Lost At Sea

Felt lost in the current movement on racial equity. It has triggered a deeper reflection on the influence of culture and society on many identity.

We are not all Black. I am not white. The colour of my skin may not be white, however we grew up with many of the privileges that many white people have.

I am Indian, however I do not identify as fully Indian, as others who may look like me do. Most of my friends are not Indian. I do not enjoy Bollywood movies and could not name more than a handful of actors if I had to. While I enjoy Indian food, I have become a picky eater, as my mom regularly points out. My interest in Indian holidays, like Diwali and Holi, is more about nostalgia and cherished childhood memories, than it is about any cultural or religious meaning.

My parents immigrated to Canada months before I was born. They have without a doubt done all of the right things to expose my sister and I to our Indian culture.

We took Hindi language lessons on Saturday mornings for years, despite our reluctance as kids. Our family friends were mostly other Indian families with kids our age. I have countless memories of regular gatherings, every weekend. My uncle designed the Hindu temple in Ottawa, the city where I grew up. It was, and still is, a beautiful structure that for a young child can only be described as large and intimidating. We would go there every month or so, and be exposed to a community of people who looked like us. At each life milestone, be it moving into a new house, my parents opening a new business, or the passing of a grandparent, we would host a puja ceremony at home, led by a Hindu priest, in the company of family, friends and Indian food. My parents were active in the Indian community, hosting and organizing events for hundreds of people, a few times per year, at least.

Like I said, my parents did all of the right things to give my sister and I a childhood that was rich in Indian culture. It may have been even more authentic to tradition than if they were still in India. The Indian culture, as practiced by my parents who left India in the 80s, feels frozen in time here in Canada. The distance from home had also inspired a dedication and commitment from my parents that remains admirable to me today.

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