Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Beyond Culture.

One of the biggest challenges in modern times is keeping the family values and traditions moving forward and appreciated. In some ways a sustainable development of its unique culture and heritage. 

As kids get wiser and smarter, we as parents are often faced with the question, what is our culture? While this question is more visible in immigrant families, I believe it holds true for natives too.   

The kid is learning about ancient civilizations now, and India is the last one they will study. Am I looking forward to it. Of course I am, its a legitimate opportunity for me to gloat about all that India has offered to the world from the zero to the science of Ayurveda to the modern Fin. I am however dreading the question, What is Indian culture? Most Indian parents start off by saying its about how the family sticks together and they prove this by restating the fact that Indians pay for the college, marriage, honeymoon, and if they can the first house too. And by doing so, most of us immigrant parents fulfill our moral duty of being Indian and taking care of our kids.   

Is that really what Indian Culture is?  Do any of us really know how to answer that question? I know I don't. Culture is yet another word that is often defined individually.  

Last Thursday, I missed the blogpost as I was busy being a mom and getting some kids ready for their performance at the school cultural show. It's an annual event of brilliant performances, good food and friendships. It's a happy fun evening for all.  On the face it looks simple, get a few kids, make them perform, order food, plan the seating and voila you have a cultural show, but like most beautiful moments in life, there are many small moments that go into making this gala event possible and for the school it was many volunteers and hours that made it happen.  

The International Samosa
For a few moments, I took the time to go outside and have a bite. As I sat eating, I saw the longest line at the Samosa counter, and then I counted, out of the fifteen people standing in line, only 3 were Indian. I kept looking and mumbled to myself; "Samosa is International." 

This trivial realization was the inspiration behind this blogpost.   

The two hour school cultural show silently brought forward elements beyond the singing and dancing. The school talent show for the kids and by the kids can teach us adults a lesson or two. I saw kids cheering for their class mates. They did not care if their act was selected or not. They were just happy to see their friends perform so well. They are creating a new culture. A culture that will adopt the  best of the world they live in. It is interesting how we as selfless little beings grow up to be adults that snear before cheer.  

Culture to the talent show and students was about the music and dance. For the parents it was  about the variety of food and bringing out their beautiful ethnic clothes.  The community on the other hand saw the sense of belonging. It was about crossing the geographical boundaries to truly adapt and adopt the world we live in. 

The eastern world claims to have a culture deep seated in spirituality and traditions and thus making it more stable and honorable.  The USA just like its counter eastern countries is an amalgamation of different cultures and traditions. Just as India was invaded by many, the natives in the USA did not have it easy either. They were invaded too.

The key difference between the eastern and western world is beyond culture. It is patience and humility that differentiates the cultures and like humans, it is about the age factor :) 

As we grow old, we learn to be more patient. We understand the value of humility and empathy. The younger generation is often blamed for being selfish, arrogant and yet brilliant for they have the power to define the future. The same is true for countries. As a country matures, it learns patience. It learns to understand the world and choose its friends wisely.  The youthful nature of USA is reflected in its capability to adapt and accept any culture.  Its continued inventive and creative thinking to improve the world we live in demonstrates its brilliance.

Today, as I wrap up the moments from the cultural show, I hope the "sense of belonging" to the school continues not only for the students but for the parents too.

Culture today is about accepting, being humble and sharing ideas, vision and resources towards the common goal of bringing out the best in our world. 


  1. I love to read your blog, I don't always get to, but what I do I am always amazed at your spirit ,and your way of making us all,Feel like Alice looking through the looking glass of life! Keep up the great work!

  2. Thank you! I definitely looking to my looking glass every so often. It helps! Thanks for visiting and posting too.