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I never understood why Nana was so adamant about not coming to America. His son Pankaj could get free first class seats for members of his close family as a result of having worked for Air India for a number of years.

I had come to America, at the age of 23, as a student and after graduation had settled first in New York and then in Northern Virginia. I really wanted Nana to visit us and see part of the world outside India. Every time I visited India I invited Nana to come to America.

“No. I DO NOT want to come to your America.” He would say.

“Why not? Pankaj gets free tickets on Air India. Why not make use of it?”


He would walk away to get his tobacco he was fond of chewing.

“Look Acchu,” he once said to me, addressing me by my nick name. He approached me as he rubbed the tobacco in his left palm with his right thumb. “I don’t think I’ll get used to your western style toilets. I’ll get constipated and get sick.”

Viju, his wife, on the other hand visited us twice and enjoyed it.

Continue reading “Nana”