Crossing the Valley, a New Life For a New Couple

Flag of India


Return to Tonia's Home Page   by Tonia Fortner
Return to Migration and Culture Home Page.

From Calcutta

East India


Born in Calcutta India twenty eight years ago.

Daughter, wife, mother, sister. Immigrant.

Bobby Speaks five languages, her native national Hindi, Bengali, Gujrati, Punjabi and English. She had an accent when she first came to the United States, but said watching TV helped with correcting



India has twenty five states, each having their own language and

In the 1890's a British agricultural scientist assigned to India wrote," Nowhere would one find better instances of keeping land scrupulously clean from weeds, of ingenuity in device of water-raising appliances, of knowledge of soils and their capabilities, as well as of the exact time to sow and reap, as one would find in Indian agriculture. It is wonderful too, how much is known of rotation, the system of "mixed crops" and of fallowing...I, at least, have never seen a more perfect picture of cultivation."                                                      from Why Can't People Feed Themselves? by Frances Moore Lappe and Joseph Collins

Hindu is the regions primary Religion. In India, College is free, men and women both go to school and work there. India is a democracy, an open & free country.

Bobby has been living here in the Carefree area of Phoenix, with her husband and son for three years now. Bobby and her husband Rajesh came for Rajesh's work. He is a computer engineer for the Arizona Supreme Court. His employer took care of all the visa applications for him and his wife.

Neither had ever visited here before.

They had no 'bridges'.

"How were these separate worlds related? Colonialism appeared to me to be the link. Colonialism destroyed the cultural patterns of production and exchange by which traditional societies in "underdeveloped" countries previously had met the needs of the people.  Many pre-colonial social structures, while dominated by exploitative elites, had evolved a system of mutual obligations among the classes that helped to ensure at least a minimal diet for all. " 

from "Why Can't People Feed Themselves? by Frances Moore Lappe and Joseph Collins

They believe it is emotionally easier for people their age to immigrant, to leave their families and culture.

Bobby has a Bachelors degree in microbiology that she earned in India. She is majoring in clinical lab sciences, for an additional degree from Arizona State University.

Both Rajesh and Bobby knew

English before coming. English

was taught in their schools in India,

and many of their college classes

were taught in English,

especially Bobby's science classes.

Bobby learned to drive here.

In India driving is to the left.

"It was the British who, in the first half of the nineteenth century, under the imperative of Lord Macaulay, introduced the systematic teachings of English in India in order to produce a class of clerks."               

  from Passport Photos, by Amitava Kumar




Few other Indian people

Food - What kind of food is American food?

Bobby and Rajesh do not eat beef or pork.

Divorce - it is rare in India

Some science classes are harder.

Visiting friends is different here, you just drop in

In India, here you call first and make an appointment.

Nothing strange about here, everyone friendly until after September 11. A little different now.

Grocery shop at the Ethnic Indian grocery stores.

Harder for family to visit here. Her mom did and stayed for a month, but was bored at first. In India her mom could walk everywhere, not here.

Future Plans

The Das's plan to live here, work and raise their family. Bob will begin an internship as a hospital lab specialist next semester.

They both like the United States and believe there is more opportunity here for everyone.

In another year they plan to apply for U. S. Citizenship as they will have been here 4 years. After 4 years with a green card you are eligible to apply for citizenship. They will be able to have a dual citizenship with the U.S. and India. They do not want to give up their citizenship in India.

Anything else interesting you could tell me I asked?

No, Bobby said at first and we began our study of biochemistry together. After about ten minutes she said, "oh, I thought of something you might find interesting. I had an arranged Marriage."

Bobby's parents met Rajesh's parents through mutual friends. They began to discuss their children. Bobby's parents met Rajesh and his parents. They gave Rajesh a photo of Bobby and brought Bobby back a photo of Rajesh. She agreed to meet him. They met each other once alone before the engagement and two or three times after the engagement, before the wedding. They have been married eight years. They were engaged for six months. The wedding provided by the brides family, and the reception, provided by the grooms family included over 200 family and friends.