I get this quite a lot::
‘You’re Bengali…so, you’re from Bangladesh?’
Can you speak….Indian?
Do you speak Hindu…?
Are you Hindi?
Let me get one thing straight first and foremost.
It doesn’t bother me; I don’t find it offensive that people don’t know.
Most people are asking because they’re genuinely interested and want to learn more. So what if they make a few mistakes along the way? At least they’re trying & I appreciate the effort.
Same way in a foreign country, in my mind, it’s best to at least try to say a few words in the local language. Sure, you may get laughed at, scoffed at (and possibly ridiculed afterwards by complete strangers!) BUT surely there will be at least someone that appreciates the effort you’ve made to try & learn!
I am proud to be a British Asian living in the UK.
Of those, who knows how many British Indian Bengalis like me there are.
I do know one thing.
There are certain issues we all face as we grow up regardless of culture, religion, political stance, socio-economic background.
Betrayal, Loss, Heartbreak and Sorrow
…to name a cheerful few!
When you are trying to balance your culture, your heritage, your tradition and religion, your values and your surroundings, it can sometimes be quite challenging at times.
At least I think so.
Growing up, I lived in an area that did not have very many Asians.
I was 1 of 2 Indian girls in the year for a while during primary school.
Things have definitely changed.
I now see many more Indian faces in classes from the same school & that’s awesome.
As a British Asian in the UK, there are certain aspects of growing up we seem to experience differently.
There are the usual teenage issues but with the added pressure of ensuring you are being
‘respectably desi enough.’
If you don’t have someone that’s been through it themselves, then this journey to adulthood can be a bit daunting.
I’ve already touched on a few things in a couple of previous posts:
But I’ve been meaning to start a new little series entirely.
Though many topics and issues faced by British Asians are universal, particularly to young adults, I have decided to name this new little endeavour the following:
Being a BIB :: Being a British Indian Bengali
This isn’t meant to restrict topics to solely British Indian Bengalis as I’m sure some will apply to numerous other people.
However, I am of the view that we all see things a little bit differently to the person next to us.
Though the fundamentals may remain constant, we all have our own filters on and therefore interpret situations depending on our own previous experiences.
This is why, Being a B.I.B. will be my take on life as a BIB; some of the issues I’ve stumbled upon & my view of how to go about dealing with them.
I’d love to hear from you!
If you are a BIB or British/Western Born Desi – I’d love to know your thoughts!
Still Wondering About Those Pesky Answers?
I’m Bengali but Indian. My family are from West Bengal in India (land of the Bengal Tiger!) where they speak the language Bengali.
The dialects of Bengali can differ. Bangladeshi Bengali has different intonations, pronunciations and sometimes a completely different accent altogether!!
I have been brought up as Hindu (religion) but the national language of India is Hindi.
Love & Blessings,
Ana | The Asian Destination xo
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