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Senior embraces her Indian culture

Q&A with Trisha Patel

February 1, 2023

Trisha Patel wears a traditional dress and shawl worn by women in India. (Photo by Braylen Garren)

How has growing up in America affected your perception of your culture?

I would honestly say that it hasn’t affected me much. My parents always made it a priority to show me and my brother what our culture and traditions looked like, and we also always participated in them. If anything, being in America and having the resources to experience our culture has made a very large impact on my life.

What are some things you do to keep your culture alive?

Being in a small town can kind of be hard sometimes, but we have a Hindu church in Nash and they always host all celebrations and events. Having the church near us is beneficial in keeping our culture alive. It’s called Hindu Temple Texarkana.

How can you pass down your culture to the next generation?

I personally want to live in a bigger town as I get older, that will give me access to larger foundations and organizations that celebrate my culture and the future generations will have more people around them to use as role models when it comes to participating in traditions.

What’s the biggest misconception people have about South Asian culture?

I think most people don’t realize the richness and depth of the culture, everything that is done is there for a specific reason. The richness stems from being the oldest religion around. It has adapted and has an ocean of other faiths that have poured in their values. The scriptures are in Sanskrit, the oldest language. Some other things would also be the classical dances in Hinduism and our music.

What is your favorite cultural tradition?

My absolute favorite tradition from my culture is Garba. You get dressed in these gorgeous dresses, and you go dancing. You could say it’s like the Indian version of line dancing. This tradition is a celebration of the goddess Durga. She’s the goddess of strength, protection, destruction and war. 

Has there ever been a time where you were embarrassed of your culture?

I don’t think I can ever remember a time when I was embarrassed by [my culture]. I have always seen my culture as beautiful and it’s a part of who I am.

What do you do in your church? 

We host a service every Sunday morning. It’s open everyday for anyone who wishes to go pray.  Lunch is also available every Sunday for everyone who comes to the service. We have Sunday school for all the kids, we call that Balvihar. In this we are taught using the basic ideas of the Gita. Which is the Hindu scriptures. The lessons are easy to understand and useful in your everyday life. It differs in a couple of ways from a Christian church. We sit on the floor during the service and shoes are not allowed in the prayer rooms. We do all of this as a sign of respect. We don’t wear shoes because you are essentially walking into God’s house, and if your shoes are dirty you don’t wear them in someone’s house. We sit on the floor as another sign of respect, and because it has been proven that being on the ground can help your mind relax.

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