The issues that I went through with my own culture grew as I did, and when it came time for the standard college age, there was an expectation from my parents that I would go to University, and I would follow in my fathers footsteps, become a doctor and progress our family. Instead, I began a relationship with the epitome of a white woman, grew my hair longer, and began working as a roofer. This of course let to a lot of contention between myself and my parents. There would be no way that any son of theirs would become a roofer. But for me, I found I liked the work, and that I didn’t really want to be stuck in some boring office doctor’s job that wouldn’t make me happy.
That seemed to be the last straw for my contention with our culture from my parents though. They decided that I needed to understand exactly what it was for us to be who we were, and from where we were. So they decided it was time to book a flight back to India, and for me to get a better idea of the place that I seemed to ready to abandon. I remember being dreadful of the trip, thinking of all those people, the smells, the crazy lifestyles, and I’m pretty sure that I even altered all of my memories from that area so much, that everyone there would just be a walking caricature of who they really were.
When we landed, we went to go see family, we went to temple, we did tourism stuff, as it was also the first time my parents had been there since I was young as well. And I’m not going to go into some big revelation story where it was the most beautiful place I had ever seen, and there was some giant spiritual awakening, I had learned that it was very different from what I remembered, and the place that I had envisioned it being, but I also learned, that I was happy with my life in the US, and that I was fine with not being a resident in this busy bustling city. I like the quiet nights in Louisville, and the people, and even some of the racist stupid jokes I made at my own expense, I was happy with my life.
But I also learned that I didn’t have to totally abandon that part of myself, the roots of where I came from, cause it really wasn’t all that bad. The food was good, the majority of people were really nice, and there was some really beautiful sights to see. It’s a country rich in history and steeped in culture, much like my new home country, and I could appreciate both for what they were without having to automatically dislike the other. Maybe, if you’re an immigrant you may feel the same, or feel you need to hold on tight to your heritage, but the truth is, you can have both.