In Attire

My family immigrated to America when I was four years old in 1999, leaving behind any remains of our Indian culture. I was born in London where there was a large Indian community and we lived close to my maternal grandparents who kept Indian culture alive in their home. After we moved to Kansas and both my grandparents passed away, I felt that a big part of my Indian identity also passed away. It was difficult to retain the traditions of my Indian culture while also attempting to assimilate with American culture in the Midwestern town of Kansas. I rarely spoke my native tongue, feeling unsure of my self-identify as a struggling preschooler. Nothing brought me comfort because I felt so distant from everything familiar. One day, my mom suggested I bring my grandmother’s bangle to school with me in my backpack. Since that day, I keep the bangle with me at all times. With its ornate black and gold décor, it reminds me of my grandmother and the culture that we left behind, but also what we brought with us. I realized that it’s possible to keep aspects of my culture, whether it’s through the Indian spices of our curries or the gold jewelry that remains popular attire in India. Immigrating and immersing myself in a new culture no longer feels like a chore. In fact today, I feel blessed to call myself a byproduct of two cultures. 

Place(s): India,England,Kansas,London
Year: 1999

– Sakshi Mahajan

Relationship:  Im/migrant who arrived as a child Im/migrant who arrived as a child