"I am a Hindu, with no cross or crescent, no church or mosque, no covenant with one true god, no commitment to the doctrine of sola scriptura. There is no exact equivalent for 'religion' or 'race' in my mother tongue. Multiple languages and writing systems--Bengali, Hindi, English--have formed the ideas, including that of race and religion, that I carry with me. What happens when race is not inherited at birth, but acquired, even chosen, later in life? What happens when you get race after you arrive as an immigrant to the United States? Throughout this book I will use the odd formulation of getting race because I want to show you how I once perceived race as an alien object, a thing outside of myself, a disease. I got race the way people get chicken pox. I also got race as one gets a pair of shoes or a cell phone. It was something new, something to be tried on for size, something to be used to communicate with others."