Authors@Google: Anand Giridharadas

Uploaded by AtGoogleTalks on 02.02.2011

>>Male commentator: Hi everyone, and welcome to another Google Authors event at the San
Francisco office. Today we're very pleased to welcome Anand Giridharadas who writes for
the Currents column for The New York Times and also the International Herald Tribune.
Currents explores fresh ideas, global culture, and social meaning of technology among other
In 2009, he completed a four and a half year tour reporting from India for the Times and
Herald Tribune as their first Bombay presence in the modern era. He reported on Indian's
transformation, Bollywood, corporate takeovers, terrorism, outsourcing, poverty, and democracy.
Is that, is that all? Did I get every --
He was appointed a columnist in 2008 Writing a Letter From India series, as well.
Today he is here to talk about his first book, India Calling, An Intimate Portrait of a Nation's
Remaking, a work of narrative non-fiction about his return to the India that his parents
Please welcome to Google, Anand.
[microphone static in background]
>>Anand Giridharadas: Thank you, Nick and thanks to all of you for-for being here. I
know competing with Google's food is a very tough thing to do, so I'm gonna try to compete
with what I know is the secret competitive advantage of this company.
And I know that because my sister used to work here and some of you worked with her
and so even though she's not here a special via YouTube thank to her --
for making this happen.
I wanna really keep about half of our time together for a discussion so what I'm gonna
do is explain a little bit about how I got to write this book and what it is and then
read to you a bit from it. And then we'll talk.
The origin of my book on India was my encounter with India through biography. And I grew up
in this country in Cleveland, Ohio first and then Europe and then Washington D.C., as the
child of Indian emigrates.
And grew up always with this sense that India was a place that had pushed my parents away
and that in my own way as a child I wanted to continue pushing away. And that is of course
common to many immigrant families.
But when I was growing up this sense of India as this kind of remote, stifling, stifled
place was very vivid for me and it came first in my parents' stories, many of which were
all about essentially why they left. Stories that rationalized why they left; stories that
kind of sought to make sense of that for themselves and in the process give my sister and I a
picture of what this country was.
That picture was compounded by all of the kind of press coverage and the zeitgeist of
what India was for the world in those days which was a basket case, this third world
country or all those labels; some of which were unfair some of which were fair, but all
of which again contributed to this sense of a country better kept where it was in the
mind of a young first-generation child.
And then we would actually go to India every two years or so. And on those visits this
kind of vague sense that I had of wanting to keep this place at bay was deepened by
the reality of that contact. And I suppose it was partly growing up in this country which
more than any other country gives people the feeling of head room and of being able to
become whatever they wanna be and fulfill their potential and fulfill their dreams,
that India felt so profoundly different from that in those days.
It felt above all, a place where people had so much potential within [microphone static
in background] them they had the resources of a great civilization behind them and, is
that mine? No.
And at the same time there was this feeling of, I'm sorry let me just
There was this feeling of so much intelligence and possibility locked up in people. Women
who had a lot to say but didn't say it if there were people who weren't women around.
Children who had brilliant ideas in their head and heads full of kind of notes, but
who didn't feel as comfortable speaking in the presence of adults. The poverty,the child
beggars who I saw who looked eerily like me, and I wasn't used to seeing children who looked
like me in this country. And all of those things fed a certain picture of India that
had estranged me from it over those years.
And I tell you that background because when I was graduating from college in 2003, for
a set of reasons I wanted to be a writer and I thought maybe I should just go somewhere
interesting in the world and kind of become a writer through collision with the unfamiliar.
I chose India as the site of the unfamiliar and I chose to just to go, not because I had
changed my mind or because I love it at that point, but because the idea of shocking myself
a little bit seemed to me the way you actually become a writer. And I had no idea how to
become a writer so it was just a kind of a guess.
And I went and I was shocked, but I was shocked by something that I didn't expect to be shocked
by. I was shocked by the many ways in which the picture that I had of India, the picture
that I had maintained growing up, was now outdated. And I was shocked by the fact that
India was very palpably on the way to becoming another kind of country.
And the very thing that had most estranged me from it, the sense that kind of the purpose
of life is to accept and be content and this kind of serene acceptance of life as it merely
is, was giving way to a very different national spirit.
It didn't mean everybody was rich overnight, it didn't mean poverty had been eliminated,
it didn't mean all these material things had changed, but the spirit of the country had
clearly rotated and become a spirit of grabbing life by the horns, changing your destiny,
reinventing yourself. And a new and growing generation of young Indians no longer had
to leave to reinvent themselves as fully and abundantly as they did when they became immigrants
and pursued that kind of reinvention.
So what I've set out to do in the book is to tell the story in my own very personal
way of how that India became this India. What was that India that my parents left? What
was Indianness within it? What did it mean to be Indian in that world? And then how did
that change?
And I've tried to do so no through a lot of the structural kind of economic things a lot
of people talk about when they talk about India and China, this kind of GDP and growing
economy and urbanization, all these kind of big forces.
These are important things, but my sense of what most was changing in India was human
things: people's conception of the purpose of life, of the purpose of their relations
with other people, of their embeddedness in the community. These very core elemental things,
the things that novels tend to explore rather than non-fiction books. Those were the things
that were most changing in my reportage.
And so the chapters of the book explore different states of minds. The chapters are Dreams,
Ambition, Pride, Anger, Love, Freedom, and then an epilogue called Midnight.
And each of them seeks to explore. In Ambition, for example, you have a country with huge,
extraordinary underclass. India has many more poor people than sub-Saharan Africa today,
for example, something that most people don't talk about.
But even among that underclass it is very clear if you spend time with people on the
farms, for example, that people are now rejecting the idea that that's all that they can be.
And you find a lot of farmers' children who suddenly say, "I refuse to be a farmer." Now
they don't necessarily know what step two is, but they've broken a chain in their minds
of saying, "This is what my grandfather was, this is what I am, this is what I have to
You also then see in the Pride chapter that it's not just this kind of economic rise and
these people rising up financially, there's a growing cultural confidence in India, a
growing pride in being Indian that comes with growth.
And a previous generation of elites was very much like the British who left India in 1947,
dressed in the same ways, spoke in the same ways, have British accents, love to have high
And one of the major shifts underway in India is the replacement of that class of elites
or at least the expansion of the world of elites to include many people who are not
British seeming, who dress and think and talk and reason and read books that are of Indian
origin and that are much more deeply rooted in the soil.
And then there are changes in the very private world of family. One of the things that I
talk about in the book is how love is changing in India and there's a real kind of Romeo
and Juliet revolution that's going on.
Now the reason I say Romeo and Juliet is when Shakespeare wrote that play the reason it
was quite a hit was that it was a subversive idea at that time. At that time even in the
West the reason you married was for family pragmatics, and marriage was a kind of M
& A activity and you kind of two families came together and their property interests
were aligned and it made sense and everybody was kind of on board.
And what Shakespeare chronicled was the rise of this other idea which is that love actually
matters more. If two people love each other then you make everything else work around
that, and that was a shift in Western society.
And India is going through that shift today where this idea of love mattering more than
all those other considerations is kind of pushing its way in. And so I talk in the book
about a young woman who's wrestling with that pushing in.
And I spend time in a divorce court in India, I spend a week in a divorce court seeing how
in a way this new idea of love is also bringing with it a certain fragility to these marriages,
because these new marriages are much more loving but they gamble everything on the presence,
continued presence of that love. They're not held together by family ties and economics
and everything else. They're just held together by love and they break much more easily than
the old kind of marriage.
And final example, chapter on Freedom is about what is happening to family in this modernization
journey. And we often think about, if you asked many Indians what's changed between
then and now, they will share this narrative of India being a kind of more restrained,
stifled place and now a place where people can flower and fulfill their potential more.
But people generally in India tend to blame things like the old economy, socialism, poverty,
and all of those things are true. One thing that you don't hear said in India but that
I'm very clear from my work made a difference, was that family which is something that Indians
celebrate about themselves was as much a source of the limitation on human potential. It did
many good things and it also did many bad things. And family was, I certainly know more
people whose potential was curtailed by family than was curtailed by socialist economic policies.
People who start with the half of the population that is women, but you can go far beyond women.
There's a style of raising children traditionally in India that did not say, "Who are you? What's
your inner potentiality, go find it," that instead said, "Sit here, don't sit there.
Drink that, don't drink this. Study this, don't study that." And that slowly caused
a lot of people to wither.
And now, a new idea of family is coming to India and a new style of raising children
that allows that flowering and that creates a whole new series of problems.
So those are the kinds of changes I sought to chronicle, and now I'd like to read to
you from two different passages of the book.
The first is from the very beginning and kind of captures where I was when I first arrived
in this bewildering new country, trying to figure it out. And before I kind of had seen
all this change, the first thing I saw was linguistic confusion.
You arrive and everybody seems to be speaking English, but then you realize Indian English
is like a whole different language all its own.
For example, I was working at a consulting firm at the time and kept using this phrase
S and M. And it took me a very long time to realize that this was sales and marketing
which is considerably more benign than what I imagined.
So I'll read to you from this passage about linguistic confusion.
"The most mystical new concept though was native place, which I eventually discovered
was the village where my ancestors had most recently milked cows, even if recent meant
the year 1500.
'Ver are you from?' a typical conversation would begin.
'Washington D.C.'
'Yes, yes, that is okay, but ver are you from?'
'No, no that is very good. In fact my brother is in New Jersey, Trenton. I've been to USA,
New York and California also, twice. But what I mean to say is what is your native place?'
'I was born in Cleveland, Ohio in the Midwest.'
'No, no your native place. Basically you are an Indian only you know.'
'Yes, yes of course.'
'So what is your native place? That only is what I'm asking.'
'My parents grew up in Bombay.'
'So basically you are a Maharashtrian, but your name Giridharadas?'
'Actually I'm half Tamil and half Punjabi.'
'Tamil and Punjabi!' my interlocutor would exclaim eyes bulging at the thought of such
brazen regional miscegenation.
'But how could that be?'
'They met in Bombay.'
'So basically, basically you are a Punjabi correct?'
'Basically your father is a Punjabi?'
'No my mother is Punjabi.'
'Okay, I see, I see. So your father is a South Indian?'
'Okay, okay, okay.'
Pause. Relief. The pigeon had been pigeonholed.
'So basically speaking you are a South Indian?'
'Sure, whatever you want.'"
So that was the initial encounter with India, and six years later I, as I finished this
book, tried to reflect on what I'd taken away after getting over that initial confusion,
and tried to think about what all of this emotion and energy and dynamism in the new
India what it meant.
And here's part of that conclusion:
"Our parents' generation still participated in India from afar. They sent money, advised
charities, guided hedge fund dollars into the Bombay stock exchange, attended emigrate
conferences. But many were too implicated in India to return. To reverse their journey
threatened somehow to invalidate the years spent away.
Our generation, bearing less of the past's baggage, was freer to embrace the India now
coming. I had grown up defining myself by the soil under my feet, not by the blood in
my veins. The soil I shared with everyone else. The blood made me unbearably different.
Before I loved India, I loathed it. But the more India called to me the more that feeling
began to seem like a relic from a buried past.
And India now called not only to us, its far scattered seeds, its sharpest call was to
its own; to those who had remained and may once have felt outsmarted by those who left.
It summoned them now to seize hold of their destinies and so they were becoming the unlikely
long lost cousins of my parents in America; restless, ambitious, with dreams vivid only
to themselves.
In leaving India my parents had beaten the odds in a bad system. What had changed since
they left was a systemic lifting of the odds for those who stayed. From languorous villages
to pulsating cities, Indians were making difficult new choices, rising to the occasion of history,
coming into their own in a thousand ways. And it was addictive this improbable rush
of hope, these many answers of the call.
I will never be able to relay the fullness of what it was to live in India in that dawn.
The world turned slowly. Nations, heroes, visions of regeneration come and go. To history
we are ever chained and the new is seldom as new as it seems. But there are moments
sprinkled stingily among the centuries when fate breaks, when souls open, when the shoreline
of the past falls irretrievably into the distance.
Nehru spoke eloquently in that midnight in 1947, at the instant when the soul of a nation
long suppressed finds utterance. But it took two more generations to bring utterance not
just to that collective soul, but also to the millions of souls within, one by one by
That idea first came to me in the dusty lanes of Umred. It came in meeting Ravindra and
in hearing in his voice not just ambition, not just hope, but also a sublime kind of
freedom; a freedom from the definitions of the past, of his tribe, of rank; a freedom
to make himself new. And I wondered how he judged the freedom that he had found in relation
to the freedom that Gandhi and Nehru had won in 1947.
For the world and for many well born Indians those men were paramount heroes. They had
given India a voice; they'd ushered an improbable country vast, fractured, argumentative into
But further away from the leading cities that independence seemed to matter less. In places
such as Umred the British had been a faint presence. The Indians, once they took over,
improved little. The landlords, the humiliations, the smallness of life, it all lived on.
What was coming to India now was a sense of awakening much as it had in 1947. But this
time if felt less theoretical. This time if felt like another kind of independence; an
independence of the soul, not just of the nation.
'If these kinds of things are happening and continue to happen in the future India will
become a real independent country,' Ravindra said when I put the idea to him one day. 'Today
we are independent, no problem. We do not have anybody's kingdom over us, but still
we are not that much free. We are not living a completely free life today. We need financial
freedom which we do not have now. So when young people come ahead the new generation
will come ahead and they will start to live in the way we're talking about. India will
really become independent and we will really become a superpower. We will not depend on
anybody else. We will live the life of our own dreams.'
To live the life of one's own dreams, this then was a second independence for Ravindra,
the coming of a new midnight.
That first midnight had expelled an empire, had resolved the political question of whether
Indians could govern themselves, had shown the world in the person of Gandhi a specially
Indian way of melting oppression.
And yet so much of the Indian stasis, so much of what challenged the life that Ravindra
sought was not of British provenance and would not just leave when the colonizers sailed
away. The family relations of guilt, the never questioned rituals, the intricate taxonomy
castes and sub-sub-castes, the rural cruelty, the poverty, these facts would require their
own thousand Gandhis; a diffuse army of activists and entrepreneurs and philosophers and farmers
toiling across the land, cutting these other fetters, stretching the Indian idea of the
possible, making if more than lyrical to speak of a life of one's dreams.
That first midnight had anchored Indians in place, they had lived for so long with smaller
allegiances to the tribe, the caste, the faith. Gandhi returned from South Africa and Nehru
returned from Britain, saw a wholeness in India that many Indians did not see for themselves
and through the force of their actions they made that wholeness a reality.
This second midnight was, by contrast, about the dissolution of place; about returning
to another kind of fragmentation. It was a revolution of quiet refusals to no one's place,
geographic place, place in time, place in the tribe. It celebrated the lightness of
being without roots, the possibility of reinvention, the dignity of anonymity. It brought a kind
of independence that 1947 had not brought; that of not depending on others for the discovery
of what you might become."
Thank you.
Now I'm happy to take any questions and have a discussion.
>>Nick: If everyone who asks a question if you could just come up so we can capture it
for YouTube.
>>female #1: Hello.
>>Anand Giridharadas: Hi.
>>female #1: I wanted to get a better understanding of what the state of arranged marriages is
in India. It's always been very fascinating to me. I do have some friends in the Hyderabad
Google Office and they have their own perspectives and I know things have changed, but I'm not
sure how it is in other areas outside of Hyderabad.
>>Anand Giridharadas: In some ways it's a very good metaphor for tradition in India
more generally. What is happening to arranged marriage is happening to the whole kind of
landscape of the old traditional world, which is there's not one clear picture.
So there are places where a simple narrative of everyone used to have arranged marriages
now nobody does, where that it true. There's certain spaces, certain levels of society,
certain geographic areas where you'd see a very clear shift away from arranged marriage.
There are other places where there's almost no dent in the number of proportion people
who have arranged marriages, where tradition very much is still with us. And then there's
a lot of spaces in between.
And I think if you think about the new India, the kinds of people who would actually work
at Google Hyderabad, where I've actually been, so I have a sense of who that demographic
is. That demographic is in a way the most interesting because they are neither this
extreme of like they've all rejected tradition and are totally all having love marriages,
nor are they totally traditional for obvious reasons.
And they're on this in between kind of liminal space where there's a lot of negotiation going
on. And what I've found is a lot of those people who are kind of in that in between
zone, are very comfortable with multiple modes of thinking about modernity and their own
And so a lot of people in India are doing multiple tracks at the same time. Their parents
may be looking for them and they're kind of tolerant of that, they maybe in their [bad
audio] as parents and parents' networks. Then they may be looking on the Internet with their
parents. So they're kind of leading the Internet-based search which is kind of like but
it's called So it's like instead of And they may be doing
that and kind of in the driver's seat but with parents' help and parents' short listing.
And they may be drinking and smoking and hooking up and doing that also kind of in the Western
And what's really I think interesting about Indians, is Indians are agnostic about which
of these is better. I think a lot of western minds feel a compulsion to say, "I'm an arranged
marriage kind of person," or "I'm not an arranged marriage kind of person. Philosophically I'm
with that or philosophically I'm not with that."
You find a lot of Indians who are comfortable doing all of those three things without seeing
contradictions between them; just accepting that these are different things with different
kinds of wisdom inherent in them. At least now, maybe you'll move to an India that everyone's
doing love marriage. But I actually don't think that's the pattern that's gonna emerge
even in the future. I think India will continue to be a place with a kind of both and model
of modernization in which kind of different kinds of truths about what it means to modern
are simultaneously present.
>>male #1: Earlier you mentioned how children of farmers are rejecting their family farms
and seeking other opportunities. How are they becoming aware of these other opportunities
and what's your assessment of, is it a rural to urban migration or your other elements
in terms of how they're thinking about leaving the farming sector?
>>Anand Giridharadas: The question of how people get this awareness is a very important
one. And even I can tell you a lot of culprits that I've seen, but I think in a way it remains
for me this kind of big unfinished question. There's only so much we know about. Something's
gotten into the air and there's a million cues people take in a society for how they
should behave and what they should think about being, and I think it's actually probably
millions of different little cues that people are getting about where the future is, where
their possibilities are.
The few things that I would say are really important as forces, probably more important
than any other is television. I think if you think about the backgrounds of most of the
people in this room, we probably grew up with the sense television was not good for us,
more television kind of makes you dumb, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
When you are at the very beginning of the development arc and you have very little exposure,
your parents are not a useful template for the kind of people you'd like to become; they're
poor, everyone around you is poor, etcetera, television is this extraordinary and very
different kind of force. It's a force of uplift because it beams into very humble people's
living rooms all the possible alternative existences available to them. And these are
people whose parents are not saying, "You can be an astronaut, you can be a teacher."
These are people whose parents are saying, "Go clean that. Go fix that." And television
is in a way an aspiring, aspirational, ambitious, pushy parent for people who don't have those
kinds of parents themselves.
And I remember something that Ravindra, who's a young man who I met in a village, in a kind
of very poor background but rose up; a self-made man. And he said to me, "When you watch TV,"
when you watch the Discovery Channel, for example, "you're always seeing the best person
in the world doing whatever it is that they do." So you're watching American Idol, you're
seeing the best singers in the world. If you watch someone catching an anaconda on Discovery
Channel, they're like the great anaconda catching expert.
Now that may or may not be literally true, but it certainly is true that compared to
the social world in which they are, they don't know anybody who's the best at anything, right?
They don't know anybody who's in the top 50th percentile in the world of being good at whatever
it is that they do. And suddenly on TV it is true. People who are kind of losers and
don't really do that well in life aren't actually on TV. And so it's very inspiring to people
from those kinds of backgrounds to be pulled up. So that's one thing I would say.
And then I think it's a lot of other things. The job opportunities in the big city, people
hear about this. It's interesting when you go to small towns one of the things that really
struck me is you can sit with a kid in a small town in India today, 25 year-old kid, and
you can ask them, "Who is everybody who's left this town?" And they know everybody who's
left the town. They know where they're working, they know what they're doing, they know whether
they have a girlfriend or not, they know whether they have a bike or a car, they know exactly,
they keep very close tabs on every migrant who's left.
And the migrant stories come back kind of resounding and echoing and they loom large
in people's minds. And I think that has a lot to do with it.
They now say 31 people are leaving an Indian village every minute and arriving in the city.
Thirty-one people a minute. It's 10 million people a year. So you've heard of partition
in 1947, India's doing a partition worth of human migration a year right now, and that's
in a way if you were looking for the data of people waking up and saying, "I don't wanna
be farmer's son," that's the data; it's 31 people a minute. Because all of those people
are from agricultural backgrounds of some kind and they're deserting it.
>>male #2: Did you talk to people who went back from U.S. or other parts of the world
and how did they feel about it immediately and in longer term?
>>Anand Giridharadas: Yeah, I mean in a way many of them were my friends; people like
me who grew up in this country or grew up in India came to America and then moved back.
But I knew and spent a lot of time with east bound migrants.
Obviously there was a range of experiences that people had. But I think everybody, if
you think about what people tended to have in common, everybody went with I think fairly
low expectations about their capacity to make a difference in India, to be accepted in India,
to feel that they could have impact in the world. And I think all of them in different
ways were very surprised and pleasantly surprised.
All of us who formed that kind of wave of people who made that move were surprised by
the extent to which this country that had seemed kind of immovable before to us, was
more moveable and more dynamic than America, for example, a lot more moveable and dynamic
than America.
America now feels to me to be a very kind of aging, stagnant country and I never could
have imagined that it would be India that would make America feel like that to me. But
America does feel like that in contrast. It doesn't feel like everything and anything
is possible in America anymore, as many Americans will tell you. It does feel like that in India
even though so many people continue to live such hard lives. The narrative has changed.
And I think a lot of us who made that migration that's the kind, the overwhelming sentiment
of the experience.
>>female #2: Related to that previous question, do your parents or your parents' generations
recognize this change that you've experienced and seen as well?
>>Anand Giridharadas: It's interesting they --
clearly, I mean they read the paper, they certainly read my articles in the paper. And
not just my parents but that whole generation is obviously aware at a kind of very macro
level of what's happening in the world and the fact that India is now getting this new
recognition and that it's changed.
But I think that a lot of any human being builds narratives in their life about their
life. And those narratives in a way acquire a life of their own even when the data underneath
them changes, right? So just as in a way Google has this narrative of being this kind of startup
company where everybody wears jeans and is very casual, even though you're now big brother
in this big extraordinary, huge Fortune 500 company.
And those narratives outlast the reality.
And I think for immigrants the reality, the narrative always has to be, "We left and there's
a reason we left." And it would cause too much psychological friction for an immigrant
to kind of expose themselves to the question, "Should I have left? Maybe actually India
was better." It's too much, you don't wanna walk around your whole life kind of relitigating
the question of whether your entire life trajectory was the right trajectory or not.
So I think a lot of people close that question, and closing that question just as I don't
walk around wondering whether I should still be a writer. I've made that choice and the
boat has sailed and now I organize my life around the narrative of being a writer.
And so I think for a lot of migrants you kind of go and you freeze the question and so I
think there is an openness and there's a delight that India's doing well, but it's easier for
my generation to embrace the data of what has changed I think then for people who themselves
made that very difficult choice to leave.
>>male #2: How important is someone's caste to new opportunities and stuff? Does that,
does no one care about that or some people care?
>>Anand Giridharadas: It?s a bit like the arranged marriage answer I gave you which
is that it really depends on where you are. I could take you on a tour of places in India,
hundreds of places, where caste matters almost as it did in 1500. I could take you to villages
where everybody knows who's who, where people wear different markings that signals that
very clearly, where residential living is still bounded in those villages by caste.
So we could do a whole tour of places like that. And if you only did that you'd think,
"Gosh, nothing has changed in this place in 500 years."
I could also take you on a tour, a long tour in India, of places where caste if absolutely
irrelevant, it never comes up. People certainly don't talk about it and even generally speaking
it's not a big part of life. If you went to the Google Hyderabad Office, no one is sitting
around talking about their caste, I can assure you.
But even there I would be curious about what percentage of people at Google Hyderabad are
former untouchables, right? It's probably, if other companies are a guide, much lower
than the proportion of the population. I would image that the proportion of the people that
are Brahmins, even though Brahmins are a few percentage points of India, is fairly high
in a place like Google Hyderabad.
So in a way it's a lot like race in America that there are places, rural Mississippi where
it's kind of like it was and not very far removed. There are places like New York and
San Francisco where it's moved on a lot and certainly the old kind of lines have dissolved.
But there's probably nowhere that is entirely untouched by the fact that the society did
this to itself for a long time, which is arbitrarily segregate people, make those traits inheritable
and kind of stack people in this very nonsensical hierarchy. And in a way that's a kind of trauma,
the way South Africa has a trauma of Apartheid, the way America has a trauma of race, India
will continue to have that trauma of caste.
And the way it most seems to assert itself today is this kind of residual sense that
all men are not quite created equal. That there's something natural about inequality
and there's this kind of sneaking suspicion in India that lingers that inequality's maybe
a little bit natural, a little bit meant to be.
And I think it'll take a very long time for that stain to be washed away, if that makes
>>Nick: Are there any other questions?
Okay, I have one final question. So to bear witness to that type of change and actually
be there and when you were comparing it to your feeling now relative to the United States
and the classic American dream, is it something you want to get back to fast? Do you envision
that you would be almost a reverse migrant and go back and actually be there to be part
of that?
>>Anand Giridharadas: I think in a way I've thought about that a lot. I think in a way
two things have changed, not one. The first thing that's changed is Indian's become a
relatively more attractive place and America has perhaps become a relatively less attractive
place. But that's not the only shift.
The second big shift is in the very nature of how people immigrate and how they migrate.
And I think the idea in a way of what my parents did the big one time, one way immigration
is fading.
And what for our generation I think is more relevant and kind of appealing as a way of
life, is a kind of series, a circulation.
So I think the choice that I've made for India is India is now on my very short list of places
that is a core part of my life. But I don't feel the need to make the same choice my parents
did of this or this and now invest 30 years and that's everything. I think it'll continue
to be a part of every year. I think I'll probably go live there again for extended periods.
It's a part of my consciousness, but there are other things for me that I wanna know
and do and experience and write about. And so right now I'm very much thinking of those
places as well.
>>Nick: Great. Well Anand is gonna stay to sign books afterwards so please stick around
and join me in thanking him for visiting Google.
>>Anand Giridharadas: Thank you all.