If you don’t know already, I have embarked on a journey to enhance my knowledge of the world. I am doing this by learning about various cultures. For this year, I have created a list of countries/cultures which are in news for a positive reason. For February, I took Nordic countries which include Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Iceland, and Norway. The reason was their ranking on ‘The Happiness Index’. It is always one of the Nordic countries which are the “happiest”. By the way, do you know the results of 2022?
In March, I consumed myself with Spain & Spaniards. The reason for choosing Spain was their health score. You are getting how I have made my list. This year, I will be posting a lot of cultural tidbits from several countries.
But Why Am I Doing This?
Learning how the rest of the world live their lives is the obvious reason. But there is more to the story…
I was born into a mixed culture and have seen how two different communities shape your life. My proud Panjabi dad and devoted Malayali mom have done their best in raising multi-cultural children. Growing up, my grandmothers from both sides shaped my assumptions about the communities at large. During those early years, I saw my paternal grandmother as bold and audacious. Whereas, my maternal grandmother was kind and down-to-earth. They both had one thing in common, “their love for their children and unconditional love for their grandkids”.
Crash course on Indian culture- Panjabi are people from Panjab which is in the North of India. They are famous for their loud and bold personality. They are the life of a party. Physically, they often have a fair complexion & since they love food, they can drift towards a larger build. Malayali are from Kerala which is in South India. People from this region are often very God-fearing and at times a bit introverted. They are also mostly down-to-earth and very studious. Usually, they have a darker complexion & slender figure.
I was born & raised in New Delhi. Anyone who is not familiar with Delhi – it’s the capital of India and is metropolitan at its core. This means that the city has migrants from all over the country. But, even then, I can say that the majority population identifies themselves with some form of Panjab. This means that during those early years, I realized I did not completely belong to either group of people. The journey was not easy but slowly I realized, I had the best of both worlds.
I have the best of the Panjabi genes which means at weddings, I can dance till the beat drops. I am also a Malayali which means I am keeping it real. After I started working in different cities, my mixed culture became a good ice breaker in a conversation. People were always curious to know who I was as they would never be able to guess anything from my last name, city, color, or behavior.
They say you attract people like you and I am 100% sure that it is 100% correct. I got friends from all over the country and today they are all over the world. To enhance this further, life gave me my husband who is American. So after all these years of living in various cities in India, I moved to America.
After moving to America, I found myself in the same crossroads again. Where, at one end, my internal triggers of not belonging were activating, my observations skills on cultural differences were on overdrive.
I was absorbing so much newness that I started to think a lot about culture. In the last few months of being in New York City & traveling to several places within America, I have noticed two main things:
1) There are quirks about everyone’s community that stays with them for good
2)Most people want to live a peaceful loving life.
Today, with social media we can see the culture of people from all over the world. Then why don’t we learn what everyone is doing to keep that homeostasis balance in their lives? We all are taught habits and belief systems from our families. While we may identify with some but there are a few we do not agree with. For example – my Panjabi family always tried to teach me to be brave like a Rajput ( Rajputs are warriors which my cast says we are). But why can’t we accept that we get scared at times? The dog which is barking and running towards me will know that I am a Rajput? My Malayali family tried to teach me to bottle my feelings up but I say, “I will wear my heart on my sleeves”.
I have accepted the best of my cultures. Right now, I am doing exactly that but on a broader level.
The Main Reason –
I have embarked on this journey to know about other cultures in the world to see what is the best querk that I identify. Why don’t I create MY CULTURE which FITS ME PERFECTLY?
Will you ride this cultur express with me?