Cynthia Dettman:  Author

Young Friends

It’s been such a delight to make friends with young 20 and 30-something educated Indians! My faculty training has tended to bring me together with somewhat older faculty- but I so much enjoy the energy, enthusiasm, and modern ideas of India’s educated youngsters.  Here are some of my new friends:

Romila and Kannan


Romila teaches “VISCOM” (visual communications) at a Catholic College; Kannan is the chief designer for the Hindu Newspaper, one of India’s best. They met in college and were “just friends”, until it occurred to Kannan to ask for Romila’s hand. They are both liberal, progressive, smart, engaging young people. Romila is very fashionable and took me on some serious shopping trips.  I think these two young people represent the best of India’ educated middle class. Both have most of their cousins living in the US- but they are staying here. I think India needs them!

Blessing and his younger student

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Blessing is a 20-something Journalism professor. He is from Manipur in Northeast India- his family and ancestors come from tribal stock. He came to the South for his education and has stayed on here. Blessing is a proponent of free press and gender equality and teaches his students to prepare for good quality journalism, in the face of a very political media system and pressure against freedom from the government and from right-wing groups. His young student is in his final year of college- a free thinker and musician- we’ll see where he lands in the future!



Muhil was my social work student in Madurai when I was in India five years ago. She comes from a very traditional family and is restricted from working by her husband and family, although she has a masters degree in social work! Muhil would make a great counselor- I hope that some day she will have the freedom, after she has finished raising her two children, to work in the field.


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Sue’s family is from South India but she grew up in the US, is a doctor and is very Americanized.  She is very dedicated to healthy lifestyles.   I met her in Delhi at a Fulbright conference- she is a Fulbrighter herself working in a South Indian  anti-obesity effort.  She seemed a bit discouraged by the educational and medical systems in India.  It’s so interesting to meet highly Westernized folks from Indian families- they live in many worlds.

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