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My strands of American Childhood

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I was born and brought up in central Calcutta, schooled in central Calcutta, but then grew up to become the core Bengali who had an American childhood! W e Bengalis know the characteristics etched in someone from central Calcutta. Her strings are pulled from both ends. She owns the traits of the more settled in old North Calcutta while desirous for the contemporary South Kolkata (Eastern Kolkata wasn't so prominent then.) We still lived in our hundred-year-old rented homes with 10-inch deep walls and cut glass floors. But, we went to the top schools in the city. We religiously fed the street dogs, cats, and cows but reluctantly swapped our indoor plants for lack of water. Though I have been a Central Calcuttan all my childhood, I was never pulled by either of these strings. I held on to an American fiber that tugged me on and off! My mom's best neighborhood pal was an American lady! Well, I know you could expect someone of British descent at that location and era

Unfamiliar Friends

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There are many friends around us. We are unfamiliar with them. Let’s unravel them to appreciate their importance. A s I was browsing through the chapters of my childhood , one of them stood out. "Friends." Perhaps due to its peculiarity and distinctiveness. Coincidence, if you may call it, around the very same time, the celebrations of 'Friendship Day' were going on in full swing. My daughter was coming home every day, almost for a week, with 10-15 friendship bands and rings! Happy to have so many friends and hell-bent on making more. Good for her, I thought. My chapter on friendship is, I must admit, a little different. Of course, it includes my friends from school, neighbourhood, college, tuition, university and so on and so forth. But it reaches beyond that. It is inclusive and expansive in its own way. It nourishes and nurtures itself out of every life experience that it encounters. And before I sound poetic and redundant, I’ll try to explain what I inten