Hello friends, I took a rather long hiatus, due to traveling almost every week for the past month or so. To be honest, my body and mind have not caught up in getting rest… So when those last few Thursdays rolled around, I just haven’t had the energy to post! (Although, I think I’ve come up with a few good ideas!)
As you may or may not have noticed, I’m not going to continue my year of 30-day trials…. I kind of lost the motivation and ran out of things that I was really eager to try for a month at a time….oops!
Anyways, here is a little something that I wanted to share, something that I experienced on a recent trip… Enjoy!
Growing up Indian in the United States can be confusing. Heck, they even made a movie about ‘ABCD- American Born Confused Desi’. Our immigrant parents raised us to love our culture, but to shy away from sharing too much of it with the outside world. We were to be Indian, and simultaneously American, but not in the hyphenated sense. As a child, I was always proud to be Hindu, proud to be Indian, proud to share what I knew with the world outside (even though my mom would warn me not to). I would take my friends to the room where we kept our shrine, and explain who was represented in each picture, I even made my school friends sit through a three-hour video of my cousin’s super traditional, Bengali wedding that took place in Kolkata. I always viewed these instances as shared learning experiences, moments that I would get to explain my traditions to my non-Indian friends. I cannot explain to you that innocent pride that I felt when I had the opportunity to explain my culture.
Fast forward to college, when I was surrounded by more Desi peers than ever before. Life was different than during my school years. I had more people that looked like me, talked like me, and those that shared my religion. I also got to learn so much more about the other cultures of India, while I was usually pigeonholed into the Bengali aspect of things growing up. And while I attended an incredibly diverse university, I managed to burrow myself in this weird little universe of so many Brown people that when I went back into the real world, it felt like I had to learn to assimilate.
It was also in college where I fell in love, and met my husband- this wonderfully sweet and sensitive, Mexican-American boy. The two of us with our hyphenated selves, have a marriage where we love and share our culture with each other. We recently had the opportunity to travel to Mexico. I think what’s interesting to note, is that as children of immigrants, what we know and love about our own culture is actually quiet limited to what we were taught by our parents. There’s so much of our own heritage that we don’t even know about! Sometimes I feel embarrassed when I can’t answer a question that my husband has, and I will admit, that I expect my husband to know the answers to all of my questions too- which is completely unreasonable- I know!
It’s even more challenging when you’re in a multi-ethnic relationship. You get caught up in your life and your routine. You forget about those Bollywood songs that you still have memorized in your heart, or what it felt like to smell sandalwood incense every morning and night. Being a part of this great melting pot allows us to shift our identities, I am not just an Indian-American, and to use that simple label is inhibiting. Navigating the waters into our own multi-cultural-multi-racial-hyphenated marriage has been an interesting journey. I think it also allows us to explore our unknowns together and continue to melt into what we’re meant to be!