We all feel inadequate at some point in our lives. Sometimes during many points in our lives. This happened to me this weekend.
With our holiday Navrathri in full swing, now is the time when I go into traditional Indian daughter over drive. But that’s an act. The world can see that it’s an act, but I still do it.
I was raised in a traditional Indian household, where our meals were (and still are on weekend trips home) made up of real South Indian home cooking, my mother and father had an arranged marriage, my grandparents lived with us, and you did what your elders told you to do.
It wasn’t a bad childhood, but my life outside of home was very unlike that of either of my parents.
I know I’m in no way a traditional Indian daughter, and outside of these nine days I’m perfectly ok with that.
This is the time of year when we go to house to house and have all of our friends and their kids come over. We exchange gifts and enjoy each others’ company and the kids are expected to sing a devotional song or play whatever instrument they were trained on. Dancers of traditional bharatanatyam are expected to perform.
I do none of the above. Yes, at one point I did bharatanatyam and took carnatic voice lessons, but none of them ever stuck. Whether it was due to lack of steady teachers, lack of interest, or lack of time, I don’t know.
But this is the time of year where my mother gushes on how well behaved all these kids are, how ready they are to do what’s asked of them. All these things that I never did. Never wanted to do. I was the only girl my age when I was born. I was raised by my brothers (read: my brother and the rest of the Indian boys).
This year seems to be even worse. With my maternal grandmother in town, my mother and I are now at her beck and call for everything.
That feeling of inadequacy is even worse this year. Now it’s both my mother and grandmother that ask me why I wasn’t and am not like this incoming generation of girls.
Maybe that’s why I like to overload myself, and do more than my fair share of extra activities outside of school.
But then I read blog posts like this one. I realise that I’m ok not being the perfect Indian daughter 9 days out of the year.
I’m so grateful for my friend being around to remind me that I may not live up to my grandmother’s ideals of the perfect granddaughter (or my mother’s of the perfect daughter), but at least I’m inspiring and a good friend to my friends…and that’s all I can ask for.