Saturday, November 16, 2013

Let Us Accept the New Ways


America, the USA is a country of immigrants. They came here to get more education, and then decided to stay, Often they come to the US as refugees. The immigrants say that they want their children to have better lives. At the back of their minds, they pine for the country they left behind. They want children to hold on to their, the parents' dream.

Recently, I read a story about a Somalian family which fled Somalia and settled in Norway. The parents talked about their Somalian roots with the children. Some years later the family made a trip to Somalia; except for the older child, the rest of the children aborted their Somalia trip to return to the comforts of their home in Norway.

The first generation immigrants stay connected with their country of birth as well as with the country they adopted.

In my last post a reader reminded me that descent and heritage are different---yes, sir, I stand corrected.

After writing this post, I thought of Britain, France, Portugal and other countries who went into other countries for economic as well s political gains and then stayed on. Talking about India, the British left behind their language, the railways, the postal system and the parliamentary system, lots of monuments and history. I wondered, if the British who were born in India but went back to their ancestral country, Britain, ever pine for India? Well, they took Chai and spices, a few words of Indian languages, a taste for Indian foods, and a lot of immigrants to their country. The English have made movies with Indian themes and actors. India remains a place to visit to rekindle memories.


Let Us Accept the New Ways

unison = together
diya = lamp with a wick that is dipped in oil 

Seven-year-old twins, Suchi and Soori changed into their pajamas and talked about their day.

Suchi said, "It was fun to take part in the Indian play at the India Society's function."

"Yep, did you hear the claps we received after the skit ended?"

Suchi agreed, "People liked our play."

Soori went under her warm covers, "They better like out stuff, they were all the parents." 

Suchi sat on the bed by Soori's feet, "Are you tired of all the Diwali stuff we have been doing?"

Throwing the covers off, Soori sat up, "I am Diwali-ed out." 

Both the girls burst into laughter.

They heard a knock on their door, Suchi rushed back to her bed, the twins slipped under covers. They looked at the door as it slowly opened.

Their older sister, eleven-year-old, Sapna peeked in, "Hey twins, what's the joke?"

Suchi sat up in the bed, "Didi, we are Diwali-ed out."

Soori joined her, "That's right, we want to be Americans."

Sapna said, "True, we are all Americans with Indian descent."

"With an Indian Heritage."

"Nope, heritage is of things, remember?" 

Sapna smiled, "Now you know two new words, heritage and descent, cool."

Suchi said, "Yeah, but Soori made a new word, we are Diwali-ed out."

"Are we going to do more Diwali stuff, Didi?"

Sapna sat on Soori's bed, "No Soori, not until next year." 

Suchi plopped down on the same bed, "Wheeeee--let's all celebrate by jumping on Soori's bed." She saw the frowns on Sapna and Soori's faces, "I guess, that's a bad idea." She sat by Sapna on the same bed. 

Fifteen-year-old, Sagar heard the commotion, "Hey, girls, what are you cooking now?"

"No cooking, this is not a kitchen."

Sapna said, "Suchi, he wants to know what are we discussing?"

Sagar pulled a chair by the bed, "What's going on? Mom and Dad have gone out, I am in charge, don't make any trouble for me or yourselves."

"The twins are Diwali-ed out."

Sagar counted on his fingers, "Diwali-ed out, huh? Let's see what did we do, we had the Lakshmi pujan-we prayed for the ability to use money wisely, we saw an Indian uncle start a new book of accounts, we lighted fire crackers, we lighted diyas to spread light everywhere, that's the light of knowledge, we had more fire crackers and loads of sweets, to celebrate a Diwali-party with our friends, we had a skit about one of the stories from the Hindu mythology and---"

Suchi and Soori said in unison, "Enough. We are Diwali-ed out."

Sagar said, "I agree, I am too."

Soori said, "Let's do something American."

Sagar said, "Girls, we do these things to learn about some of the Indian ways."

Suchi said, "But we live in America."

"True. It's always a good idea to learn about where the parents came form.""

Sapna said, "Okay, girls, let's be Americans. Halloween comes in three days. Have you thought of your costumes?"

"I want to be a pirate."

"I will be a witch." 

Sagar said, "I'll wear suit and wear my glasses to be a professor."

Sapna said, "Hmm..I am already thinking about Thanksgiving."


© 2013, Meera Desai Shah

1 comment:

  1. Cute story. My daughters will take any opportunity to celebrate whether it is rituals like Halloween, American holidays, or Hindu religious festivals. I was really impressed by how patient they were at the temple for Diwali. We recently visited the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor. They showed remarkable reverence at that site as well. Unfortunately the introductory video raised too many questions about sailors, soldiers and airman died and why the Empire of Japan attacked the area.