Indian families form friendship in Beckley

Local - 5/9/2013 6:25 PM by Karen Franklin
BECKLEY - Harika Kolpuru and her friends dance to their country's music in traditional clothing. They're from India -- a large country almost 10,000 miles away from West Virginia.

"We do miss home, but you know, as technology is growing nowadays pretty fast, we stay in touch with our families through phone, through skyping, whatnot," Kolpuru said. "I mean we talk to them daily."

Most of the adults came to the United States for opportunities. Several of these women's husbands studied in America and found job success. Beckley is the city the group now calls their home.

"I feel like rather than the bigger cities, I feel smaller cities are safe and safe for the kids to grow up," said mother Nandini Aremugam.

Kolpuru doesn't have children yet, but likes Beckley for the scenery.

"We really like this place because of this beauty, nature," Kolpuru said. "Not all the places has this beauty, you know. We can actually see all the four seasons here, you know."

But keeping their Indian traditions alive is a must. Dance, food and companionship are important aspects of their culture. The group says parties and gatherings happen almost weekly.

"You don't need any invitation for going to certain people's houses," Aremugam said.

Fourteen-year-old Harshit Agarwal agreed.

"So we can just go to them," he said. "We don't have to call them or anything. We just go, and they live like right from us."

It's safe to say many of these families will stay in West Virginia if they continue to earn a good living. The future of their kids is up for grabs.

"I will always come back here because I love whitewater rafting, and it's just, I will always come back here," said 15-year-old Garima Agarwal. "It would draw me here. Beckley would always draw me here."

Her brother had a different idea.

"When we grow older, I think studies are better here -- colleges and stuff -- so for colleges, I want to be here and like for jobs also, I want to be here," Harshit Agarwal told WOAY. "But if I get the chance to go to India, I'd like to go."

The women, their husbands and their young children came from different areas in India. The country itself has almost 30 states and its people speak around 20 languages. The small community of Beckley has brought them one great thing Garima Agarwal is very thankful for.

"We have all came together here, and Beckley has kind of like put us together, so we are really thankful that we came here," she said.


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