It is difficult to maintain cultural identity after moving out of the house


This first-person article is Neha Choranji, The first generation of Incas.For more information about CBC’s first-person story, see common problem.

A few weeks ago, when I was cooking dinner, I realized that I hadn’t eaten with my hands for five months.

Five months since I ate the traditional stainless steel plate and felt the warm texture Idley Covered Sambar Use my fingertips.

In a South Indian family, you almost always eat with your hands. For thousands of years, people in countries such as Malaysia, Sri Lanka and India have been using fingers as instruments.

According to Ayurvedic principles that originated in the Indian subcontinent, this practice has multiple health benefits and can improve the way you experience food.

Unlike eating with a spoon or fork, because of the nerve endings on your fingertips, your hands can make you more aware of the taste, texture and aroma.

A typical South Indian meal, featuring dosa, served on a silver platter called thali. (To Zhuolang)

But earlier this year, after I moved out of my parents’ home in Mississauga, Ontario, to work in a new town, I stopped eating with my hands. Maybe it’s because I’m still very shy, don’t dare to do it in front of people who don’t approve of this approach, and unconsciously know what my roommate would think.

But once I realized how long it had passed, I noticed that I was increasingly worried that I would lose more of the customs rooted in our Indian culture. Our language, our food, and our traditions seem to collapse like fragile pillars.

I have seen how fragile the nature of cultural identity is, especially when you are separated from those who encourage you to practice it.

When my family and I immigrated to Canada in 2007, I also experienced a separation similar to my culture. It’s just that, that time, I participated deliberately. I moved away and looked “normal” and made sure that my body was not making too much noise.

Thankfully, I am surrounded by friends from all over the world who have expanded my view of normalcy. My parents make sure that I will not stay away from my roots. On the one hand, they insist that I can only talk to them in Telugu instead of English. As I grow older, I am more and more adapted to myself.

I spent many years building the confidence to be proud of my culture. This is a long and beautiful process. I think once I have that kind of pride, this identity will be mine.

But now I find myself in a position to doubt whether this part of myself will slip away without my knowledge. I am worried that one day I will not find a corner in my life that reminds me of home.

I now live in Osoyoos, British Columbia. Although there is a large Punjab community here, the situation is different. The cultural differences between northern and southern India are huge, not to mention the fact that trying to join the community during the pandemic feels impossible.

I think what I am afraid of is not the frequency with which I practice culture, but that I will lose affinity for it.That day, maybe, I just don’t like the smell crime Up.

But honestly, this is impossible.

No matter how long you are apart, your comfort at home will not disappear.Even now, when it rains, to me, nothing touches me more than a cup of Samosa chai.

Food is a way for Neha Chollangi to feel that she can live in a new place and connect with her culture. This is aloo palak and daal, a simple homemade meal. (To Zhuolang)

Recently, I started to use some small methods to create a home atmosphere for myself, which made me feel at ease.

It includes all the spices I piled up in the kitchen cabinet, the wood candles I bought last month, and the sandalwood soap that reminded me of my grandmother’s saree.

Of course it is eating with hands.

More importantly, I try to reassure myself that my culture will not disappear one day.

When it comes to intangible things such as culture and tradition, it is easy to worry that we will misplace them or ignore them. But I realize that these concerns are more like intrusive thoughts.

An important aspect of the immigration experience is dealing with the heartbreak caused by leaving a familiar home and dealing with a new environment without a home.

Even 14 years after immigrating to Canada, this pain and desire for home still exists. I know this will not stop appearing in me forever, I can only learn to contain it.

I was very young when we left India. At that time I was too young to understand these feelings, but not too young to feel them.

This time, I can be sure of this anxiety. Therefore, I am more conscious of maintaining my cultural identity.

In fact, it made me squeeze my hands.

anyway, Dar For dinner.


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