John Nagy '00M.A. | August 12, 2015
Subhash Mehra scanned the crowd milling around Stepan Field on a hot August evening in 1992. He heard picnickers telling stories in clipped English and dusted-off foreign languages, saw people grinning and shaking hands, their paper plates neatly arranged with burgers and beans and corn on the cob. Food as familiar as the Golden Dome to some; to others, no less exotic.
It was the end of international student orientation. Parents, braced to say ambivalent goodbyes, were taking comfort in a meal with the local families who had signed on to try to make their children’s lives a little less precarious in the months ahead.
But Subhash Mehra wasn’t thinking about food. He was wondering how his son was going to survive four years in this strange place.
Something in this scene, he didn’t know what, would have to reassure him in the absence of a host family who hadn’t shown. Having flown 8,000 miles to drop off his son at an American university unknown to him a year earlier, he needed a sign to tell him that the boy, 17, sitting with his mother but looking very much alone beneath his new Notre Dame ballcap, wouldn’t hop the first flight back to Mumbai.
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