, our little victories and trials in this country and our paths to finding our homes and our selves, whether that is in the US or in India. We attack the subject from various angles, compare and contrast our lives here and back in India and try our best to attack this emotional subject with as much logic as we can muster. In the end it is a decision of the heart.

Join the conversation at

© Ramya Sethuraman, All Rights Reserved.