For Aging Immigrants, Food from Their Homelands Is Key to Happiness

Sarada Ramachandran, the author’s mother, stands in her kitchen contemplating options for lunch // Photo by Andrea Campos

“Do you have drumsticks?” my 85-year-old mother asks the cashier at the checkout counter at Madras Groceries in Sunnyvale, California. The woman points to a pile of long, narrow, cylindrical vegetables near the counter. A half-hour later, a quick inventory of my mother’s cart reveals drumsticks, taro roots, squash, long beans, okra, winter melons, pointed gourd, snake gourd, spices, snack packets of murukkus and a bag of brown basmati rice.

Read more by Jaya Padmanabhan at