Growing up as Indian Americans in the States, we hear from our parents about how close families in India are... like the Corleno family in the Godfather (except we don't make people "sleep with the fishes"). We are certainly close with our immediate family and we are somewhat close with our cousins and aunts/uncles that have also settled in the US, but America is a big country and seeing each other periodically is very different than growing up together.
I've been fortunate to have visted India seven previous times, and each time my bro and I were treated as rock stars. Couldn't ask for better aunts, uncles, and cousins. And although we don't have the type of relationship as if we had grown up together, you can see the respect and love runs deep as they talk about how "Naga uncle or Mali did this for me back in..." So on this trip, with my parents, I wanted to see where my father's lineage started (Channapatna) and see my grandparents' houses, which I somewhat remembered from my childhood.
And this didn't happen to just me in Bangalore. In Gujarat, we visited countless of Mamta's family, extended family, old friends of her parents, etc. And that same sentiment came out over and over. In Mamta's case, it was even stronger since she hadn't been to India in 25 years. So strong that it made her cousins and aunties instantly cry at seeing her. Spending those days visiting gaams where her parents grew up, sharing meals with family, and catching up on the last 20+ years was priceless to Mamta.
And so this was the main point of our India visit: discovering our roots and learning about your significant others roots. Because we weren't just born in the US; there is a long fascinating story of how we got here. And there is something to be said about never forgetting where you came from.
And I'm out.
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