The Namesake begins with Ashima cooking in the kitchen when she starts having contractions; Ashima and her husband Ashok take a taxi to the hospital to deliver the baby. Ashok has to leave his wife surrounded by nurses so he could go to work. A nice nurse named Patty brought her lunch and took her on a walk around the hospital to help with the pregnancy. This walk reminded Ashima of the day she and Ashok were introduced by their parents. She remembers slipping her feet into his shoes before she met him and it was a special moment. After that, they were married in a traditional Indian ceremonial wedding. While Ashok is waiting in the waiting room with other dads, he reads the Boston Globe and remembers how much he liked to read as a kid and the Russian authors his grandfather told him to read. In 1961, as he was taking the train from Calcutta to Jamshedpur to get the books his grandfather was giving him, the train crashed and he almost died. He was reading a Russian author name Nikolai Gogol when the train derailed; he was found by workers and survived only because he had the page in his hand. He decided to go to engineering school in the U.S. against his family's wishes. The next morning the baby is born and Ashima and Ashok want to wait for a letter from her grandmother giving a name for a boy and one for a girls; this is a Bengali tradition to have a respected elder name the baby. The letter didn't arrive in time so they decided to give their son a pet name until they got the real name. Ashok decides Gogol after the russian author. They then leave the hospital to find themselves being greeted by their new landlords who live a floor above them, the Montgomery's. A few days later, Ashok returns to work at MIT and Ashima is at home with Gogol. She writes letters to her family often. When Gogol is six months old, his parents throw him a rice ceremony which celebrates his first eating of solid food; all Ashima and Ashok's Bengali friends were in...
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