Thoughts of an Indo-American
(An article by Nupur Shah - Freshman at Reynolds High School.)
People always ask me about my culture, my family and where I come from, and I always find myself struggling to explain. When people ask me where I’m from, do I say New Jersey, or do I say Gujarat? How do I explain Hinduism, how do I tell them that I don’t speak “Indian”? Being an Indian-American teenager is very complicated, yet wonderful, and I always find myself struggling to balance both of the unbelievable cultures I’m part of. It’s rather easy for me to understand the culture and society of America, considering it is my home, but to be able to embrace my parents rich and important culture would not have been IUCA has introduced me to other families like my own, and allowed me to be around other young people who know how being Indian-American feels. How should I explain the struggle of Indian food every night, the smell of saffron that seems to follow me everywhere, or my love of Manish Malhotra dresses to my friends at school? The unfortunate answer is: I can’t. It’s really nice to know and be around other people who understand this side of me, and I’ve been able to really meet the best people. I believe it’s very important to spread my culture and heritage to others so that they have the opportunities I do. The beautiful festivals- with intricate symbolic rituals and vibrant colors-are something I really enjoy. Vedic culture is one of the oldest cultures on the planet, and the fact that it’s still alive and well is an extreme token of pride for India. I personally am very proud of where I come from, and organizations like IUCA help me share all the greatness of my culture and it’s festivals with all the people around me. Every Diwali and India Fest, I invite friends to watch and experience a little bit of India, and they never fail I’ve been part of IUCA for about 10 years now, and I’ve made strong friendships, grown to love dance, and made memories of a lifetime. I cannot express how thankful I am. I know that no matter how much I grow, who I grow to be, where I find myself, or what I find myself doing, I’ll never forget the excitement and preparation that went into Diwali every late fall or India Fest every early summer. I’ll never get tired of watching my old dance performances with my friends or remembering the nervous excitement we all shared before we stepped out onto the stage. I’ll never forget throwing Holi and water at everyone or even breaking all of my dandiyas. The opportunities and experiences that IUCA has provided me with are priceless.