Oral Histories

Interview of Margaret Patel

Immigrant from India. Owner of two restaurants.
South Asian Women in Los Angeles
Asian American History
Community History
Biographical Note:
Immigrant from India. Owner of two restaurants.
Hampapur, Veena
Patel, Margaret
Persons Present:
Patel and Hampapur.
Place Conducted:
Patel's restaurant in Santa Monica, California.
Supporting Documents:
Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library's Center for Oral History Research.
Interviewer Background and Preparation:
The interview was conducted by Veena Hampapur; B.A., anthropology, minor in South Asia studies, UC Berkeley; M.A., anthropology, UCLA. Her research focuses on conceptions of citizenship and identity in the South Asian American diaspora.Hampapur prepared for the interview by reading about the waves of South Asian immigration to the United States. As a graduate student in anthropology, she has conducted research on the South Asian diaspora in the United States which shaped the direction of her inquiries. Veena Hampapur gained access to the participants through her personal and academic networks. Before each interview, she reviewed her previous knowledge of the participant (if any) in order to tailor the interview for each woman's personal experiences.
Processing of Interview:
The transcript is a verbatim transcription of the recording. It was transcribed by a professional transcribing agency using a list of proper names and specialized terminology supplied by the interviewer. Patel was then given an opportunity to review the transcript and make corrections and additions. Those corrections were entered into the text without further editing or review on the part of the Center for Oral History Research staff.
2.25 hrs.
Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
Series Statement:
The South Asian Women in Los Angeles series documents the lives of a number of women who are first generation South Asian immigrants and who lived or currently live in the greater Los Angeles area. This project was generously supported by Arcadia funds.
Mixed ethnic heritage—Partition of India—Father's life in England—Ship to India—Mother's return to England—Father's family responsibilities—Joint family—Cosmopolitan Bombay—Raised by aunts—Catholic school—Interaction with neighbors—Traveling with father—Trains—Community dynamics—Different family structure—Connection to friends' families—Contact with mother—School performance—Motivation for school—Marrying out of caste—Father's remarriage—Friendships—Living with family in college—Graduate education—Teaching commerce college—Connection to husband—Concerns about marriage—Arranged marriage—American education—Perceptions of U.S.—Popularity of newspapers—Marriage proposal—Coming to the U.S.—Wedding.
Preparations for immigration—Easy adjustment to U.S.—Initial impressions of U.S.—Settling in Santa Monica—Changes in Santa Monica—Popular areas in L.A.—Preference for ethnic diversity—Running a restaurant—Homesickness—Visitors from India—Learning to drive—Clothing—Accessibility of Indian products—Religious activities—Returning to India—Enjoying Santa Monica—Raising children in the U.S.—Teaching children Indian culture—Celebrating American holidays—Reuniting with mother—Second generation—Staying in L.A.—Two children.