Selected for eBook publication by BGB
This is a book for Indian parents living outside India as well as their children who may or may not define themselves as Indian. It is about identity in a fast-changing world. Are we all global citizens? How alike are we? What makes us desis different from non-Indians? Will these differences narrow over time? It is about the Indian identity amongst people who do not live in India. It is, more specifically, about the role of parenting in shaping this identity. But most of all it is about accepting that we live in a fast-changing world and that we have to adapt.
I am not Benjamin Spock. Nor Penelope Leach. I am just an Indian parent – one of many living outside India. Latest estimates of the Indian diaspora put the number at 25 million. So what makes me, merely one of 25 million desis living abroad, superior or more qualified to dish out any advice? Surely each one of these NRIs have their own, equally legitimate, ways of looking at the world and defining their space within it. And I welcome debate, even criticism. In other words, the views expressed in this book are mine and mine alone – they are shaped by my own circumstances and I share them as I would a joke or an anecdote (to be empathised with or laughed at) rather than as advice.
In this self-deprecating book I have examined my own parenting style and whether all immigrant groups had the same goals and methods of achieving them. Was the Chinese Tiger mother different from the Bengal tigress? Were “Indian” children lliving in the US subject to a different set of pressures from Indian children in the UK or Dubai or Singapore?
These and other issues are explored in the following pages. What makes my book different is that it is unapologetically Indian – by and for Indians. It does not purport to be the only way to bring up children abroad. But it was my way. And having produced two children who most people describe as “well brought up”, it is one possible way. That’s all.