Making A Connection


Kaylee DeWalt, Staff

Reading Time: 2 minutes

For many people, understanding where their family is from and the culture that their parents and/or grandparents grew up in is very important. However, few are lucky enough to be able to travel to said places. Senior Antara Chatterjee has spent her entire life traveling to India, learning more and more about her parents’ home country and herself.


“Although my parents wanted to provide me and my brother with the opportunities that America has, they also wanted us to stay in touch with our Indian roots,” Chatterjee said. “We have mostly visited India to visit my family such as my maternal grandparents and to attend events such as thread ceremonies and relatives’ weddings.”


Though Chatterjee has visited India many times throughout her life, one trip stands out against the rest: her visit to Churpuni, the village where her family name, Chatterjee, originated. 


“Seeing the village where my family name came from was memorable because it had always been important to me to know my family’s history,” Chatterjee said. “Visiting Churpuni was an eye-opening experience to the privilege I have been brought up with.”


Located in West Bengal, about 100 miles from Calcutta, sits the rural village of Churpuni. The village itself is fairly isolated, with no main roads attached or even near it. 


“The village was not directly accessible by car so we had to take a cycle rickshaw,” Chatterjee said. “The homes were built from clay and had thatched roofs. I had never seen a place like this before. The houses did not have air conditioning or many modern conveniences such as the Internet. They did, however, have a small television with cable and cell phones. The rooms were small, but the cooking of traditional Bengali dishes from fresh home-grown ingredients were something I will never forget.” 


Through her trips to India, Chatterjee has strengthened her connection to her culture and family, as well as learned important lessons that have influenced her life and her future goals. 


“My time in India has warranted me to practice and strengthen my Bengali speaking skills especially when I am with my grandparents,” Chatterjee said. “I have also seen the poverty of people living on the streets and bathing in nearby rivers, which inspired me to get involved within my local community, and I hope one day I can help people on a global scale.”