Hello! In Jhumpa Lahiri's 'The Namesake,' Ashoke is Gogol's father. In Chapter 3, we read that he has been hired as an assistant professor of electrical engineering at the university. He shares a secretary (Mrs. Jones) with other members of his department. Ashoke can't help but think how unlike Mrs. Jones is compared to his own mother. For one, Mrs. Jones is single; her deceased husband taught English at the university until his death, and she now lives by herself. Ashoke surmises that she is probably lonely, eating by herself, and driving herself to work in the snow and the sleet. What's more, Ashoke thinks that Mrs. Jones probably sees her children and grandchildren only a few times a year. Ashoke tells us that Mrs. Jones is a kind person: she sometimes brings a plate of banana bread to work and puts it by the coffee percolator in the staff room. All in all, Ashoke still believes that his own mother would be humiliated to live such a life; the typical Bengali grandmother is surrounded by her loved ones every day.In Bengali culture, her age and position in the family affords her privileges and the respect of family members. She would not have had to do everything by herself, nor to earn a living in her old age.
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