Th is book has been a long time in the making and has, along the way, gath-
ered a number of debts. I would like, fi rst of all, to thank my in for mants
in New Delhi and the San Francisco Bay Area for their generosity and pa-
tience: so many of them met with me repeatedly for over a de cade and
shared their insights, experiences, anxieties, and aspirations. Expressing
one’s sense of unsettlement is never an easy or comfortable experience
and, in doing so, my in for mants, some of whom became friends over the
years, also shared their sense of vulnerability. I have learned much from
them. Th ey provided me with many examples of how the aff ects that suf-
fuse longings, dreams, anxieties, and fears are generative of agency and of
subjectivity. Like others before them, these in for mants reminded me of
the ways in which coping with the temporalities of everyday life, of learn-
ing to make do, of yearning and despairing, of struggling to change one’s
circumstances, of losing and then regaining hope all represent modes of
making sense of one’s life that are also modes of theorizing one’s place
in the world. Th is, then, has become an objective of all my ethnographic
work: to bring, with deep humility, my in for mants’ modes of theorizing
into conversation with conceptual frameworks that I have developed as a
feminist anthropologist, a scholar of media and public cultures, and a stu-
dent of the transnational and the global.
I must also thank the institutions that provided support for the re-
search and writing of this book. My very fi rst forays into researching this
book were enabled by a seed grant from the South Asia Initiative at Stan-
ford University. Th e conceptualization and initial writing of this book were
supported by a fellowship at the Radcliff e Institute of Advanced Study
at Harvard University. My colleagues at the Radcliff e, chiefl y, Rita Brock,
Cynthia Enloe, Dhooleka Raj, Francesca Sawaya and Vicki Schulz patiently
read and listened to iterations of papers that were later to become chapters.
At Harvard, Michael and Nea Herzfeld, Charles Hirschkind, Engseng Ho,
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