Ever told a white lie to your mates to save yourself the embarrassment of explaining why exactly you can’t just go and drink yourself silly down at the local pub? Explained to your mum that the razor conveniently slipped out of your hand and flew up in the air, slitting your eyebrows? Or perhaps you had to confront the awkward situation of trying to tell your girl that no, she couldn’t just stay over at your place with only one thin wall between your room and Mum and Dad’s.
Living between two contradictive cultures is a challenge no doubt. So which world do we embrace? Do we really have to choose?
To parents, who have left their joint families behind and scraped together pennies when at one time rupees were easy to come by, we are their legacy. Somewhere amidst their struggle to balance unconditional love for a child and unconditional love for the motherland, conditions have been wrought and we have become the vessels that bear the pressures that their parents put upon them, and that they put upon themselves. But have you ever thought that perhaps our parents came here thirty odd years ago with the ideals that existed back in the pinds of India and Pakistan? And funnily enough while India and Pakistan kept moving forward, our parents stayed back in the effort to preserve and protect what they knew best in this Western world. So in their state of delusion, not being on native soil means they and we are repping the billions that they left behind. Shit. What a load of pressure.
Fight or flight. The truth for those who really take the biscuit is that you may win your freedom, but unless your parents suddenly grow hugely expansive minds and now refer to themselves as Harry and Sue rather than Harish and Vasundra, you will lose a little bit of inheritance, some more love and a lot of support from your family. So sadly there are few that stand completely true to personal, instinctive happiness and for these people undoubtedly, consequences like social exclusion and family severance, are a lot to bear.
Well you guys, you must then know the answer to the question of whether we have to choose; nevertheless to make digesting that fact of life a little easier we can take into consideration the word- compromise. Even though I’m sure there’s no translation for it in Sanskrit rooted languages because the word don’t existent in them dictionaries!
Embracing ‘our culture’ does not necessarily mean adopting what our parents impose upon us nor making secret our obsession over that stupid Star Plus soap. Ok maybe that should always remain in the closet, but what I’m saying is that culture is as diverse as you make it and there is nothing wrong with picking and choosing the parts that best suit and enhance your preferred lifestyle.
Individuality has a positive connotation in today’s England. Hiding your culture isn’t something necessary because to be cultural gives you the extra edge in the Western world of today.
Making It Work
To be cultural is sexy.
Think about it; your mate David probably eats more curry than you do. He also probably beats you to the dance floor to ‘screw the light bulb’ when Panjabi MC’s remix of Labh Janjua’s Mundian To Bach Ke plays in the club. Granted it might be once he’s necked a few vodkas and granted he may not have a clue what he’s saying, but trust me the ladies will be eyeing him up.
The point is next time you’re out drinking, smoking and partying hard, the fact that you also fulfil your cultural duties as a good son when you get a first in English or a 2.1 in Artificial Intelligence makes you a lot more of an eligible bachelor to the like minded single ladies. Which I’m sure you know, is what a lot of men want along with long legs, busty boobs and pumping posterior. So, fuck it when you hear “you kanjar, what will the neighbours say” niggling in your ear, be proud to be a master of the art of cultural correctness because that’s what you want, and be proud to be yourself. You see: there is always a valid excuse for being a Besharam.