Peanut Butter and Jelly

By Isheeta Sanghi

pbjThere’s something so warm and comforting about it. Whenever I have a PBJ I immediately return to those blissful days of school when the most I had to worry about was finishing my homework on time. Funny how the world changes isn’t it? Now schools have banned Peanut Butter, and kids are exposed to so much more than some of us can even imagine, Now there’s so much more to life, so much more to worry about, so much more to think about, so much more to be grateful for, and so much more to appreciate.

Maybe it’s because it brings me back to my comfort zone that I still sometimes make a sandwich for work, or maybe it’s because I can relate so much to the sandwich itself. I am a peanut butter sandwich, we all are. We are our mother, and our father. We are Indian and American.

For a while I stuck to just peanut butter sandwiches, and I think maybe on some level that was all psychological, maybe I only wanted to associate myself with one side, whether that mean being only like my Mom, or only being an American.

Maybe I only wanted to be a girl that grew up in California, and leave it at that, but that would be a lie. I’m not only that girl. I’ve lived all over the world, I’ve been exposed to a global lifestyle from a very young age, I’ve been friends with people from all corners of the world, from all walks of life, and I’ve seen so much. It’s hard to just be that girl from California driving around in her SUV with her sunglasses on and soaking up the sun when I know that when I go to sleep at night there are girls out there that are being abused, and there are children out there that are being trafficked around for money and drugs.

In actuality, we all have a little bit of everywhere we’ve come from in us. I’m the girl that used to recite lines from the Mahabharat while growing up and I’m not ashamed of it, I’m the girl that decided to be a cheerleader in high school and I’m not ashamed of that either. I’m the girl that loves her independence, but I’m the girl that still lives at home with her parents. I’m a mix, a mutt, a khichari, a peanut butter sandwich, and I accept it, embrace it, and live it.

Is it hard being from two worlds, two countries, two cultures, two families? Of course, but like anything in life you’ve got to figure out what you are comfortable with and adapt to the situation, and you have to be true to yourself. It takes a while, it’s taken me a good 2 years to find this place that I’m in right now, and more importantly, accept it. You come across all types of people in this world, I see expats here who are very comfortable with only being American, and sort of disowning the Indian side, and that’s a choice that they have to be comfortable with and live with, and that’s good for them. For me, that’s not a possibility because I’d be living a great big lie.

If I was asked to change it, to go back and not move, to go to college in the States and live in the dorms and come home to do laundry, to be part of an Indian club and perform ‘Bollywood’ dances for various functions and lead a relatively ‘normal’ life, a part of me still would probably say yes. I’d change it and never have moved and changed anything; I’d go on living life being that Californian girl.

But the other part of me would say no, the relationships that I’ve fostered, the life lessons  I’ve learned are invaluable and irreplaceable. You’re in limbo, but it’s not a bad thing, sometimes you get confused because life plays tug of war with you and your heart pulls you from side to side, but we all manage to pull through it. What you need to realize is that it’s not the end of the world, nothing ever is, there’s no situation that you can’t get through, and sure you might not see results as soon as you want to, but that’s just life. My advice, don’t take life too seriously, things will get better and it may take time. When in doubt, make yourself a peanut butter sandwich or whatever that comfort food is that brings you back to happy memories, and let go, just enjoy the moment, and everything that comes with it!

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