White on the inside: The confused immigrant

I’ve been here ONE week. Just one.

I kid you not, in my mind, I’m a white person. I absolutely look like them, no doubt. Seriously, none.

I’m watching tv, I see absolutely nothing different. Nothing extraordinary.

I’m walking around in the mall today and there is no shadow of doubt in my mind that I look like all the other people walking right past me. Shorts, t-shirt, flip flops.


Till I walk up happily to starbucks to get a coffee and out of my mouth comes the thickest Indian accent.

Ohhhhhhh, that’s what I was missing!! A reality check.

I’m brown. B-R-O-W-N.

It’s not just me. It was also the aunty in Macy’s who stared me down, like how dare I buy a ticket to the US. It’s all of us who travel abroad for ‘the summers’. It’s for the time warped immigrant who came and settled in the promised land.

Identity crisis epidemic. Temporary escape from reality. Reads like a mental health advert.

Everywhere in the world there are massive immigrant populations who make that country their home and their own. But there are few as enthusiastic as Indians, to discard their identities. And their colour.

A quick look in the mirror and a short conversation with the starbucks guy will reassure you of your identity.

Point in case: Pammi Aunty who visits ever so often from the US bearing a suitcase full of made in China gifts. She’s wearing her salwar kameez from 1989, still sports a horrendous perm and wants to eat chaat. Familiar?

In my observation, all the Indians who left India, got warped in the year they left. (Unless of course, you visit every year).

Say suppose you left when puff sleeve polyester suits were in fashion, that’s what you’re still wearing( trust me I have THAT relative also). *le sigh*

I don’t want to rain on your parade Pammi Aunty, but get with the program. I travel everywhere and I don’t want your size 14 hand-me-down from the clearance rack at Walmart. Also, India is in the year 2017, so you might want to catch up??

So basically what I’m trying to say is…… I discovered I’m not a white person. And neither is my relative with the puffy sleeves. 

No matter where we travel, where we live, our identities are strong. It’s great to mingle but don’t blend. We have a very vibrant culture and heritage. Something that shouldn’t be hidden by that sketchy accent you tend to develop over a few years.

Go ahead and learn new things and bring in relevant change. 

But don’t forget your roots, where you came from, where your mom dad came from. Don’t forget your daal chawal, churma or dosa. It’s not cool.

Because no matter what, you’re only white on the inside and very brown on the outside.

Peace out.

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