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40 years ago we were fortunate enough to become close friends with an Indian family that had recently arrived in the US. It is one of those friendships that has lasted through the years. As I read Shubha Bala's precious essay, I thought of our dear friends who have always included me in their life even though we live far away from one another. I just got a letter addressed to 'Auntie' and can't begin to expalin how special this makes me feel. We have celebrated national holidays as well as life's ups and downs. My life is much richer as an extended family member of my Indian friends. Among the many things they have taught me through the years is absolute acceptance.