My blog has been woefully neglected over the last couple of months. The truth is that I’ve been struggling to relate with my British Asian audience, and indeed my British Asian- self. Since starting up this blog, I’ve come to realise that I am myself not a typical British Asian at all. I don’t watch Bollywood films, listen to Hindi music or much Bhangra. I don’t tweet in Punjabi or go to big family functions over the weekend.
But then I asked myself: are these things what define one as being British Asian these days?
What about the fact that I was born in the Indian subcontinent, was raised by Asian parents, identify with other Asians, love Indian food, clothes and culture, am passionate about Asian issues and the British Asian community?
But then there are days when I feel so disgusted with the double standards of our community. The pressure to conform, the expectations of our parents that stem from their desire to maintain some link to the mother-land and keep up appearances with relatives back home. Sometimes I love how freeing it is to also be a bit British. By marrying out of the community, I have none of the drama that comes with Asian in-laws, I am free to raise my daughter as I wish. I am free to make my own decisions about whether I work, cut my hair, attend functions or not. (All of these do come with stick that I get from my own parents, but deep down they know that as a married woman, they no longer have that kind of control over me.)
Oh but the conundrum is that some days, when I’m with my English friends, I feel like an on-looker, even an intruder. Did you know I ate my first Yorkshire pudding when I was in my 20’s? I was raised on rice and curries for goodness sake! There is so much about being British (or English) that is often completely alien to me.
I guess being of two cultures will always mean that you identify with both but never solely with either one. You get the delicious experience of dipping in and out of both, which often makes you feel like you belong to neither but gives you the advantage of taking or leaving the bits you do and don’t like.
My daughter is mixed race. When she was little I worried that it would be hard for her to understand her identity and the fact that she belongs to two different cultures. But it seems that I myself have had some experience in this- all my life in fact. So maybe I can give her a helping hand with it all…..
Do you belong to two (or even more) cultures? Are you in a mixed race marriage? I’d love to hear your experiences.
Read my response to this post “What Kind of Asian are You?”