Since starting the journey of learning and sharing more about my Indian heritage, I’ve gotten an influx of questions about my upbringing. Some would say that I’m not the typical Indian female when compared to Indian women in media, their friends, co-workers, or elsewhere. Though I would argue about the importance of identifying individuality, I do think I need to agree with some aspects of it. My upbringing was like any child in a South Asian family. My parents had expectations, and I had to meet them. Being female was an added layer of stress at times because I come from a family that has layers of conservatism and my parents felt obliged to agree with them. With that came lots of moments of frustration, but I persevered and eventually learned how to adapt. My relationship with my mom evolved into a friendship as well, and we were then able to communicate, understand, and learn so much from one another. Spending time with her recently made me realize how much of what I learned from her in the past are things that I carry with me today. Most of what she passed down to me were teachings from Indian folktales and Hindu mythology. With that said, I thought it would be interesting to share the things my Indian mom taught me because I’m sure you’ll see similarities with the principles you grew up with!
Invest in Quality
As far as I can remember, a lot of my mom’s belongings have stayed with her for many years. She has limited things in her closet, and that can come by surprise for how stylish she likes to be. The one thing my mom taught me was to invest in quality. Her handbags and clothes are all invested classics, and her jewelry pieces are items she saved up to pass down to me. I have taken the same principle and invested first in a gold ear jacket and gone onto build a small collection of timeless fine jewelry to pass down to my offsprings too.
Build With What You Have
In the age of social media, it’s so easy to lose sight of all the things you have and being grateful for it. The biggest poison in life is thinking you don’t have enough and then feeling helpless. My mom’s journey is the very example of that not being the case. She always told me that I can build an empire with the tools I have. Each set of tools will help me move onto the next stage and ultimately bring me the achievement. I did that when I moved to London with 2 suitcases, a month’s worth of rent in my pocket, and not a single soul to call my friend. It was through constant conversations did I realize that my mom taught me the root skill of persevering. You may also like some of the advice that she shared with me on how to stop comparing yourself to others.
Embrace the Challenging Road
This goes alongside with what my mom taught me above. When I was in high school, I was surrounded by some terrible girls who bullied me. I was distraught, angry, and very upset. I kept it to myself for so long until one day I couldn’t take it anymore and audibly released all the pent up tension. I cried to my parents and told them how life felt so hard, especially growing up Indian in a white-dominant community. After I calmed down, my mom sat down and told me that if life isn’t challenging then you’re not going to grow. Each challenge in your life is an opportunity to be better. I haven’t looked back since.
Don’t Compromise What is Important to You
Despite what you might hear from pop culture and media when it comes to Indian moms, my mom taught me to not compromise on the things that are important to me. It helped me figure out what I prioritized, believed in, and wanted to invest in at a very early age. From there, I was able to build a path in my life that has brought me motivation and contentment in everything I do no matter the hurdles. Even when she speaks about marriage, she continues to advise me that I should never settle and never think I have a timeline to meet!
Always Learn the Basics
Ever hear people tell you to become an expert in one thing rather than mediocre at a bunch of things? This might preach the opposite, but if my mom taught me one thing from just watching her then that is to find an interest in everything. Be an expert in your field, but learning the basics about other things and disciplines will teach you important skills, learn to appreciate, and keep you grounded. Take cooking, for example, you don’t need to be a great cook in the kitchen. Knowing the basics is a key survival skill. When someone cooks for you, you will appreciate their effort so much. When a friend of yours decides to go into culinary arts, you realize acknowledge the courage it must take!
Return the Love
If you’ve read through any of my Indian food recipe posts, you’ll know that my parents host dinner parties often. This isn’t something that my parents only do, but all their friends rotate on hosting one another. My mom taught me that if someone does something for you, then return the favor with something too! A London blogger helped me land several collaborations when I first moved there and every single time I paid her back with gratitude and anything else I could offer her that was of value to her to show I appreciated her.
Kill with Kindness
This is something I hear lots of people talk about and yet far and few practice it. If you’ve ever heard my mom stand up for either of her two children, you’ll know that she has embraced the principle of killing with kindness. If you’re a global citizen like myself or on the internet as a creator or business owner, you may have already gone through dealing with difficult people no matter their affiliation with you. The best weapon to angry, abusive, and/or aggressive behavior is to be kind and move on. You will be surprised by what can happen when you retaliate with kindness. Hint: most of the time they just feel stupid.
I’m sure some of these things my mom taught me are principles you live by too! Leave a comment below of any life skills you’ve learned here or in life!