My mother's father is from Punjab state in India. When his mother first visited me when I was a too-small-to-remember child, I am told she was shocked at how striking my resemblance to him was.
Six of my grandfather's brothers and their families ultimately followed him to the United States, as did his parents after their retirement. I grew up seeing many members of the extended Gill clan summers in California and taking in Punjabi culture from them in addition to what we kept at home.
Largely because of Punjabi tradition, I wore a long, black beard when I started college. September 11th was my first day of classes. I've thought, probably, with even greater intensity since about what this heritage can mean in our post-9/11 world.
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