By Amit Kaushal // submitted photo
Freshman Amit Kaushal's family blends American and Indian cultures
February 19, 2020
Growing up speaking three languages has always been normal to freshman Amit Kaushal. Kaushal speaks Punjabi and Hindi with his family, and English with most everyone else. Both of Kaushal’s parents immigrated to America from Punjab, India, and with them, they brought their language and culture. Kaushal’s mother, Kirana, followed her husband to America seeking a better life and a place to start their family.
“We came to America for a better life. My husband lived here, so I came here with him because I didn’t want to be by myself, and after we moved we didn’t want to go back,” Kirana said.
The Kaushals have traveled to India multiple times since immigrating to the United States, and while Kaushal believes he is too “Americanized” to live in India, he loves being immersed in the culture and being able to experience the unique differences between his two homes.
“There’s less technology in India, and in America it’s more advanced. In India, you can go on the roofs of the houses, and fly kites and here you obviously can’t. I think they’re both unique in their own ways,” Kaushal said.
The differences between American and Indian cultures have also been applied to Kaushal’s life in other ways, like his friendships. Kaushal feels more connected to the friends in his community because of the culture they share.
“I feel like with the friends in that community I can relate to them more since we have the same background,” Kaushal said. “We can crack jokes here and there about our culture.”
Kaushal notices that when he comes to school there are not many other people that share his ethnic background, which he says can be a good thing because it makes him more unique, but also limits him to be able to connect with people like him.
“Sometimes it has its perks of those like, ‘Oh, I’m the only one.’ It’s kind of cool, but then sometimes I wish there were some more people like me to connect with,” Kaushal said.
The temple the Kaushal’s attended is one place where Kaushal feels really connected with his culture. There is where they celebrate many Hindu holidays, including the most significant, Diwali.
“Our most important holiday is Diwali, the festival of lights,” Kaushal said. “It signifies good always wins against evil. We go to our temple and we light candles representing light and goodness.”
The Kaushals also celebrate American and Christian holidays, like Thanksgiving and Christmas, but for family purposes rather than religious reasons. Kirana’s reason for this was simple.
“We celebrate both and there’s nothing wrong with that because we are living here, and now we’re mostly American,” Kirana said.
Kaushal believes that attending services at his temple, his mother’s cooking, and speaking Hindi and Punjabi has helped him embraces and keep his culture alive, which he hopes to continue to do.
“I want to pass it down to my kids and I want my kids to pass down to their kids because I want to keep it going,” Kaushal said. “My parents immigrated here and they kept it alive. That’s what I want to do too because it’s my roots.”