Ever since I got my nano, I have been obsessed with downloading podcasts. Since there isn’t a Sepia Mutiny podcast for me to download (ahem) I do the next best thing and listen to a Desi Dilemma, a podcast by a woman named Smitha Radhakrishnan. This week’s series on ‘Desi Love’ perked my ear up- seeing as how the search for a ‘suitable mate’ is always at the forefront topic for most mutineers (or so it seems).
“There was a clear message from the Indian community about dating, that it was somehow inextricably linked with the most dangerous, scary thing that could befall an ABCD kid; an identity crisis.”
As has been mentioned before on this blog, as an ABCD youth one often had to deal with the projection by your peers that the only people you were expected to date is that one other desi in the school, even though you had nothing in common with them. Forget the fact that you weren’t allowed to date; if you had been, there was no one there for you to date, in the often confusing bi-cultural high school years. For me, this reminds me of senior prom. And prom reminds me of how my mother wouldn’t let me go to prom unless I went with my gay guy friend because only then would she know nothing would happen to me on prom night. How’s that for bi-cultural confusion?
Though in the realm of desi pride now, growing up there was also the conflict of trying to fit in and be as American as possible. I recently received the following e-mail:
I came to US at a young age, I faced discrimination from those who were born here… they acted like they were too good for me…Then as I made closer friendship with Americans to avoid all the bulls***t south Asians were giving, the new comers from south Asia started giving me the same crap. Eventually I became this “white boy” among SAs..Of course, I have learned to deal with such issues as I’ve grown up …But this question has always lingered in my mind… why do SAs hate each other? What makes US born’s better than those who come here? And how is it that those US born’s turn SAs so quickly during college years, and see those whom they disdained for being SA in the first place still as different?
Now that I’m older and in the ivory tower I can use big words like assimilation and racialization to analyze the divide in the generations, but really, when you’re just a kid in school, all you are trying to do is fit in. Being able to analyze this factor of bi-cultural identity now doesn’t make dating for a 20-something female any easier. In fact, knowing the internalized identity issues simply makes searching for love all the more confusing. There’s desi chick lit trying to manuever around it, and I regularly read a various group of blogs by single desi females all talking about similar issues. We are bombarded with desi dating websites, as well as pressure from family. Until that tab for Sepia Destiny is created, what’s a single girl got to do?
As Smitha asks in her podcast, and I’d like to further pose to you on this lazy Saturday afternoon,
“Are there things about being desi that give us a different set of expectations about our love life and our marital lives than our non-Indian peers?”