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From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
Mira Kamdar's memoir is a personal history of her ancestors' journey from rural India to her father's success as an American, and of her own mission to unearth and nurture her Indian heritage. She follows the history of the Indian diaspora-and the trail of her own family from their feudal village in India to Rangoon at the start of the twentieth century. When thrust out of Burma and stripped of their business and belongings by a new dictatorship in the 60s, they fled to bustling Bombay, where Kamdar's father got his first taste of America-in the movies.
"So it was that my father arrived in Cambridge, Massachusetts with a suitcase full of clothes stitched…to the exact specifications of a Hollywood movie wardrobe: dinner jackets with white satin lapels, tweed suits. The rest of the students were wearing …jeans, plaid flannel shirts, argyle socks and saddle shoes. Too late, my father learned that Hollywood's America and the America of Cambridge…were two very different countries."
Educated in the U.S., Kamdar's father was one of the first Indian engineers to work for American companies in the "brain drain" from India. Married to an attractive Norwegian and the father of two girls, he left more than a country behind him. His mother, Motiba, would never emigrate. She continued to live in India until her death, bearing the marks of an earlier era-tattoos on her hands and face. Kamdar's story brought to light is not only fascinating reading, it's the cultural history of a people who have lost their land and their way of life, like so many others.