Millenials. Coconuts. Bit of this, bit of that. Some of us emrace their Asian side a bit more than others and I think we’re all just a bit doolally and a tad confused. It can sometimes be a bit of a battle with the things you want and complying to what you’ve inherently been taught your whole life.
I was watching a stand up video by Nish Kumar who said that there are certain areas in the UK where the Indian Pale Ale is embraced, but there are actually no Indians- he of course was using humour to highlight gentrification in society, but hey ho. This sparked me thinking about the internal conflict we young British Asians sometimes have when making major life decisions and things we have to consider, so cheers for that Nish. Fun Times…
As a third generation British Asian (Indian), you would think we are the generation that has the balance down. Third generation means that I am the third generation to live in the UK (my Grandparents were the first) and my parents are my gateway to anything what I want with a boundary. There is an unspoken boundary that us young British Asians know we can’t cross, but the rules are a tad blurry.
It is quite amazing how the British way of life was embraced without losing the core flavour that makes us Indian. From this come the unspoken boundaries that we know that we can and cannot cross. For example, dating, for a lot of us, can seem fairly secretive. I mean a lot of us go through full relationships and heartbreak and our parents don’t have a flipping clue. We only really tend to go ahead with formal introductions when we’re very serious with someone. It’s hard to understand, but it’s to do with respect and let’s be real, your parents aren’t going to be bothered unless you’re marrying them. Some parents are more chill than others and it all depends on how you want to go about it. Nowadays we can pretty much marry who we want (preferably someone with the same cultural background), but there is still that level of respect and standard when choosing a life partner which may still seem old school, but that’s just the way it is. Of course these examples vary from person to person, family to family.
As I’ve grown older I have gone through phases where I accept my Indian side more than others. I never really saw it as an issue in school because my best friends (even though they aren’t British Asian) understand and are very accepting of the Indian culture. They are intrigued by our values and culture and even call my Dad Papaji!
Let’s take music, for example, sometimes a heavy bhangra beat is the only thing that will sort me out (even if I only partially understand what they’re saying) and others it’ll be a a bit of Queen. It is all about your mood and of course everyone is different. But it does raise the question of whether or not we should be more Indian, less Indian. The truth is we’re still finding the balance ourselves.
‘Indian Pale Ales, but no Indians’ Nish Kumar
Having come from the small town of humble Burton Upon Trent and moving to London, my cultural knowledge (and confusion) has gone through a shockwave. I’m not here to write a guide on how to live our lives as British Asian. I’m just simply trying to articulate that there are definitely different processes when your native culture is embedded in a country that has different ones. Hopefully that came across a bit in this and you get what I’m trying to say. If not, watch this space for part 2 haha. Haha?