Posts Tagged ‘pride’

The Proud Indian Wedding

November 7, 2012

It’s such an amazing and incredible feeling, I just have to write about it and share it with everyone. Especially with all the other NRIs like myself who have left their beloved India, moved abroad, and made a life there. I too moved to DC about ten years ago. Met and fell in love hopelessly with my beautiful ‘now-wife’ Angie. And ever since, we have lived happily with our two kids Josh & Jennifer, here in America.

But what is the reason for my extreme happiness? Well, ever since I left India I have missed it immensely. I have never hidden this fact. My parents back in Aurangabad, the friends I grew up with, the smells and sights of my childhood, which was a very happy one; everything about my India – the people, the places, and the incidents, I have missed. Unfortunately, Angie and my schedules have never quite matched, and we have seldom been able to go back, together. Mostly we just send the kids to their grandparents, and then I make the odd trip back home. But never has there been a real opportunity for Angie and me to travel back to India, together.

And that’s the opportunity that’s finally here. My sister is getting married in Delhi. And we are all packed to leave for India, not just for the wedding, but for two extra weeks. And the excitement is just unbeatable. The best part is, not just me, Angie too has been waiting for something like this to happen for a long time. And just the thought that it’s finally going to come true, is truly exciting for both of us.

So what do I have planned? The bottom line is to show off my beautiful country, its traditions, food, sights, and weddings, to the hilt. And share all of this together as a family. The festivities will kick off with the wedding itself – The music, dancing, the beautiful traditional ceremonies of the Mehendi. All the regal & elaborate clothes. The yummy ‘shaadi’ food. It’s going to be a treat. And then, after the wedding when my sister and her newlywed husband are off to their honeymoon; Angie, the kids & I will take my parents and head down south to the backwaters in Kerela!

Just spend some quality family time together on a house boat, while we soak in the pristine scenery and charm of the mesmerizing backwaters. Eat the yummy South Indian food. Get drunk on some rustic toddy. And do all the things that I love to do in my country. It’s going to be one heck of a trip. And I can’t wait for Angie, Josh and Jennifer, to get this dose of Indian flavors!

 

Wearing Traditional Indian Clothes

October 31, 2012

My parents moved here to the US about two decades ago. And while they are still NRIs, I am very much a born and raised girl in America. From the time I was born, my parents insisted I was aware and respectful of our native Indian culture. We would come back to India to see my grandparents and extended family at least once every two years; with the trip mostly around Diwali and Durga Puja, since Durga Puja is of great significance to us Bengalis.

While I was happy to embrace my ethnicity, my ‘inherited’ Indian-ness has not always been easy to handle. I don’t mean to belittle all the love and care my parents have given me; but sometimes I think it is hard for parents to relate to the problems us teenagers go through. That may be because they lived and grew up in a simpler time. And certainly in the case of my own parents, they grew up in Kolkata, in India. But for me, and I know many other teens like me of Indian origin; maintaining and subscribing to our native identities, is hard. High school can be a mean and judgmental place. And this I found out when I started wearing regular Indian clothes to school here in the US.

My normal salwar-kameez, or even Bengali sarees I would love to and want to wear to special occasions at school; would be made fun of. We seem to live in a post 9/11 world that is not only harsh, but also ignorant at times. The perception in a large part of the Western World is quite skewed. Anything in a turban is a terrorist, anything in a kurta is a Paki. I have had to face all these slurs and more. There were times I would really sob and fight with my parents. They too were at a loss for how exactly to console me.

I guess it all boils down to a few things. One; you learn to be a bit thick-skinned. In fact the sooner you learn that, the better it is for you. Two; you make a group of friends that are either from similar ethnicity, or better still, with the few international students that are ‘aware’ and mature. And three; you just find it in you to embrace your culture with a pride that forms an armor around you. An invisible, metaphorical cocoon where you stay confident, proud, and unaffected. In the last few months, I have been able to do this. How? Because India is rising. The world is taking notice. And that is fast changing the way we are perceived, the world over.

Wearing traditional Indian clothes has become a euphemism for the immense pride I feel about my heritage and my home country. I am an Indian, and that is my proud identity!


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