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Scarecrow

Paper Tigers

The first moment when I saw things the way I’d see them as an adult occurred during a French class in Grade 5. Our teacher, a pot-bellied Frenchman named Guy, was the very definition of a bon vivant. Instead of teaching the ins and outs of verb conjugation, he much preferred to regale us with [...]

iversonic

The Ghosts of Bandal House

I recently learnt that my mother’s ancestral home outside Kolkata, sold off about 15 years ago to pay outstanding debts, is haunted. And not just by anyone, but the ghost of my grandfather, who passed away in the late 80’s. Apparently the sprawling expanse of Bandal House as it’s called, three stories high, winding corridors [...]

Girl Playing Piano

Waking to a House Filled with Music

Living with a family member who has schizophrenia is like sitting atop a mountain high in the clouds; you can see normal people far below, but the prospect of joining them seems impossible. From age 10 onwards I’d witnessed my mother withdraw from the world, put on black clothing, answer to different names, and lend [...]

CubaLibre

Cuba Libre

In the weeks leading up to the vacation, my father, younger brother and I called it by a variety of jovial-sounding names. A Guy’s Getaway. The Majumdar Men take Cuba. I was 25 years old and living in the basement, feverishly working on what I hoped would be a sellable first novel while ducking calls [...]

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WinterRoad

The Palace of Justice

During the winter of 2005, I watched my father battle Quebec’s Public Curator office for control of my mother’s future. It was a low point for us all- the financial and emotional strain, coupled with the challenges of trying to somehow stay connected as a family at the tail end of over a decade of [...]

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dropfocus

The City Block That Encompassed A Childhood

She was an Indian-American growing up on a block in Bayside, Queens that resembled Sesame Street. Only instead of muppets, she had imaginary friends that kept her company while she played in the dark, cavernous basement of her family home. To the left of her house were the Ongs, who gifted her family a box [...]

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The 5 Rules of a Bengali Party

One of the strangest side-effects of growing up and leaving the world of my parents behind is that, after countless bar crawls and mornings feeling like the Cryptkeeper, I find myself missing the rigid frivolity of a Bengali party. There’s something masochistic about this. Few occasions are as deeply rooted in secret rules of engagement (and [...]

dinesh_valke

Memories

When I look back at the pictures my family took when I was a child, I can remember everything about that exact time and what was happening the moment the camera clicked. My favorite one is a picture of my cousin Kenia and I, just sitting on the bus. When you look at it, you [...]

Smays

Guest Post: When Immigrants Write About Regular People

I was born in the former USSR, immigrating to San Francisco with my parents when I was seven. And although I spent the bulk of my growing up years in America, the fact was, having parents who were immigrants, speaking a different language at home, eating food no one had ever heard of (Cow tongue! Baked [...]

MickeyShot2Edited

Surfacing

In September my son Mickey was born. Oval head. Pink sausage link of a torso. The hands of a geriatric in miniature, lined and curled into themselves. The doctor placed him on Erin’s bare chest and gently turned his head to face mine. He opened his eyes, and with a shock I realized that we [...]