Fatima likes the Devon Avenue neighborhood both for its diversity as well as a sense of familiarity that this environment conjures up for her. The call to prayer, or azan, that she hears from nearby mosques reminds her of home. South Asian neighbors, the restaurants serving ethnic food, Indian grocery and other products, and the hustle-bustle of Devon seem familiar and reassuring. She fondly recalls Hyderabad, its familiar haunts, and foods. She evokes this sense of the place and conviviality of the city with her story of a rainy day in Hyderabad [clip]: With her scooter stuck in rainwater, two strangers pull it. They become her friends and remain so till today.
She rediscovers this feeling of fellowship in the United States as well as she encounters non-profit and volunteer Muslim associations that help new migrants settle down in their new country of residence, finding them places to stay, helping them deal with homesickness, and training them in useful jobs and language skills .
A hybrid mix of familiar and strange animates her description of life in America. For instance she describes a Muslim wedding she attended in the United States: “[It was a] Muslim marriage but basically in American style and American culture.” Or, more presciently, “the marriage is done according to the Indian [customs], but in Western Style.”
Text by Salman Hussain
A rainy day in Hyderabad.
Her impressions of Devon Ave.
A wedding in Chicago.