My friend Arie was recently visiting and brought me several back issues of The New Yorker and I stumbled across a great short story, "Once In A Lifetime", by the talented Jhumpa Lahiri, author of the excellent short story collection Interpreter of Maladies. Here's a teaser:
I had seen you before, too many times t count, but a farewell that my family threw fo yours, at our house in Inman Square, is when begin to recall your presence in my life. You parents had decided to leave Cambridge, not fo Atlanta or Arizona, as some other Bengalis had but to move all the way back to India abandoning the struggle that my parents an their friends had embarked upon. It was 1974. was six years old. You were nine. What remember most clearly are the hours before th party, which my mother spent preparing fo everyone to arrive: the furniture was polished the paper plates and napkins set out on th table, the rooms filled with the smell of lam curry and pullao and the L’Air du Temps my mother used for special occasions, spraying it first on herself, then on me, a firm squirt that temporarily darkened whatever I was wearing. I was dressed that evening in an outfit that my grandmother had sent from Calcutta: white pajamas with tapered legs and a waist wide enough to gird two of me side by side, a turquoise kurta, and a black velvet vest embroidered with plastic pearls. The three pieces had been arrayed on my parents’ bed while I was in the bath, and I had stood shivering, my fingertips puckered and white, as my mother threaded a length of thick drawstring through the giant waist of the pajamas with a safety pin, gathering up the stiff material bit by bit and then knotting the drawstring tightly at my stomach. The inseam of the pajamas was stamped with purple letters within a circle, the seal of the textile company. I remember fretting about this fact, wanting to wear something else, but my mother assured me that the seal would come out in the wash, adding that, because of the length of the kurta, no one would notice it, anyway.
The entire story is available online here.