Can’t do this. Can’t do that.
What would people say?
Sometimes you’re at the mercy of a community that holds your reputation hostage. IF YOU LET IT.
My friends have two of the cutest dogs you ever saw. Every time I knock on their door, the dogs bark like crazy, excited to lick and paw at whoever comes their way. But they’re stuck behind a little indoor security gate that leans against the wall at the bottom of the stairs.
If these pups simply tipped over the fence with a nudge of their nose or even jumped over it, they would be free.
But fear and obedience keep them behind that weak little gate. That’s their routine, their sense of security. Continue reading →
Back in January, there was a huge buzz over Amy Chua and her book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. Using the phrases “Western parenting” and “Chinese parenting” loosely, a few examples of her thoughts are below.
Western vs. Chinese parenting on piano practice:
All the same, even when Western parents think they’re being strict, they usually don’t come close to being Chinese mothers. For example, my Western friends who consider themselves strict make their children practice their instruments 30 minutes every day. An hour at most. For a Chinese mother, the first hour is the easy part. It’s hours two and three that get tough… Continue reading →
During a visit to Kerala when I was 5, my parents bought five gorgeous white chickens. They walked around like the hottest chickens on the block.
I was afraid to go outside by myself because they were hunting for me.
In their pack, they were unstoppable. I tried to act cool, but they smelled my fear. When I bravely attempted to play in the yard, they came and pecked me in the foot. I cried and ran inside, shaking my fist at them.
And then the five chickens became four chickens.
They were still a threatening pack but toned it down a notch. When it came down to three chickens, I think they had a clue about where their feathered friends had gone.
Finally I could wander the yard. They gave me threatening looks but didn’t venture too close. When there were two chickens, they gave up the hot-to-trot act.
Dinner each day that week had never been more satisfying — the chicken curry in particular.
Vengeance was sweet. No — spicy.
My two uncles from Canada and Chicago and I sought fresh air and exercise at Thiruvalla Stadium one morning. They reminisced like old buddies.
When you’re a child, you see the world as a child, and everyone shields the bigger picture and the details from you. That’s the way it should be.
Now as an adult, it was fascinating to hear my uncles chat intimately together about the family and its history. I lagged a few feet behind and listened to them discuss decisions that were made and how they were made. It’s different when you hear someone’s POV other than your parents. I finally heard the story with my adult ears rather than my child ears.
Along the way we grabbed unripe almonds and gawked at a huge bee’s nest just inches above our heads.
Lunch time is party time for my taste buds.
It’s funny how your culture can do something others would call odd, but you would never think twice about it or notice it until someone brings it up.
At a college internship, my co-worker mentioned how the funeral she’d attended that weekend had a photographer and videographer.
“How morbid!” she declared. “Why would you want to see a loved one in that state after the funeral’s over?”
I nodded my head in agreement. And then it occurred to me.
“You know, we have video and photos of both of my grandmothers’ funerals,” I said.
At Indian funerals, I had never flinched at the site of photographers. But now that my co-worker mentioned the morbidity of it all, I could see what she meant. But then again, I could understand that family members wanted to remember the last time they would see their loved ones.
Well the craze must be catching on in the States. Inc Magazine just featured Curtis Funk for his startup, FuneralRecording.com. Not only does the company offer video and audio recordings, but you can livestream the funeral, get a transcript of the event, set up a website and have professional voice talent record an audio obituary for the site.
What’s your take on recording the funeral and even taking the recording to the next level like Funk’s startup is doing? If you started a similar business, do you think you could own the Malayalee market?
At some point during every trip to Kerala, I crave Texas barbecue and hamburgers. Knowing Texas barbecue will be impossible to find, I head to the local bakery in search of a hamburger.
The Kerala hamburger resembles nothing found in the states, but I’m a fan anyway. I sink my teeth into two pieces of sweet bread hugging a spicy cutlet with raw onion, tomato and Kerala-style cole slaw.
Mornings are awesome because a full meal awaits.
When I told people I was going to major in communication in college, they looked at me like I was a fool.
“I thought you were smart,” said one uncle. “Why don’t you study to be a doctor?”
“You won’t find a stable job,” said another uncle. “You need to go into the medical field, and you’ll always find work.”
He later changed his mind and apologized.
My friends and I say our parents’ generation was about survival and stability. Work hard and put food on the table. They did very well for themselves out of faith and perseverance.
We’re starting our lives with huge advantages — access to people and information, familiarity and integration with the culture, access to money and education. Opportunities are everywhere.
Cloniness is the poison.
I hope this is not what we are. Someone tell me it's OK to have a personality, be aggressive and take life by the horns?
Continue reading →