“The difference yet familiarity is captivating. But again, thats my experience.”
I have always wondered why some people bash India, some people are super patriotic, some are right in the middle, and so many other variations. Regardless of where you are from and where you grow up, we all have our own opinions of our motherland, and nobody is right or wrong. Our definition of our country, is our experience with it; this can be applied in many other avenues as well. If we ever question the “why” I believe understanding personal experiences will help us learn about one another, and help us to be less judgmental, more encouraging, and uplifting.
For example, I find that many people who grow up on the Western side of the world have more of an affinity towards India and Indian culture, because thats what gave them identity. Now I can’t speak for all, only for myself. For me I was definitely THE Indian Girl growing up. I was always asked about my culture and all the questions about being from an Indian heritage. In my case, gave me a sense of belonging that I belonged somewhere, especially since I may not have necessarily looked or have families that behaved like those around me. For that reason, when I go to India I love it(and I explained all my thoughts on not comparing countries in another article) mainly because I see familiarity. I think that my patriotism for India comes from the fact that it gave me identity growing up and gave me comfort that I belonged somewhere. Every-time I would hear people here speak highly of India, it gave me a sense of pride. Of course now that I am grown I have more of an understanding about the country, it’s history, current political environment;and a subject I love to study.
Growing up visiting India, the little familiarities and sense of belonging made a difference. When you tell someone your name you don’t have to spell it out because they know how to say it. Seeing all the festivals we attempt at replicating, live in action. Seeing the culture in action. Eating the same foods we eat at home and seeing familiarities in cuisine, or people vegetarian. Seeing villages or fields that we might see in movies. Hearing your native language spoken. The difference in seeing these things on larger scale, ( doing Durga Puja in your basement vs seeing it in Mumbai) yet familiarity with the idea of it, is captivating. But again, thats my experience.
That is an experience of seeing and experiencing the best of both worlds. However I have met many people who do not see or amplify the same things someone like me may see in India. I have met people who might not have experienced the best life in India; hence they move to a different country. There are so many factors to contribute to someone’s experience. From many people I hear that the day to day life is harder there and was harder growing up. Simple luxuries such as running hot water, 24/7 electricity, being able to drive without hassle, are a few of many factors that pulled people to explore other countries. Along with bigger factors such as better opportunities, the idea of equal opportunity(although this actually exists in every country) and many others.
Neither perspective can be judged as right or wrong, because both experiences of the same country are unique to the individual. Similarly there are many variations of stories of people and their Indian experience. There also people who grow up here, who unlike me, are ashamed of their culture because they weren’t accepted as easily growing up. There are SO many stories from every Indian who has grown up here and traveled, I am just sharing general perspectives from those who I have come across on my journey.
So before we judge someone else for being “too western”, “too Indian”, or too whatever, we should seek to understand, and encourage. I believe we are all here on our unique journey of life, and we all seek different experiences to shape us into who we are meant to become.
“The Indian Girl”
Connect with me on Instagram: Meri Sanskriti,would love to hear from you and your experience!