14 May, 2021

"It Was Just A Natural, Very Exciting Decision"

Pulitzer winner Jhumpa Lahiri in conversation with Sheela Reddy some days before her wedding

"It Was Just A Natural, Very Exciting Decision"
JHUMPA Lahiri emerges out of a cluster of relatives rather like a flower out of a cactus plant: slightly exotic and totally incongruous. There seems no connection between the very Indian relatives who encircle her as she enters a Calcutta bookstore and the pale, blonde-streaked, slender-necked, elegantly-skirted, grave-eyed Pulitzer-winning writer from New York. There is a father, who could still pass off for a babu at the post office although he left a job there 40 years ago for better prospects abroad, a sari-clad mother who hovers watchfully over the 33-year-old daughter she raised in Rhode Island but within the confines of "invisible walls intended to keep American influence at bay". There are several uncles from the Calcutta she loves and has been returning to since her infant days every two years, one of them armed with a camera, and another carrying Jhumpa's shawl as if it were another award. The "invisible walls" have stretched recently to include a Latino from the United States, Alberto Vourvoulias, a sub-editor with Time magazine, who Jhumpa will wed on January 15 in a...

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