Yes it’s Amruta not Amy. At no point of time will I ever allow you to call me Amy. Never on my coffee orders will I ever give them a fake name to make it easy. My festivals and food are not just Indian brown thing. Diwali is not Christmas because Christmas is celebrated in India as well. It’s yogurt rice not cottage cheese.
I was inspired to write this article after attending a dance workshop and learning the main theme behind the workshop- to help people embrace their individual identities; especially 2nd gen Indians. It was amazing to see more 2nd gen Indians like myself, advocating the cause through different platforms. One of my core value is unapologetically being yourself, and one example in my case is being Indian in a western world! Not conforming to society because I felt pressured to be like someone else, to but finding your true self, embracing and loving who you are. I think to do that, it requires a lot of self love and courage. Because it’s so easy to give in to peer pressure and lose yourself in pleasing others. A small example which I actually found very surprising was Starbucks names.
A question asked during the workshop “who here says their real name when ordering Starbucks?” I felt like I was the only person in the room who said YES I do! I was quite shocked to see SO many Indians conforming their name! I am the last person to blame anyone for conforming. I think it’s always harder to be the odd one out and it’s takes a lot to have the courage to be different. However I do think now more than ever there is awareness and it is a time to make that change to choose to be different and embrace yourself. You can be Indian and American/Western. You don’t have to pick one or the other.
I think it’s amazing to see more of us Indian 2nd gen’s advocating our culture through different platforms. Because when we were growing up, Indian culture wasn’t as “cool” in the western world. Everyone wasn’t doing yoga and talking about chakras and Diwali. Not every college had Bhangra, Raas, and Classical dance teams. But now that the world is more aware, it does give more comfort for people to allow themselves to be themselves. And I think that the more we be ourselves (be the change!)we can encourage and create a platform for the generations to come to be themselves and embrace their unique culture.
As I said in another blog, we are all ambassadors of our country. It took one person educating another to create awareness of our culture. And I think it’s each one of our responsibilities to choose to educate the next person on our culture. I know I personally feel like an ambassador many times, everyone I go anywhere I leave someone a little bit more culturally aware.
So next time you face an encounter,choose to tell people how to correctly pronounce your name, tell them what food you eat or festival you celebrate. Choose to be you and embrace yourself including your cultural heritage.
“The Indian Girl”
Connect with me on Instagram: Meri Sanskriti,would love to hear from you and your experience!