Haroon Tekrawala is a sophomore at Brentwood School in Sandersville, Georgia. In addition to his penchant for writing and aspiration to become a journalist, he enjoys examining his Indian ethnicity through the eyes of a concerned teenager. He is editor-in-chief of his school’s yearbook, a member of the student council, an essayist for the literary team and a member of the National Honor Society. 

An “ABCD” of a New Sort?  

In today’s age, parents pressurize children into viewing Indian ethics from their perspective during a dynamic era in which Indian culture is ever-changing...” 

An entry in every Indian-American’s lexicon, the term “American-Born Confused Desi” (ABCD) resembles the typical Indian-American teen, who, to first-generation Indians, is completely oblivious to culture and ethics and experts on rap music.

For most Indian-American teenagers, India and its culture are predominantly mirrored images presented to us by our parents, grandparents and the media. With the constant evolution of culture in India the tables may turn and the first-generation “Desis” may “confuse” the second-generation youth. 

In today’s age, parents pressurize children into viewing Indian ethics from their perspective during a dynamic era in which Indian culture is ever-changing. Many a time first generation Indian-Americans fail to acknowledge that Indian culture is much more dynamic and that it transcends folk dances and holidays. Certainly, these traditions form the foundation of Indian cultural history; nevertheless, to define Indian culture with folk dances would obviously prove inaccurate. 

Esha, requested to withhold her identity, claims she can relate to both parents and today’s youth. When asked whether she ever feels that her parents present Indian culture strictly from their perspective, she replied, “I feel it is human nature for one to explain and examine aspects of life based on his or her personal biases.” “My parents, like many others, want me to realize the importance of my heritage and be steadfast in my culture.” She realizes that Indian culture is ever-changing, like others of its kind, and that it is more divided than parents sometimes let on. “At times, I do feel pressurized, but I see beyond what my parents are saying and I realize they have my best interests in mind.” 

Poornima Dara is a resident of Atlanta who immigrated to the United States from Bangalore. She is the mother of two young ladies ages 22 and 14. Dara firmly believes that the fundamentals of Indian-American culture, whether past or present, are mastered through balance. When asked if she feels as if she ever pressurized her children to do well in school, athletics or in any other activity she replied, “No, not at all; I have never pressurized my children to perform well in any aspect of their lifestyles.” “However, I believe it is simply parental duty, regardless of ethnicity, to serve as guides for your children.” Dara explains that through her guidance her children have learned to appreciate their Indian ethnicity while receiving the benefits of an American lifestyle. She continues, “My children are very involved in youth activities; however, I stress they maintain a balance between the two cultures, and in doing so, they have created their own unique lifestyles.” She explains that her family enjoys partaking in activities which are both Indian, such as Diwali, and American. 

When asked about the constant evolution of Indian culture both in North America and even in India, she states that she is “shocked.” Dara clarifies that she was raised with certain values promoting family and togetherness and she is astonished to see that diminishing factor of Indian society evaporate. Dara also blames television and the media for much of the deterioration in India. “Kids in India blindly imitate the drugs and alcohol they see on television in an effort to become ‘westernized’”. 

Clearly, our heritage and culture is not something that we should shun. In a rapidly-changing Indian culture, we must realize how westernized India is becoming while concurrently examining the fundamentals of our homeland.  

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