Promises of a Bicultural Mom

As an American citizen born to Punjabi immigrants, my perspective on parenting is ever-evolving

Nami Bhasin
Human Parts

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Photo: ImagesBazaar/Brand X Pictures/Getty

II am a grilled cheese sandwich with onions and chili peppers stuffed inside. I am a salwar kameez suit on a hot Colorado day. I am naan and cha left out for Santa on Christmas Eve.

I am a reincarnated storyteller with mixed-texture hair that braids two languages, two histories, and two value systems together into the synthesis of one identity.

As a Punjabi Sikh and the first in my family born in the United States, I inhabit both American and Punjabi cultures equally. It can be hard to reconcile some of the paradoxes within. I feel overly scrutinized, distrusted, and stereotyped, but I’m also exotic—an outside-the-box thinker in possession of ancient secrets.

In short, I am Punjabi-American.

“Be careful, Mom,” I’ll say after our president tweets some new slur.

My mother responds with, “What the hell are you talking about?”

While I worry over every new political debacle, my mom, a whole-ass immigrant, has accepted the constant threat of violence against her and my papa; it’s the price they pay for living here. I fear for the lives and safety of my family, but my mom lectures me for being…

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Nami Bhasin
Human Parts

Punjabi | Sikh | New Yorker | The Last Knicks Fan | Currently living in Boulder, CO. I believe in play as an act of resistance. patreon.com/NamiThompson