A First-Gen In America V.S. Her Parents
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A First-Gen In America V.S. Her Parents

Just your typical Indian gal navigating her way through a life much different from her parents'

Pexels / Bansi Jadhav
Neha Penmesta

Up until about five months ago, the only place I ever really knew as home was smalltown Flower Mound, Texas. I was born and raised in the same house until age 15 and even then we only moved about three neighborhoods away and have stayed there ever since. My parents, on the other hand, had experienced a much different environment than I had growing up.

They spent their younger years growing up in a city in southern India called Hyderabad. Then in his early twenties, my dad made a big move across the country to Texas where he would continue his education. Not long after, he married my mom who then moved to Texas as well. Because of the vastly different cultures and time periods we grew up in, my parents and I often do not see eye to eye on a lot of things.

Dating Culture: To my parents, the idea of dating was close to unheard of in India. They themselves had an arranged marriage and had met only once before that. My mom believed that the only person you should be with is your husband, and you should only date when you know for sure you are going to marry that person. I personally had grown up where people started dating in middle school.

Beauty Standards: While here in America, I learned that beauty for women is seen as tan skin, thin blonde hair, straight teeth, and of course a perfect hourglass figure. I grew up watching Victoria Secret models on stage with little to no clothes on and thought it was no big deal while my parents would uncomfortably look away or change the channel.

To them, beauty is much different. Darker skin was not desirable and in fact, they had bleaching beauty products to make their skin look lighter much similar to how people in America use tanning booths or lotion to get darker. Thick hair is seen as a goal in India because it meant healthy hair. Most importantly though was that lack of cleavage was seen as better.

In India showing off too much or really any cleavage was considered unappealing to look at. Showing off as little skin as possible was what was seen as the prettiest.

Sports: This one is pretty simple if you ask me. In America, it is all about football, baseball, and basketball. In India, cricket is the number one sport and football happens to be what we call, soccer (it's also called football basically everywhere but in America).

Sweet Sixteen vs. Sari functions: Growing up in America, I saw sweet sixteens on tv and my friends throwing the most extravagant parties to celebrate growing up. I loved going to the parties and I really wanted one of my own. Unfortunately, I didn't get one, but I did get a Sari function. A sari function is a celebration that happens between ages 10 to 12 where your whole extended family and friends come to celebrate you growing up.In India, these parties area pretty big deal where you dress up in a traditional Indian dress (a sari) for the first time and get lots of gifts. Although I didn't get a sweet sixteen, I'm really glad I got a sari function to celebrate both my Indian heritage and growing up.

Growing up in Texas has definitely taught me a lot, and I am glad to get the opportunity to visit India every now and then and experience life similar to that of my parents'. Overall, I would say that I got the best of life in Texas and my parents' cultural influences.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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