29 Awkward And Confusing Facts About Every American Desi’s Life

“ABCD” isn’t just the beginning of the alphabet, it’s also an identity crisis.

1. You have two names: the correct pronunciation for your Indian family and friends, and the Americanized pronunciation for everyone else.

^ You every time someone turns an Ajay into an “A.J.” or an Anamika into an Anna-Meeka.

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2. You get made fun of for your American accent when you go to India…

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3. And you’re self-conscious about your parents’ Indian accents when your American friends come over.

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4. You have spice-craving Indian taste in a bland American culinary landscape.

Where nobody makes anything as spicy or delicious as your mom does.

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5. The downside: bringing elaborate Indian meals to school for lunch while all your friends had PB&Js.

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6. Constantly being asked this awful question: “But where are you really from?”

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7. And: “What was it like growing up in the third world?”

Hey, now, don’t say that about New Jersey.

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8. The most difficult decision you made in college was whether to join a dance team, and which one.

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9. You’ve been called a coconut at least once in your life.

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10. Every time you misbehaved growing up, your parents threatened to send you to India.

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11. And their attempts to keep you connected to your roots meant you spent your childhood in and out of Bharatnatyam and Carnatic singing lessons.

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12. Going to the one Bollywood theater in your town meant running into all of your family friends.

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13. Your biggest secret is the hardcore Bollywood playlists on your iPod and Spotify.

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14. Every time you go back to India to visit your relatives, they’re constantly calling you healthy*.

*Healthy (noun): Aunty code for fat. Just say it like it is, Aunty. All those American McBurgers have made me a McFatty.

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15. But at the same time, they’ll feed you relentlessly until “Eat, beta!” sounds like a threat.

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16. Another well-meaning threat: “Don’t worry, we’ll find you a nice Indian husband/wife.”

Even though they’re usually kidding when they say this, you can’t help but get suspicious that someday they’ll actually follow through.

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17. Which makes bringing home a non-brown significant other extremely awkward.

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18. When people ask you why your English is so good:

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19. Or if you speak Hindu:

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20. You grew up confused between “Indian-American” and “American Indian.”

When you’ve been asked enough times whether you’re a “dot Indian” or a “feather Indian,” everything begins to lose meaning.

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21. Your parents constantly make you download and test various free international calling apps.

To stay in touch with their parents.

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22. Every time someone you know goes to India, you send a shopping list.

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23. And every time you go, you in turn become a delivery service for laddoos and sari blouses.

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24. You know cricket is in your blood and all, but you truly understand baseball better. Oops.

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25. Being repped in popular culture by characters that are math nerds or otherwise caricatured stereotypes.

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26. Everyone congratulated you when a brown Miss America was crowned even though you did literally nothing.

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27. When your Indian-from-India friends reminisce about their craaazy childhoods, you just listen quietly…

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28. Knowing that you had a crazy and wonderful childhood too, as a permanent citizen of chaos and madness.

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29. And you wouldn’t trade your insane, baffling, incredible American Desi life for anything in the world.

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