More Annoyed than Amused

Shop Talk

Posted by parsingtime on August 3, 2007

In a store in Bandra where my flatmate Gina was trying on clothes. It was a women’s clothing store but like most places in India only men were working at it.

Shopkeep: You are Indian yes?
Me: Yes.
Shopkeep: And you speak Hindi
Me: No.
Shopkeep: Where are you from.
Me: US
Shopkeep: But you like India better right because you are Indian
Me: staring I’m American.
Shopkeep: Oh, uhhh, your friend is from the US too?
Me: No, Canada
Shopkeep: Well they are like the same country. There is no real difference.
Me: Yes, just like there is no difference between India and Pakistan.
Shopkeep: horrified look upon his face

I really do find it quite annoying that just because I’m brown I’m supposed to love this country more or feel more patriotism or whatever. I’m Indian. I identify myself as such, but I’m an American as well. 

I really love the US (I don’t love Bush, but that is a whole other issue) and identify strongly with the politics, people, and culture. I feel like a foreigner here in India more than the US.  The people here seem shocked when I tell them that I am several generations removed from India. I don’t speak the language, I have no family here, except those inherited by marriage, and life here is foreign to me. I may be brown and 100% Indian by blood but I’m not an Indian from India. I’m not even an NRI.

Yes, people here look more like me than in the US and people here tend to be the same religion but I really can’t identify myself as Indian because of those things. I’m Indian-American and quite frankly the US — where my parents, family, friends and life is — is home.


2 Responses to “Shop Talk”

  1. anwin said

    I totally agree with you. I am an Indian and have never gone out of India. But that does not stop me from agreeing with you because I always get slightly miffed when I see our people referring to our fellow people of Indian origin as Indian citizens when they are from another country. Of course, we all have the sense that our origins lie elsewhere but when you are a citizen of another country you do feel proud about that and also true to that country. That does not mean you have forgotten India, but as you said it is not your “home”.

    Cheers… have a good time here 🙂

  2. Emilia said

    Texas misses you…

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