My first day in India I got ready for sari shopping wearing a pair of capris and a short sleeve t-shirt. I didn’t think anything of it. My mom definitely did but seeing as how I considered my attire modest if anything I ignored her requests to change. If I wore the same outfit in America, I doubt anyone would think twice about what I was wearing. I expected the same from India, boy was I wrong.
I should have known better, fresh from taking Anthropology class last semester. Unfortunately, I really didn’t. The minute I stepped out of my cousin’s car into the streets of India, I was met by dirty looks. Stepping into the clothing shop I felt like a piece of meat… that was green and forming mold. I’m pretty sure that my capri and short sleeve t-shirt combination was the equivalent of booty shirts and wearing a bandeau in America.
I couldn’t believe it, my mother was right.
Coming to India I couldn’t believe how different yet exactly the same everything was from America. Sure they had unrealistic advertisements covering the walls of the city. But their ads had women with fair skin, deep eyes and models who were even normal size from time to time. I was shocked to see advertisements with women who weren’t particularly pretty to me.
I was shocked by how different life is for the average person in India. I found myself sad for my parents who were forced to change their entire life upon coming to America. They wanted to live in the land filled of milk and honey, paved with streets of gold. But as I sit in India and think of what I have and what many people in India do not have-I realize the main difference is things. The people here do not seem less happy because they don’t all own expensive clothes. Different things make people happy.
I think about my church filled with India people. A generation of immigrants who were born and raised in India with different values and standards. Then I think of myself, someone born in America. Someone who’s definition of love, beauty and an acceptable standard of living contrasted to everything my parents were taught. I somehow developed a new level of understanding.
I was surprised to learn about the types of music that people enjoyed. I always thought that something like music was simply universal. I never understood how my mother didn’t appreciate the songs I enjoyed. She was just primed under a different culture and mindset.
Ironically as I sit and type this listening to “Both of Us” by B.O.B I find myself laughing at the things that are important to people in America. The things that are important to myself even.
I can’t believe I’ve only finished one day of my journey to India.