Tap ... tap ... tap ... I looked up to see a blurry figure of my mother tapping a few fingers on my shoulder. "Sorry to wake you up, Rishi, but me and Daddy have something important to tell you." She was not smiling. I got up, now fully awake, wondering what was going on. With my father standing next to her, my mother crossed her arms and, in a tone that I knew could not be argued with, stated, "We have decided to move to India permanently."
I was awestruck. My family is Indian, but I had never so much as considered living anywhere but Peach Tree Court, a street that had the brightest green maple trees and fields of radiant yellow and orange marigolds. India was nothing more than an old family story to me, not a place to live. Over the next couple of weeks, I ruminated on what life would be like in India. My brother, who already attended an Indian boarding school, told me in scratchy long-distance telephone conversations how great life was in India at his boarding school.
"We have the best futbol (soccer) field in all of India," he said. "It has an electronic scoring board, and the surface is fluorescent blue astroturf." This was an enormous motivation factor, due to the fact that soccer is my favorite sport. "And the food is delectable," he went on, "They serve chicken curry with juicy vegetables four out of the seven days of the week." I ate chicken curry every chance I got, so this, added to the soccer field, made the school sound fantastic.
"The weather is remarkable. The temperature year-round is seventy-five to eighty degrees," he continued with emphasis, "just like California, Rishi." My brother knew that I loved California. He also told me that I would get to visit our parents two times a week, which is very generous compared to other Indian boarding schools.
My brother's long-distance stories convinced me. From what I had heard, India...