How does Ashima try to make over her home in Cambridge to remind her of what she has left behind in Calcutta?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that the opening of the story in which Ashima is trying to make an Indian savoury snack using American ingredients represents much on how Ashima wishes to remake her life in Boston as a form of a "mini- Bengal."  She and Ashoke make over her home to remind them of Bengal in a variety of ways.  They hang out with other Bengalis, and do everything possible to remind them of Bengal.  Singing Bengali songs, talking extensively in Bengali, eating Bengali food, and reflecting on life in Bengal are ways in which the Bengali experience is evident in their homelife in Boston.  The fact that their home is a type of extension of Bengal and life in Calcutta represents how they seek to make over their home in a manner that compels them to remind them what was left behind in their homeland.  Lahiri depicts both husband and wife as individuals who live in the present with a consciousness that is rooted in the past.  Living a life of what is in terms of what was left behind is the primary condition of being for Ashima and Ashoke.  This is representative in how they physically construct their home and being in the opening chapters of the work.