Interview with an Indian-American Christian Woman: Part 2
My conversation with Anu Skariah became very honest very quickly…
I asked Anu, “How does religion influence your culture and marriage?”
Anu: “Christ is at the foundation of my marriage; however, I wasn’t raised that way. There were some traditional things that my husband and I bypassed because we saw that they were rooted in the Hindu religion. Although we did have a traditional Orthodox Christian wedding, some of the elements of the wedding had a Hindu tracing. When our children were born there were things that our families expected us to do, but that we declined because we saw that they were rooted in the Hindu religion. One such practice is that the family presents a gold chain to the new child and has them stand on a plate of rice grains. It is a celebration in the family and people gather to watch the tying of this gold chain and to celebrate. However, we chose not to participate and allowed our family to present the gold chain to our child, but we did not have a ceremony to accompany it.”
In her reply I could see the struggle to keep unity with the extended family in relation to old Hindu traditions and her family’s Christian values.
Furthermore, when I asked Anu her perception of how outsiders view her culture she replied…
Anu: “I think they think it is colorful and, in some sense, weird because there are so many gods in the Hindu culture. In the eyes of many, Indian people don’t eat meat because we worship cows.”
I imagined and liked Anu’s face lighting up when I asked her what the fondest memories she has of her culture growing up.
Anu: “My fondest memories as a child are of the food, still is the thing I love about my culture, and the beautiful clothes.”
In dialoguing with Anu I learned these are exactly some of the reasons why I am drawn to her culture.