If you made it this far, I have a bonus for you. I call it:
…or “What happened during and after the writing of American Baapu?”
For starters, some of the “children of my heart” became brothers and sisters. When Deepika opened her new yoga studio, “Sat Chit Anand Yoga”, she contacted Nishchay in Ujjain (an hour’s drive from Indore) and asked him to perform music for her studio’s Grand Opening. Nishchay agreed. Since that time, Nishchay has even used his accountancy skills to help Deepika manage the financial side of her new business.
Then, coincidentally, Nipanjana returned to India from Berkeley, California to meet with someone at IIT in Indore. Deepika and her brother Kunal picked her up and they drove to visit Nishchay and his family in Ujjain. During their visit, they all decided to make a video encouraging people to read “American Baapu”. They sent it to me via Facebook. I watched it twice. I got teary both times.
Nandita didn’t win the Miss India Khadi title, but her home state of Rajasthan continues to bestow well-deserved awards on her. When the contest required that she supply some video testimonials, Judy and I each filmed videos for her. Later, we learned that Nishchay and Arya had also made videos to help “Nandita Di”. Only days ago (Mid-February 2018), Nandita was given the Prof. M. Raisinghani Leadership Award. She was one of only several women to be chosen for this award. Did you think I exaggerated in “American Baapu” when I said that Nandita was a force to be reckoned with?
A month after we returned from India, Nishchay’s dad, Akshay, wrote me the following note:
“Here’s a special message for Rick and Judy: You’ll always be in my heart. You both have a special place there and I’ll never forget you. You are such a nice & lovely couple. Five days with you two was like a dream come true for me.
Mr. Rick, you inspire me to keep smiling. Mrs. Judy Cormier, I have so much respect for you. I loved both your attitudes and your lifestyle and appreciate the beautiful memories with you. Thank you both for visiting our home in Ujjain. I hope you can come again and stay longer.
Susmita Maheshwari also made me smile. She wrote me one day and said that she hopes that “American Baapu” is a huge success so that we can afford to return to India sooner and stay longer next time.
I was inspired. Judy and I agreed that any profits from American Baapu would be placed in a “Return to India Fund”. I also like to call it my “Family Reunion Fund”.
Piyush graduated with a Masters degree from Purdue University and accepted a position as User Experience Designer for Microsoft in Seattle.
Many of my young Indian friends have been brainstorming marketing strategies to help get the word out about “American Baapu”. They even formed a private chat group so that they could brainstorm marketing ideas. Most of them have shared the link to how to order it from White Falcon Publishing in India. Neha wrote a touching story about our visit on Quora with links to my book at the end. Neha has been a real powerhouse of ideas. Her cousin, Vaishali, is trying to convince a local bookstore to stock it. Nandita recently made a video promoting the book.
In early December 2017, Neha’s brother Nishant (“Nishu”) married his beautiful bride, Disha and Madhu married Pravin and became Jiya Pravin Jeswani.
Archana got her visa problem straightened out and she and her family were able to return to their home in Atlanta. Her husband, Saurabh, got a job offer in California and they may be moving there soon. We’re hoping to visit Nipanjana and Raunaq in California this year and Archana and Saurabh will be moving about 90 minutes from them so there may well be another family reunion on the horizon!