Are we stuck in a time warp?

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Are we stuck in a time warp?

When we are lost or in a dilemma, we look towards the North Star to steer us and find our way home. Have you noticed that traditions work in a similar manner? Traditions are but our guide, our truth, and the only constant factor in this rapidly changing world! And when you migrate, it becomes the only ‘familiar’ entity in the environment of the ‘unfamiliar’. So, you hold on to those traditions, year after year, time and again, and also feel delighted being able to stay close to your roots and culture. However, the naïve you don’t realize that the values you brought with you, 6 years or 10 years ago, no longer exists in your homeland!

That’s a common scenario among us…as NRIs we are so caught with our lives and busy following those social conventions, religious ideals, even superstitious beliefs, that alas we don’t know that India has moved on and we are stuck up in that time period!

Our India is modernizing extremely fast, and with time, Indian culture has not only survived but evolved too. So, what does this mean? This implies that while our people back home are proud of their culture, they have also become accommodating, accepting and are welcoming ‘change’ – all these to keep in tune with today’s times and ‘to fit in’. So, our ‘cool cousins’ keep traditions that they like and break others which they despise, without any guilt or shame! The bold attitude is primarily because they are not threatened by Western influence nor do they think foreign culture is a threat to the intellectual and cultural integrity of the country. Isn’t that some peace of mind…wish NRIs could have it too!

While you’re abroad, there’s an added pressure on you to maintain your Indian-ness and a fear that looms the mind that you will become ‘one of them’ if you do too much of ‘their things’. So you end up doing all-things-Indians, even following those social conventions that have become obsolete in India! For instance, in the West, we try not to converse in English all the time (in the urbane India, English is the new Hindi, and rattling off in Hinglish, English is a way of life!), even encourage our kids to speak in native tongue and learn classical music (there, salsa and hip hop are the new kathak and bharat natyam!). We wrap up in sarees and salwar kameez while attending social functions, sometimes even for a kiddo’s birthday party (our counterparts prefer jeans and halter tops or wear sarees with backless cholis and noodle straps!). When we reach a marriageable age, we start hunting for spouses from India and from the same community (more and more Gen Y folks are entering in cross cultural/inter-racial marriages and putting love first before society norms). Even the social animals in us desire only desi circles (where as there, if you know a Gora, you proudly flaunt him or her!). Seriously, they are ‘cool’ and we are a tad ‘conservative’, don’t you think?

Prince Philip of England said “Change does not change tradition. It strengthens it. Change is a challenge and an opportunity, not a threat.” He does make some sense here, isn’t it? So, how about putting a little ‘unorthodoxy’ in ‘orthodox’, I think it’s all right if we loosen up a bit, furthermore change only helps us evolve as humans and strengthen our traditions! Besides, we don’t want to come across as old-fashioned and boring to our cousins in India, isn’t it?

By |March 4th, 2012|INDIA, NRI|2 Comments


  1. anita March 8, 2012 at 10:38 pm - Reply

    Interesting article…. we should adopt modernization to camouflage our tradional values.

    • VIWA March 18, 2012 at 6:02 pm - Reply

      @ Anita – If we can balance both, the traditional values and modern ideas, then life could be quite interesting 🙂

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