So for the few weekends before fusion, the bhangra competition I played dhol for back in January, I went up to MSU to help Dhru get our props and stage set ready. When we do this, it’s more than just a dance… So I got to meet his crew up in East Lansing cause we were hangin out all the time, and they were helping Dhru and i out a little. They were all pretty cool cats. One time we were up at D’s apartment and his friend was on the phone with her little brother who was also going to be playing dhol with the group. So she gave me the phone to say whats up, and a little into the conversation…

“Hey man, are you white?” “Naw, dude, I’m gujurati.” “No you’re not, seriously?” “Heh, yea, dude, totally.” “Why do you keep saying ‘dude’ all the time?” “I don’t know, it’s just my thing” “Tight, tight, do you speak Gujarati?” “No, my parents raised me on English, but I’m getting back and learning now.” “Oh, so you’re whitewashed? That’s tight, that’s tight.”

What? What the fuck just happened there? This kid’s tellin me i’m not ‘indian’ within five minutes of our conversation because of the way I talk? And has the nerve to tell me that I’m so far from being Indian that i’m ‘whitewashed’ (whatever the hell that means….)? That caught me a little off-guard at the time, but after thinking about it more and more pissed me off and totally aggravated me with the ignorance among my own community about what it means to “be Indian” and to know your culture and your roots. By who’s definition am I “not Indian?” Can i get a copy of that book? Cause obviously, I can sure use the reading…

I think its a result of two things. Being in America and trying maintain some sort of connection with the motherland is hard, we’re so disconnected with the vibrance and energy that’s changing what India is every day. Unless we put a lot of time and effort into keeping up and learning—which it seems that a lot of people aren’t willing to do or just don’t know where to start—all we have to go off of is pop-movies that are as far withdrawn from reality as Hollywood is here in America, and our parents who’s memories are a romantic version of what India was 30 years ago. Secondly, we’ve learned the American trait of constantly measuring yourself up against other people. So you talk to someone for five minutes and the whole time you’re measuring them up to see how you yourself stacks up against this new person. As long as you can justify yourself being higher, you’re all good. That’s totally what this kid was trying to do, assure himself of his own ‘Indianness’ by comparing with what he would define as my lack thereof.

I get this type of shit from people within my community ALL THE TIME, and I know it exists in every other sector of society in America. “what was your major?” “where are you working?” “what do you do?” “where do you live?” i’ve got nothing to prove to these people, if you want to get to know me, get to know me. Let go of all this superficial, self-ego-boosting bantering. Worthless.