I was born and raised in the Bay Area. My mom is a physician and my dad is an engineer. Growing up I was taught the importance of culture and origin. But, from a young age my Indian heritage often came 2nd to “fitting in” at my predominantly caucasian schools. The majority of my young adulthood has been spent trying to navigate making Pooris before the first period and picking prom dresses with my friends in the back of our health class. My parents had drilled our Indian celebrations in my head since I was a mere baby and I had done everything since then to replace them with pizza stockings under the tree. But, as the years progressed and I watched my Indian friends learn our mother tongue and attend their bharatnatyam classes, I started to understand why my parents were so adamant on me learning our culture. Growing up was a constant battle between who I was at home and who I was trying to be at school. Thriving in my school environment, but feeling out of place around Indian friends started to make me question everything. Why did I ever suppress my culture? For the longest time I believed that I could only be one thing. The “popular whitewashed Indian” or the “stem kid deeply rooted in Hinduism”. But, now I know that the environment I grew up in merely gave me the option to decide who and what I wanted to be. After countless nights of suppressing my Indian side and overplaying my “whiter” side, I believe that I can be both. In the end, balance is everything. So my question is: why can’t I flip dosas while wearing a poofy, pink prom dress?
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