Book Preview: "The Evolution of An Identity"
Preserve native culture or assimilate into America's melting pot? Indian immigrants respond to this age old dilemma.
From the time that I was able to comprehend the meaning of the word "immigrant," sometime in second or third grade, I have thought of myself as a first-generation immigrant. I was born in India, and although I was only one year old when my family and I emigrated, I still am, in fact, a first-generation immigrant. My parents were the first of their immediate families to leave India for the United States; with no one supporting us, my parents and I had moved halfway around the world, in search of a better education for all of us. We were alone in our journey.
I did not learn of my other relations in the United States for many years. I made the discovery after a trip to India to visit my parents' families. I had so many cousins whom I had never met, or even talked to on the phone, that I decided to make a family tree so I could remember them. I began collecting information from various relatives, writing names and questionable dates in my little blue notebook. My questions forced many family members to recall the names of dead relatives, but they also brought back wonderful memories for some. My parents and I spent many hours sitting on a cot learning about relatives whom we had never known, and my parents often interrupted the narratives to ask questions of their own.