The Skeleton Out of the Closet

More than 20 years ago, domestic violence was a taboo topic. Whenever I brought attention to it, many people would tell me “every community has its negative, why am I coloring the Indian community with this? There is no domestic violence in the Indian community.” Maitri and Narika brought the skeleton out of the closet. South Asian women started getting help and domestic violence became an open topic of discussion.

One question I am frequently asked, these days, is  whether “Indian women are selecting the sex of their child, preferring female to male?” I don’t have any statistics to back me up, but I have noticed the advertisements in an Indian-American newspaper catering to parents: “Choose the sex of your child.”

These advertisements are created because of existing demand. We do know that in India, it is very prevalent in some areas. Otherwise the population ratio would not be 800 females to 1000 males. Is something similar happening here in the U.S.? Do educated, progressive Indian-Americans have the same short-sighted mentality? Is the desire for having the family name continue so strong that parents prefer a male child and are willing to abort a female fetus?

Is there a skeleton in our closet? Isn’t it time to discuss this in the open and do something about it? Only then, we will be able to empower women to make the right choice and stand up for the girl child.
Deepka Lalwani, Monica Kumar,
Shubhangi Vaidya, Kulvinder Kaur,
Nithya Ruff, Pragati Grover et al.

Learning to be Indian American

In response to the cover article (India Currents, June 2012, Raising An Indian American Teen) by Nitya Ramanan and Listen Up, Parents! by Simran Devadasani, I was hoping to find some insights into parenting advice for Indian-Americans parents raising teens in America but what Ramanan has covered is a very generalized overview of what we already know. However, I found Simran Devidasani’s DO list very interesting.

I don’t quite agree with the statement that “parents were teenagers, too.” That’s true, parents were teenagers too, but on a land on the other side of the globe. We parents uprooted ourselves, as adults, realigned our values, identities and cultural norms in an adopted land where we also have had to shed a lot of old skin as we molted into the new one here. For our teenagers, it is very difficult, since they have had to learn the same lessons at a much younger age—especially those kids who have had to adapt and fit in socially in mostly white neighborhoods and schools. It’s the popular misconceptions in mainstream culture about Indians, which might be the major cause of trouble with our teens.

Its not drugs or gangs or sexual orientation or violence. The paramount issues for our teenagers is being bullied in school by teachers and students alike. We hear the use of the word “terrorist” often on school playgrounds. Many Indian kids and their parents don’t complain and endure these daily humiliations.

I am very curious to learn how do Indian-American teenagers adapt to such societal pressures? How do they handle cultural ignorance from their peers and how do they manage being Indian-Americans? I would like to see some insights from teens on this issue.
Ann Lauren Sharma, San Francisco

Notes From the 25th Anniversary Event Guest Book

Thanks so much for including me. Your speech was eloquent. The play was edgy and smart. It was inspiring to see Arvind Kumar again.
Sandy Close, New America Media

Congratulations on 25 years of a stellar achievement. Katyayini and I proudly proclaim that we have read and enjoyed every issue of India Currents. Without IC our Indian culture would not have flourished as it is today. Thanks for the memories.
G. S. Sathya,  S.F. Bay Area

You are an amazing role model as an entrepreneur to run an awesome media company in these tough economic times. I am looking forward to celebrating the 50th anniversary!
 Reena Rao and Mahesh Pakkala, TV Asia

IC has a huge following and you guys rock!
Rishi and Seema Kumar,
Saratoga’s Got Talent

It was a wonderful experience. What a way to celebrate the 25th anniversary! It shows the ability to be different. Wishing all the very best.
N. Parthasarathi, Consul General of India

It is an honor to be present at the 25th year party of India Currents. Thanks a ton for being a gateway for the world of Indian arts. Keep up the good work.
Anu Natarajan, Fremont Vice Mayor

Congratulations on 25 years. May you celebrate many more milestones as you bring us all together and describe the Indian experience on the left coast and beyond. We are privileged to know you and be counted in your community.
Antonia Minnecola, Arts Lover

Congratulations on 25 impactful years! India Currents has become essential for the Bay Area community and beyond. Vandana is a true inspiration for guiding this ship over the years. Good luck and here’s to another 25 wonderful years.
Ash Kalra, San Jose Councilmember

A very innovative magazine providing service to the community. 25 years! You have built a company to last! Congratulations!
Suhas Patil, Entrepreneur

Congratulations India Currents for your perseverance, creativity, editorials and lasting for 25 years. I look forward to the Golden Jubilee!
A.V. Sridhar, S.F. Bay Area

What a journey! I do remember the early days of India Currents. Keep it going! I am so glad to see you engaging the next generation. All the best.
Jayshree Patil, S.F. Bay Area

Congratulations to my Dad and all who work at India Currents. Good job!
Desiree Nunes, Student

Hooray for India Currents! Has it really been 25 years? Yes, and yes to 25 more.
The Oza family, Palo Alto

Congratulations on reaching a great milestone. You make us all proud!
Pranay and Madhavi, S.F. Bay Area

Who says Indians lack a sense of humor? Indians were laughing at themselves, their idiosyncrasies, quirkiness and hypocrisy at the staging of Naatak’s recent play, Death in San Francisco at IC’s 25th anniversary. What a great event! When we laugh, we are acknowledging we can relate to the problem and at the same time have compassion.
Deepka Lalwani, IBPW

Just a little note to say “Thanks!” You all did an amazing job and wish you many such wonderful years ahead!
Prabha Gopal, Founder,
Bay Area Performing Arts

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