On Self and Family: ​A Dartmouth legacy’s complicated relationship with the Father who helped get him here

My dad was a member of the Class of 1965. My grandfather was a member of the Class of 1939. My uncle is a member of the Class of 1971. There is no doubt that I would not have gotten into Dartmouth if it weren’t for this family connection and I have occasionally felt an inferiority complex. It is not, however, the inevitable look of subtle condescension I get from people when they hear that I’m a “legacy” that most bothers me about the label. Since freshman fall, I’ve felt guilty about one thing in particular: I’ve never actually been close with this very connection that undoubtedly brought me to Hanover in the first place.

Read More

The Layup

“What are you taking this term?” is a staple of small-talk exchanges at Dartmouth. You hear in the library, on the green, in basements. I could keep naming campus locations, but I think you get the idea. No matter who you are, this conversation has been a part of your life here.

Ingrained in the fabric of this simple exchange is the concept of “the third class” or, as some call it, “the layup:” a class that is assumed to require less time and effort than others. A carefree flick of the wrist to tip the ball into the basket, rather than a concentrated three-point shot.

Read More

On Self and Family: A daughter's mitigated defense of arranged marriage

My mother met my father once before their wedding on February 3rd 1991. I have often thought about their first encounter, painted a vivid picture in my mind, one that explored the vectors of their thoughts, apprehensions and attraction. My father had heard that my mother was an eligible young college-educated woman and glimpsed a picture circulating around my extended family. With my 3 year old cousin in tow, (possibly to relieve tension) my father makes his way into my grandfather’s parlor in India hesitantly. After a brief stint with tea and snacks, he and my mother are ushered into a room together where they attempt a conversation. I have always imagined my father to be the one to instigate the conversation. My mother was at one point the epitome of demure; she now is completely comfortable with yelling my name across a BJ-size parking lot. My father does not interrogate her, rather he broaches the subject of her aspirations and whether she would be interested in relocating to the United States.

Read More