Anu lives in Charleston, South Carolina. There are only a
handful of Indian families in Charleston, so her Mother drives
her five hours each way to Atlanta for weekly pageant rehearsals.
Anu graduated in June from Ashley Hall, an exclusive girls
school, where she was named the "Barbara Bush Scholar",
commemorating the school's most distinguished graduate. Anu
was the only Indian student ever to attend. "I always
knew that I'm not really one of them. They all grew up together,
their parents all went to school together, and their great-great-grandparents
all fought together in the Civil War."
Anu and her parents are observant Hindus and travel to Columbia,
to the nearest Temple. Anu's father doesn't believe in parties
or dating: "Children can relax by playing indoor games
or they can chit-chat." Anu is confused about how to
lead her life. She recognizes that her parent's world and
traditions offer her tremendous security, but she's tempted
by the freedoms of western culture. "I've been told by
a lot of males I was so different ... an endangered species,
kinda." While she muses about the possibility of a love
match, she knows her parents want her to marry, "...
an Indian ... a South Indian ... a Brahmin ... a Niyogi Brahmin
... from a non-Bharadvaja class."