8 Tell All Signs You're A Kenyan-Indian

8 Tell All Signs You're A Kenyan-Indian

Our Kenyan motto: eat mogo, drink tusker, and hakuna matata.
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Kenya, the most mesmerizing place on Earth, is my family's home. The 1910s marked the decade in which my great-grandparents packed their belongings in India and headed 3,100 miles west to Kenya. Since then, our story has been inextricably linked with both cultures, and to identify with only one would be to miss out on one-half of our book. These are a few things that make Kenyan-Indians unique individuals.

1. We love our Mogo.

Mogo, or cassava as the Brits like to call it, is a God-sent food. There is no other food that will make your taste buds dance and have your serotonin levels high in the sky as much as mogo. Kenyan-Indians will venture all the way from Nairobi to Mombasa's famous lighthouse just to eat this super-food. And the best part is, it's very portable! No need for plates or cutlery. You can just pick it up in your hands and indulge as you walk along Mombasa's beautiful beaches. Also, the making of mogo is an art in itself. Hearing the charcoal sporadically crackle, watching the streetman squeeze the lime, and waiting for pili-pili to be added as the finishing touch, will all make you crave mogo even more. I'm already counting down the days until I return to the lighthouse where I first discovered mogo.

2. Our Swahili-infused dialect

You remember Timon and Pumbaa saying Hakuna Matata? Yep, that's Swahili. Ever since I was able to talk, I've been speaking a mix between Swahili and Gujarati. This naturally means that a language conflict between my non-Kenyan Guju friends is inevitable. The second I say "sufuria" (pot) or "ndizi" (banana), I get a blank face or confused expression as a response. Only then do I realize that I've spoken in Swahili, so I quickly revert to the corresponding Gujarati words "tapela" and "keda."

3. The Oshwal Center is the "happening" spot.

All Kenyan-Indians know that the Oshwal Center is where every event takes place and where all Indians congregate. Got a wedding coming up? Oshwal Center. Got an anniversary party? Oshwal Center. Got a birthday? Oshwal Center. Someone was born? Oshwal Center. Someone died? Oshwal Center. Needless to say, the Oshwal Center is a trendy spot for all Kenyan-Indians.

4. Tusker isn't just our go-to beer. It's also our go-to shirt.

In our eyes, Tusker is the world's best lager. Eating mogo? Have it with Tusker and your meal will become even more delicious than it already is. But it isn't just the beer that we are fans of. All Kenyan-Indians have that one baggy Tusker shirt that we wear in and out of the house. It is our immediate way of telling people that we are Kenyan without saying a word. One time my dad even made a friend because they were both wearing the exact same Tusker shirt on the same day and in the same location. Since then, he tries wearing it even more often.

5. We all know Diamond Plaza is THE place to munch on Maru Na Bhajiyas.

Every morning we thank God for blessing this earth with Mr. Maru. The dish that he made famous, referred to as Maru's Bhajiyas, is something that all Kenyan-Indians love and know how to make. These delicately marinated potato chips are something that I crave at least once a month and always beg my mom to make. Let's just say I don't know a world without Maru's Bhajiyas.

6. We all have that one relative who graduated from Jamhuri High School.

Jamhuri High seems to be the school that most Kenyan-Indians graduate from. It's where my parents met and fell in love, and it's where they both made friends that have lasted a lifetime. Jamhuri isn't just a school, it's a community. In fact, my parents still keep up with their former peers on a lively Whatsapp group made up of the Jamhuri High Class of 1981.

7. We always throw down at Koroga festivals.

Kenyan-Indians know how to party, and the Koroga festival is just one prime example. It's where you kick back, relax, and barbecue with all your friends. It's also a good opportunity to catch up on the Afro-beats you haven't heard in a while. If there is one social gathering that all Kenyans look forward to, it's definitely Koroga.

8. We love telling people we're from Kenya.

Similar to how vegans can't sit in a room for 10 minutes without professing their veganism, Kenyan-Indians have to tell people that they are from Kenya. We take pride in our heritage, and who could blame us? Kenya is the land of the Lion King, the country in which Prince William proposed to Kate, and the birthplace of President Obama's father. Kenya is the most beautiful place on earth, and we're the first ones to admit it.

Next time you ask a Kenyan-Indian where they are from, expect nothing less than a ten minute response. We will describe in detail how our ancestors came from India, how our parents were born in Kenya, and how we somehow ended up in either England, America, or Australia. Even though our explanation may take a while, I promise it is worth knowing our story.

Cover Image Credit: Maya Dodhia

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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Yes It's Father’s Day, No My Dad Is Not Here For It, And Yes He Will Still Be Celebrated

Everyone lives a different life, has a different story, and has different pain, but I think one thing most people can agree on, is that special days without loved ones suck.

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I wrote about my dad before, something that was simply for me, and it was heard by so many others. It had so many shares, comments, and love surrounding it.

People in different states ended up reaching out to me, and people I knew but didn't expect to hear from too. What this all reminded me of, was that I have more support and people who relate to me than I realize.

So many people don't grow up with a father figure, and I can only imagine how hard that is, but imagine the pain of having a great dad, who was just suddenly taken from you.

Death is a part of life, I know that, but that doesn't mean that it hurts any less when you lose someone, especially when they're so young and it's unexpected. Father's Day is now a reminder that one of my best friends is no longer here, and that my mom is now playing both roles (which she does a great job at) but it's not the same.

Pain is pain, but the kind that never truly ends, and comes and goes whenever it pleases, the kind you know oh so well if you lose someone you love, is one of the strongest forms you'll ever know. This is the pain myself and many others will feel this Sunday as we celebrate Father's Day without our dads.

Holidays always bring that pain a little closer to the surface and have you feeling a ton of emotions like a rollercoaster. Father's Day now is a day full of memories flashing through your mind, and watching other's post new pics, while all you have are recurring pictures from your youth.

This will be my eighth Father's Day without my dad here to celebrate and I don't think it'll ever get easier. Losing my dad has made Father's Day so different.

I can't go buy him gifts or treat for dinner that day, I can't just be with him like I wish so very much to do. Father's Day is no longer a happy day, but instead another reminder of what isn't.

I could spend the rest of my life sulking and focusing on the what if's, but then I would not be me, and would not be making my dad proud. I have to continue through these days with a smile on my face and overcome them just like every other day, I have to do it for him.

It's not easy, but I definitely have my guardian angel over my shoulder each year to help me get through it.

Father's Day is no longer the same because my dad is not here, but he still deserves the same recognition that every other dad gets because he was as great as anyone else, and I know he is still here watching over me.

So yes, you will see me posting old pictures year after year, because my dad is still my dad and I love him just as much now as I did when he was here on earth.

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