A³ Spotlight: Jyotsna Sreenivasan asks what Indian parents can give to their American children

A³ Spotlight: Jyotsna Sreenivasan asks what Indian parents can give to their American children

by Meera S. Kumar

A³ (Asian American Authors) Spotlight is a writer interview series created by TMD’s Michigan in Color and Arts sections to spotlight and celebrate Asian American authors. The goal of this series is to feature artists whose content diversifies the landscape of Asian diasporic literature.

At the beginning of our phone call, Jyotsna Sreenivasan and I agree that had we met in person, we would be drinking herbal tea together. Sreenivasan — an author, English teacher and University of Michigan alum — is easygoing and lights up when we talk about books — perhaps a symptom of her passion for teaching. The author’s voice is soft but strong; it’s hard to feel nervous in her friendly presence. In her collection of short stories released this past May, “These Americans,” Sreenivasan explores the gap between immigrant parents and their second-generation children in her latest book. (Second-generation Americans in the book are defined as native-born with at least one immigrant parent.) The author sat down with The Daily to speak about “These Americans,” teaching English and being second-generation.

Sreenivasan’s book “These Americans” is a collection of seven short stories and a novella , all of which feature second-gen Indian Americans grappling with what it means to live within, between and beyond two cultures. Favorites of mine include “The Sweater,” in which college-aged Nandini learns how to knit sweaters while dealing with the all-encompassing pressure from her parents to succeed academically and attend business school; “Mrs. Raghavendra’s Daughter,” in which Mrs. Raghavendra simultaneously grapples with her grown daughter’s sexuality and her husband’s death; and “Hawk,” the novella, in which recently-divorced Manisha tries her hand at teaching at a private school in the face of what initially appears to be innocent cultural misunderstandings.

As she became a mother, her perspective changed even more. “Once I had a baby,” she says, “I realized how hard it was to be a parent … My parents were trying to do the best they could, and they didn’t have a lot of Indian role models for raising a kid in a different country.” Parenthood prompted Sreenivasan to ask herself, “What’s it like from (my parents’) point of view?”

Read the rest @ https://www.michigandaily.com/arts/jyotsna-sreenivasan-asks-what-indian-parents-can-give-to-their-american-children/


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