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Acknowledgments Many people and institutions have contributed to this project, in ways more profound than I can express here, over the years that it has been in the making.This book would not have been possible without the generosity of the many people in India and the United States who valued my fieldwork, offered me hours of interviews, imparted their wisdom, and welcomed me into their homes and lives. In California, I am especially grateful to Vasant Gujar, Harikrishna Majmundar, Matra Majmundar, and the other members of the Indo-American Community Center who taught me so much. In Kolkata, I have a debt I can never repay to the women and men living in old age homes whose words and insights animate this book. Their names are too numerous to provide here, but I would like to offer especially my heartfelt thanks, love, and admiration to Kalyani Chowdhury, who taught me a great deal and who wished to have her real name (rather than a pseudonym) printed in my book. The directors and caretakers of numerous old age homes also generously supported my fieldwork by welcoming me into their midst. I would like to thank in particular the directors of the following admirable homes: Ashaniketan, Atithya, Loknath Briddhabas, Mahadevi Birla Niketan, Milan Tirtha, and Swami Mahadevananda Giri Briddhashram. The members of the Laughing Club of Udita, the Dignity Foundation, and Jana Hitaya also welcomed, cheered, and enlightened me. I am especially grateful to Purnima Banerjee and Dipak Nag, who offered me much hospitality and many insights, continuing even over email. In Saptaparni, Satyabrata and Swapna Bhattacharyya (Jethu and Jethima), and Kalyan and Dipti Mitra (Meshomoshai and Mashima), have offered me decades of hospitality and wisdom, as have N. N. Chakraborty and “Boudi” of Cornfield Road. Indrani Chakravarty, of the Calcutta Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology, and Saumitra Basu helped teach me about aging in the city of Kolkata, especially among the poor. Dr. Ranjana Ray and the Anthropology Department of Calcutta University provided me an academic home. S. K. Mitra and his family furnished me and my daughters a lovely place to stay in Udita. Our driver, Sharfuddin Ahmad, faithfully escorted me to far-flung and often difficult-to-find old age homes, and took my daughters to and from the Calcutta International School daily. In his quiet, respectfully reserved manner, he taught me so much about Muslim society in India and the perspectives of the working 1-LAMB_pages_i-132.indd 13 5/12/09 3:46:55 PM xiv Acknowledgments class. When we left, my younger daughter said that she would miss our driver more than anyone else. My research assistant, Hena Basu, was a true collaborator on this project . She accompanied me on many field visits to old age homes, assisted me with numerous interviews, sent me notebook after notebook of newspaper clippings, and offered her sensitive interpretations and warm friendship. Without her contributions this book truly would never have emerged as it has.1 I am grateful to Rachana Agarwal and Mrinalini Tankha for their skilled help in procuring and analyzing research materials pertaining to India for this book. Naomi Schiesel, with great care and shrewd acuity, gathered and analyzed comparative materials pertaining to the United States. Nehraz Mahmood provided valuable assistance with Bengali translations and transliterations. I am also deeply grateful to my numerous colleagues, friends, and mentors who have offered time, insight, close readings, and illuminating conversations (in person and by email) at various stages of the book’s gestation . I am especially indebted to my regular writing partners: Diane Mines, Elizabeth Ferry, Caitrin Lynch, and (most recently) Smitha Radhakrishnan. Others whose contributions I deeply appreciate include Mark Auslander, Amy Borovoy, Lawrence Cohen, Jennifer Cole, Jean Comaroff, Uma Das Gupta, Sanjukta Dasgupta, Deborah Durham, Ann Grodzins Gold, Robert Hunt, Nita Kumar, Sydney Lamb, Tarun Mitra, Linda Mitteness, Kirin Narayan, Ralph Nicholas, Dhooleka Raj, Baccu Roy, Marshall Sahlins, Aditi Nath Sarkar, Ellen Schattschneider, Clinton Seely, Harleen Singh, Jay Sokolovsky,Tulasi Srinivas, KhachigTololyan, Sylvia Vatuk, and Susan Wadley. I owe an especially profound debt to my mentor, McKim Marriott, who has over decades challenged and encouraged me through his penetrating marginalia and wisdom. My colleagues at Brandeis University in the Anthropology Department and the Women’s and Gender Studies Program have provided a sustaining abode, fostering me and my writing through their friendship, collegiality, and intellectual engagement. I also take this opportunity to thank the editors at Indiana University Press for their support of this work and their...


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