You're Not Indian
- By Ashish Joy
- Published 11/15/2005
Ashish Joy is a 22 years old Malayalee Christian. He is a Theology Major at Portland Bible College in Oregon State, USA. Ashish Joy is a musician, a writer and enjoys computers. Above all, he loves God with devoted passion and desires to see Christians rise up to become world-changers and trend-setters in the ministry and in the marketplace.
People have said to me before that I'm too disconnected from my culture. Within myself I know I'm too connected to my culture for them to say that, but in the way I do things and in the way I live, I could pass off for one who is really not connected to my culture.
I never learned Malayalam or Hindi properly. I can speak enough Malayalam to communicate to my grandparents, but I can't read or write anything other than English, and a bit of French I learned in high school. I love Indian food more than anything else, but I think this has more to do with my mom's cooking than anything else. I'll probably expect my kids to be super smart and get straight A's in school, even though I despised that burden placed on me growing up.
All in all I'll probably be more connected to my culture than I think. It's almost as if I forget sometimes who I am, where I was born, and how my family is. There are tangible differences between me and the average North American. I have to live with the fact that I'm raised between two different cultures. Sometimes I love my Indian culture so much I ask myself how I can stand anything else. Other times I love the North American culture so much, that I ask how I managed to have an Eastern mindset in the Western Hemisphere.
My family travelled around so much that I can truly say I'm from nowhere. I was born in India but I left when I was really young. I lived in the Middle East for 4 years, but I only went to kindergarten there. I'm Canadian by naturalization, but I finished high school in the US. I lived in the US for over 6 years, but I'm not an American citizen. So I would ask myself the question, "Where am I from?"
The clashing of the cultures rage within me daily. Indians expect me to be Indian, while Americans are surprised I'm so American. To me there almost is a blur. I see my Malayalee friends speaking Malayalam to their parents, yet my parents never spoke to me in Malayalam, rather they spoke in English. I know a little bit of Hindi to impress people, but not even enough to hold a decent conversation. My friends ask me if I like a particular food dish, speaking in Hindi or Malayalam, and I have to ask them to explain to me what they're talking about, only later to find out that I've eaten that before.
It's a challenge for me. Almost like I'm stuck. Nowhere to hide. I can't go back to India, because I don't know the way of life properly. I sometimes feel out of place in North America, because it's like I don't know if people look at me funny. It's hard, but multi-cultural people experience it all the time.
I for one am honored to be Indian, but I'm also thankful that I live here in North America. I love my people, but I also understand that I love the American way of life as well. It's this balance that I have to come to grips with. As I mature and grow I'm learning to re-assess, and re-think my whole perspective. Butt Nugget. Harrrrrrr!