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A granddaughter and a grandmother try to communicate across generations, languages and phone lines.

2019 Third Coast / Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Competition

2020 / Neena Pathak / Independent, USA

A granddaughter and a grandmother try to communicate across generations, languages and phone lines.

Aaji (Grandma) is in her 90s, proficient in English but more comfortable in Marathi, and hard-of-hearing. Mithu is in her 30s, okay at Marathi (but speaks in a stilted, error-filled, and somewhat childlike way common to many second-generation immigrants), and heartbroken. After Aaji innocently asks if her granddaughter, Mithu, is bringing her "friend" home for the holidays, Mithu struggles - because of the language barrier, her grandmother's difficulty hearing, and the challenge of being on the phone - to translate her heartache. The piece explores how bearing witness to each other in a family context can be hard and fraught, even when it might be worth it.

Click here to listen to this story with subtitles by Radio Atlas.

ROW-cub was produced by Neena Pathak, with actors & translation consultants Nalinee Mehendale (Aaji) and Uma Pathak (Sangeeta-maushi), and engineering by Jake Gorski.

Special thanks to: Stella Tan, Donkey Dover, Nichole Perkins, Bim Adewunmi, Krutika Mallikarjuna, Eleanor Kagan, Mitra Kaboli, Justin Zullo, Megan Detrie, Schuyler Swenson, Michael Simon Johnson, and Priya Mehendale

produced by

Neena Pathak

Neena Pathak (@neenpathak) is an audio producer at The New York Times, where she currently produces the Still Processing podcast. At the 2019 Third Coast Conference, Neena will host a Panel Discussion all about new methods of intertwining documentary, fiction & story for - dare we say it - even truer stories.

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