Sixteen year-old Pia Nair is of Indian descent. Here is her story:
Rani Jivani: Where is your family from?
Pia Nair: My mother and father, as well as their parents, are from New Delhi, India.
J: Do you speak or understand any languages other than English?
Nair: I can understand basic Hindi and speak basic French.
J: Have you ever met anybody that has a similar background as you?
Nair: I have met one other person that is also Indian. It makes me feel like I can relate to her for movies, pop culture, and food.
J: Do you celebrate special occasions differently than the traditional American way?
N: Yes, Indian weddings are huge events that last up to four to five days. In one instance, my cousin rented two castles for her marriage. At the main ceremony, the groom was brought in on a painted elephant. At the second wedding that I attended was hosted in Switzerland. The entire hotel was rented out to the family and during the wedding ceremony the groom was brought in on a horse. Both entrances of the groom were definitely the most exciting part of the wedding.
J: I have heard that Indians celebrate Diwali. What have you done on these special days?
N: During Diwali, Indians celebrate different historic events and stories that symbolize victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance and hope over despair. Before I moved to Miami from Connecticut, my parents had a lot of Indian friends and would host parties on the festive day. She would light the entire house with candles because it was the festival of light and would serve Indian food.
J: What are your favorite Indian dishes?
N: I love cholas which are spicy chickpeas, butter chicken which is a spicy curry mixed with chicken, and lastly I enjoy eating aloo paratha which is a bread dish that is really popular among Indians.
J: What is your opinion on how mass media portrays the Indian culture?
N: They portray us as introverts that spend their entire life in front of textbooks and never spend time outside. They make their assumption from the typical South Indians that are very successful and are geniuses but seem to never go outside. This is biased because they are many other parts of India that have many different types of Indians that contradict this stereotype.