Hi! My name is Shivani Patel and yes…my last name is Patel…how cliche for a Gujarati. Being an Indian in the United States is not very difficult due to the diversity in society. However, a real challenge is keeping connected with our Indian roots.
I was born and raised here in the United States. Much of my generation grows up Americanized. We struggle to stay connected with our Indian heritage.
In the beginning of elementary school, I would take chutney and rotis for lunch, but as I grew up, I started taking peanut butter and bread. I used to oil my hair often…now, I straighten my hair.
Although, I may have chosen to conform to the typical American teenage stereotype; I found new ways to stay in touch with my Indian background. I started doing Bharatnatyam and attending the mandir.
While I still struggle to not forget my Indian roots, I think that there are many new ways to stay in touch. We have organizations like IACA, clubs for Indian children, and cruises/vacations specifically for Indian people.
Many people dislike the idea of Americanizing their children, but it is possible to keep an equal balance of American to Indian. In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with Indian children wanting to fit in if that makes them happy because they will always have their Indian heritage that they can relate back to.
I go to school, I do my homework, I play basketball, I go to Friday night football games, and I hang out with my friends from school. However, I go to Bharatnatyam, I practice, I go to the mandir on Sundays, and I hang out with my friends from the Mandir.
I celebrate the 4th of July, Christmas, and Thanksgiving, but I also celebrate Diwali, Holi, and Raksha Bandhan.
I think we occasionally forget that we have to be willing to adapt to society while still maintaining a balance of our roots and America.