It’s this time of year that get me thinking about my roots or where I really come from. This time of year, you think? You’re probably thinking I’m referring to Halloween. No, my friend, Halloween doesn’t conjure up deep thought but rather the auspicious day of Diwali. The festival of lights that is celebrated joyously in India. I wrote a post on this last year with more information on what it’s about. If you’re curious, click here.
I spent most of my life in Aruba, some years here in the Netherlands and basically never lived in India. I’ve travelled numerous times to visit family, but definitely never around Diwali thanks to standard school holidays.
My family and I always celebrated this auspicious day with whatever we could. Living in Aruba isn’t always amazing when you’re trying to celebrate Indian holidays.
During Diwali, it is custom to light fireworks, as one would around new year. But as you would have it, it’s illegal to light fireworks in October/November. Nonetheless, we always found our way to celebrate and enjoy the little things.
Even here in the Netherlands, with no Indian friends or family, I celebrate every year. I do my best in cooking the best Indian meal I can and decorate and light candles and invite friends over to join me for dinner. However, there are still many customs I’m not familiar with because of where I grew up.
When I visit India, many argue that I’m not truly Indian and can’t go parading around identifying myself as one if I don’t even know the basic facts about India, like its national animal and what the colours of the Indian flag symbolise.
And then I go to Aruba and there I don’t feel completely at home either because I don’t take part in all the customs of the culture and didn’t grow up eating pan bati and sop’i yuana (soup of iguana). I mean, I’ve had traditional Aruban food before obviously (not the iguana soup), but it’s not like my mother made me eat some regularly. And not to mention the fact that I didn’t grow up speaking Papiamento at home and basically have no Arubian family.
Here in the Netherlands you could just take one look at me and know I’m not Dutch. Not to mention my foreign accent shines through like a sore thumb.
So where do I belong, really? Who am I? Where am I from? These are the questions that haunt me. No just kidding. Kind of.
I admit that these things tend to bother me from time to time. It makes me question my beliefs and what I do. It’s easy to go down the spiral and end up with the gloomy What’s the point anyway?
And then the individualist kicks in and I think I’m an independent individual and I can do whatever the heck I want without anyone telling me drat!
It’s 2016 and I can identify with how many ever cultures as I’d like.
No one has the right to tell me I can’t be Indian or Arubian or even Dutch because of my world knowledge or experience or whatever.
Nowadays, no one knows just one language or just one culture. We’re all exposed to so many varieties of humans. Yes, humans. Humans and their beliefs and cultures and what not.
Why bring someone down with such harsh words? Some people should think before they spit gibberish like that. I don’t identify myself as an Indian or Arubian for no reason. I obviously have my reasons and have been exposed to both cultures to such an extent that I actually feel like one. Am I right? Or am I really just superficially parading around the place pretending to be something I’m not? I think not.
So, this may have been a total rant for something I experienced some time back and, quite frankly, still experience from time to time. If you made it through all that then I heartily thank you and encourage you to leave me a comment on your thoughts or even a smiley face so I can check your blog out!
I wonder if anyone else has experienced this before? If you have, what do you think?
On another note, Happy Diwali to all those that celebrate! This year I made Palak Paneer (spinach paneer) and Dal Fry (fried dal/lentils) with some raita on the side (Indian tstaziki). Last but not least, besan laddoos as a sweet treat! (pictured above). I will be posting the recipes some time very soon, so stay tuned if you want to know more! Also, I wrote a post on the dishes I made last year on Diwali. Click here if you’d like to know more!
Happy Diwali to all you lovelies that celebrate!
Until next time and thanks for reading!!
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