My mother came to Atlanta, Georgia on June 4, 1994. She was looking for a better life for her children, my brother and I. Her two brothers, her eldest and youngest, were already settled in the US. At 32, my mother in a red silk sari boarded her flight in Calcutta. Other Indian students helped her get to her gates during her layovers in Amsterdam and New York. My brother, at three and a half years old at the time, sat on her lap the entire flight. My eldest uncle had just bought some farmland in South Georgia, so he met my mother in Atlanta, and drove four hours to Cairo, Georgia. My youngest uncle also met us at the airport with Kit-Kats which my brother devoured, the beginning of a family joke about my brother’s love affair with Kit-Kats of all flavors. Her first meal in the US was cheese pizza from Pizza Hut and then donuts. No one liked it.
My mom thought the folks in the South were friendly and welcoming. The school administrators helped my brother and I settle into the local elementary school. She was later invited by a local church to talk about India. She talked about the weather, the Indian food and the bindi. Someone asked her why Indian wear sandals, my mother remembers explaining that because of the hot weather, Indians never full shoes.
* The contributor of this story has asked that their name be withheld.