The Community and Us
It was a cold day that March in 1987, my first year in this country. Snowfall, a rarity in Atlanta was even more of a fascination that year as there was over five inches of it, that late into the season. With almost knee-deep accumulation, it was a picture-perfect winter wonderland. The weather, the landscape, and the unexpected holiday worked its effect on me, and I was flush with a craving for a cup of hot masala tea. We found ourselves in our Gwinnett home with only some yawn-inspiring tea bags. What I needed was the full-bodied flavor of Wagh Bakri or Lipton chai! The problem? The nearest Indian grocery store, one of only about five in all of metro Atlanta, was all the way in Decatur?a bit too far to negotiate in snow for a mere craving.
In striking contrast, for Indian immigrants today, America is almost like home. Are you out of your favorite pickle just before dinner? Don't want to miss your child's daily dose of chyvanprash? No big deal! Chances are, in most parts of Atlanta, you are only minutes from the neighborhood desi grocery store where you can pick up these and many more such nostalgic necessities.
If the ready availability of certain commodities is what can impact our lives so much as immigrants, then we hope the presence of a vibrant community publication would be at least as much or more enriching to one's immigrant experience.
On this, the 13th anniversary of Khabar, and in commemoration of our leap from a newsprint magazine to a full glossy publication, we look back at our growth (see cover story), and realize that ours has been an exciting ride precisely because the growth of the community itself has been exciting and exponential. After all, there cannot be a vibrant community magazine without a vibrant community.
We feel it is a unique privilege for a publication when it gets to chronicle and comment on an immigrant population from its first immigrants all the way to its current explosive growth to a count of about 70,000 in Georgia. To think that during the times of pioneers such as Jagan Bhargave, Dr. P.V. Rao, and Kirit Gandhi, who came around the ‘60s, the entire Indian "community" of Atlanta could have gathered in one home, draws a chuckle.
More so, considering that just last weekend, there were at least half-a-dozen community events ranging from TieCON and Raksha's Ek Shyam to charity events such as the Partnership Walk and the Vibha Walk that attracted thousands. Then, of course, there is the buzz of collective activity surrounding vernacular language classes, temple events, dance classes, weddings and so on that take place on any given weekend.
With so much happening, there are so many stories to tell! We take this responsibility with reverence, and plan to do it with flair and fun. But we also pledge to tackle issues that affect us, no matter how challenging; we hope to nudge your thought process?so that we remain engaged citizens?not only of our own community, but as Americans as well.
We are humbled by and appreciative of finding a place in your homes and hearts.
- Parthiv N. Parekh
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