From watching Tamil movies when they release with our families and friends to studying thirukurals at Tamil school, we were incredibly privileged to be able to grow up immersed in a strong Tamil community while living in the US. We had a group of Tamil family friends who lived within 15 minutes, whom we would meet on a regular basis for movie nights and to celebrate various milestones. For many people in our group who are Tamil-American, our Tamil community has helped us gain a sense of comfort every time we come back home from our busy lives. During big holidays like Pongal or Diwali, we’ll get together and let off firecrackers and watch the Pongal “pongify”. During Navratri, we’ll go to friends’ homes to see golus, sing songs, and dance while exchanging sweets and snacks.
Our parents also had a hand in developing a Tamil School in our community, to emphasize the value and power of learning our language. Through the Tamil school, we were exposed to various activities such as pongal competitions, kolam competitions, speech competitions, and dance showcases. The school’s impact is still seen today as the Tamil community in our hometown is one of the biggest in the midwest. We now even have a Cincinnati thiruppavai and parai group!
Through our experiences growing up, we found the beauty in the multilayered Indian & Tamil Culture, but at the same time, we found ourselves constantly questioning: “Am I Indian enough?” or “Am I American enough?” to fit into the standards of our surroundings of both our Tamil environment and western upbringing. Going to school here in the US always made us self-reflect and have inner conflicts of balancing both identities. As we continue to grow into our selective identities, we realized that we can utilize our cultural upbringing, as a pillar within ourselves to help answer many of the questions that arise as we grow up. With this, Redefining ABCD was formed.
Redefining ABCD is a podcast to openly discuss various internal stigmas within the South Asian American community and how we as a collective can “change the conversation” to incorporate more South Asian Pride in our day-to-day lives. With this, we hope to bring to light different identities within the South Asian American community. Through our segments, Brown Art Network and Larger Than Us, we hope to share with everyone the versatility of being a hyphenated identity. To check out our episodes, click here: https://linktr.ee/redefiningABCD