Houston, TX: Indian American Author Leena Ceraveeni Documents Racial Experiences
Indian Americans have to deal with people who tell them they smell like rice and curry. Indian Americans have been asked if they know the Indian people who work at the gas station down the street. If Indian people would eat the cow they wouldn’t starve.
Leena Ceraveeni’s debut novel, “The Hometown,” documents the racial experiences of an Indian girl born and raised in Indiana. Each chapter of “The Hometown” focuses on a different racial experience when 23-year-old Mala Thomas packs up her Acura Vigour and makes an impulsive move to Houston. The death of the sister she can’t remember, her love for ’80s rock, and her past racial experiences follow her everywhere she goes.
In a recent interview with G’day India, Ceraveeni said she came up with the idea for the “The Hometown” about 10 years ago when a co-worker said she had an Indian accent. “He said I didn’t notice my Indian accent because I picked it up from being around my parents,” said Ceraveeni. “I was used to hearing these ridiculous comments but for some reason I could not stop thinking about his remark. I went home and wrote it down. When I would tell people about the comments, they wouldn’t believe me.”
Leena Ceraveeni graduated from Indiana University; she lives in Texas and was the only Indian in her school growing up in Indiana. “I wanted to fit in when I was younger. I was so self-conscious. Now I’m glad I was an outsider. I have a story to tell.” Ceraveeni said
(Read the first chapter for free on Amazon
Book preview available in Google Books)