They’re Only Substitutes

Starting a family in a new country is always scary for the parents. But there is also the side which no one seems to focus on that much; the side of the child’s. These children who are born into western countries with parents from different countries are also being deprived of almost the same as their parents. They have no family here. They have no one. They are coming into this world with only two people surrounding them (two people who are novices to the environment themselves) and are deprived of that sense of family and closeness which comes with being in their origin country.

“Ashima thinks the same, though for different reasons. For as grateful as she feels for the company of the Nandis and Dr. Gupta, these acquaintances are only substitutes for the people who really ought to be surrounding them. Without a single grandparent or parent or uncle or aunt at her side, the baby’s birth, like most everything else in America, feels somehow haphazard, only half true. As she strokes and suckles and studies her son, she can’t help but pity him. She has never known of a person entering the world so alone, so deprived.” (24-25)

That last sentence, of her son being so alone and so deprived is a reality for many children who’s parents have immigrated from other countries. They have to go through birthdays, celebrations, parties, dinners, and so much more without their loved ones surrounding them. The most connection that they get with them is a letter or at best a phone call of them telling them how much they miss each other and constant reminders of their distance. Often pity is brought upon the parents who have had to drop their lives to start new ones here, yet most look over the fact that the children are forced to grow up with only the stories of their family and never get the chance to fully experience how it feels to have all who care for you surround you and have them near.


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