For Indian wives in the USA

You have to embrace a culture before judging it.
Everyone has some or other friend, relative, or a faraway uncle/aunt living in the United States. What image of the US do you have from them? Did you think about the country that never sleeps? Runs on luxuries, $$$, late nights, parties and booze? Well, that’s generally what we think of it. However, the USA is more than that. You have to live in this place and blend in to understand the essence of it.
And No, I am not ‘for’ or ‘against’ India. It’s not the question of superior who and who not. I am not even comparing the two countries. You can never compare.
It’s like comparing garden and the forest.
A garden is always very organized and beautiful, pleasing to the eye. Which flower and what foliage grows where, everything is carefully planned and manicured to keep it in sync. But, forest is forest. It has a different kind of enchantment.
I am just talking with an open mind; the good changes that happened in my life by living in USA.
– I am more Indian in USA than I was when I was in India:

In my first year of being here, meeting an Indian was a fascinating thing for me. My husband’s colleagues were mainly Indians. So, we had a great circle of people. In India, every state has a unique way of celebrating their festivals. For instance, Gujaratis do it the Gujju way and they have no idea or inclination to learn more about everyone else’s festivals or how they are celebrated. Here, we celebrated all of those which I never got a chance to do in India because here, there were no ‘south Indian’ or ‘North Indian’- we were all Indians.
In my growing up days, the dishes my mom made were mostly Gujarati. Here, I learnt different dishes authentically from our friends. I even learnt to make Gongura which is a very common south Indian bhaji, and when I told her, my mom was like “what on earth is that?”
It was actually Onam when my husband and I were on our Saturday Temple visit tradition. There was a program going on where kids of temple volunteers would perform dances, skits, and songs. The thing that caught my attention the most was the Veena performance. It was a long 11-minute pure instrumental performance and 7-8 school girls played Veena in a synchronous harmony. It was such a soulful music, that it literally gave me goosebumps and tears (kind of proud happy ones). And then there was the Bharatnatyam performance.
When I was in India, I never listened to instrumental music. I listened to rock music, and it all felt crap now, because for the first time I felt like I was listening with my heart.

– Discipline is not a goal, it is way of living:

I moved out of my parents’ house right after 12th Grade for college. I lived in hostel for 4-years and my peers who were early early birds were looked down as if they came from stone-age. We never had a schedule, a habit or a self-discipline. I admit my habits were way spoilt with engineering college. We also used to mock the people who thought we should get in tune. Because, of course, schedules and routines are for old people. We like to surprise us.
Here, I met my husband’s workmate. She was my age. She goes to bed at 8 pm and wakes up at 4 am to train for narathon. It has been her schedule since a long time. Many more Non-Indian people I met, they have a routine. Come what may, they sleep when they have to; they wake up and have daily fitness schedules and healthy eating plans. It’s not about considering them better. I appreciate how they take time for themselves for their health and fitness
This is where I want to talk about self-love. When you say, “main apni favorite hoon” and “loving yourself”, we have this strange hard-wired impression about it that we mean buying tonnes of clothes and makeup and pamper yourself. If you love yourself, then you take care of yourself. If you buy an expensive pair of stilettos that you love so much, you take care of it. You wipe it clean, never leave it lying on the floor, and you always make sure you don’t wear them in dirty muddy places. It’s the same thing with yourself too. If you love yourself, then you do everything to keep you in good shape and good health and feel good about yourself. Self-love is not selfish. It is a highly respectable thing to do for you.

– I found Inner peace:

Being born and brought-up in India, we never had the concept of solitude. We lived with our parents and grand-parents. We were always surrounded by friends and relatives and neighbors. Everything we did was with a consideration of society.
When I came here, I was planted into solitude. Because, it would be days I would see another human being other than the husband  and you don’t tend to make new friends unless you go to school together or work together. I used to feel alone but also I am not a phone person. I spent my time reading good books and walking around nature trails. I got a lot of time to be alone with my thoughts, wrote journals and spent time to pursue my hobbies.

As Sadguru says,
“If you are bored in your own company, who else could you possibly entertain?”

This is what changed everything for me. I found my own company very pleasing and comforting. Mind is a powerful thing. And only when you are alone with yourself and see yourself from outside you, you know how much strength you have to lean upon yourself. If you conquer that feeling, nothing in this world can bring you down.
I used to observe a lot of people in the library and on the trails. They are simply happy. There would be hours they spent on the trails. I never recall my mom-dad ever did that or had any time to spend like that. What is it that makes them so calm and composed?
Loneliness expresses the pain of being alone, and Solitude expresses the glory of being alone.
So if you are planted somewhere, it’s your choice to bloom there or be buried under the ground.

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7 Comments

  1. I really like how you put into perspective that it is important to learn to be alone and find ourselves and our journey. In my case I have found little by little how to love myself more and how to take care of myself more now that I am a SAHM. It can be very lonely at times but also you have the freedom to look within.

  2. How exciting to come to a new country, and discover so many new things about your home country! The US is such a melting pot! It’s also nice to read that you’ve found peace and a sense of self-love.

  3. What an inspiring story. I found your quote, I was more Indian in the US than in India. I feel like it is important to stick to your roots. The US is great-ish, but there’s nothing like staying true to your roots and inviting others to learn.

  4. Beautiful observations n realizations! Brilliant post! I too value company of nature n solitude a lot, it really adds quality n richness to ones mind n soul⚘

  5. This is such a great post! It can be so lonely here. My family always lived together (in an apartment building on separate floors), and my grandmother lived in our split level growing up, so it wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized how much I craved having generational family around!

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