Category Archives: Young Voices

A Lasting Imprint: The North South Foundation

By Aparna Ramakrishnan

Swami Vivekananda, the great Hindu pioneer and diplomat to the United States who helped drive the modernization of India, once said, “Arise, awake. Stop not till the goal is reached.” The North South Foundation under Dr. Ratnam Chitturi’s direction has continued Swami Vivekananda’s mission in uniting Indians of many different religions and ethnic backgrounds under a single guiding principle: the importance of education. The North South Foundation is best known to most Indian parents as an organization that sponsors local, state and national competitions in the US for children of Indian descent. Capitalizing on the dedication and pride that the parents here in the US feel in their children’s achievements, NSF, founded in 1989, has achieved astounding success in providing scholarships to promising but underprivileged students in India. Continue reading

My Grandfather

Foreword: The generation that grew up in India was privileged. We had the unconditional, loving care of our grandparents who practically raised us and played a big part in shaping our everyday lives. The generation that is growing up here in a nuclear, close knit environment has different memories – short visits separated by long absences, fleeting moments of being totally pampered, excited phone calls late at night and early in the morning, about spelling bees and and school trips and college admissions, sweet smelling gifts from back home of Amar Chitra Kathas and kaju katlis and Kurta pajamas. But the bond is as strong for them, the memories as sweet; it is the nature of this very special relationship between grandparent and grandchild…. Shalini Ramachandran remembers her grandad who would have turned 92 this October. Continue reading


By Arvind Srinivasan

Gears of War is the greatest game ever invented. No joke. Graphically destroying an enemy in full armor with advanced weapons, stealthily moving undercover, could only have been the brainchild of a true genius. Indeed, the advent of violence in movies, video games, the internet, and the general media has been a blessing to my generation and the bane of parents. In fact, the prevailing theory is that it fosters a mindset of violence in my generation. Furthered by irresponsible car accidents, school shootings, and DUIs that are blown up by the media, the popular belief seems to state that the availability and appeal of violence actually increases the likelihood that an impressionable teenager will commit a violent act. Continue reading

I auditioned for American Idol

By Shana Dhillon

american-idol.jpgAfter traveling to and auditioning in the first session of American Idol auditions in San Diego, what I realized most is that American Idol is a television show before it is an actual singing competition.

I flew down and registered on Sunday, July 29, and received my wristband for the next day. I was told to return between 5am and 6am and not earlier because they would not allow people to stand in line earlier. I was handed a piece of paper with instructions and I was told to learn the two "crowd songs," " California Dreamin'” and "Walkin' on Sunshine." My dad, uncle, and I drove around downtown San Diego for two hours, going from store to store, looking for CDs that had these songs on them.The first two stores were sold out. We went to Borders and the salesman said, “You are the third or fourth family to come in here asking for those songs. What’s going on?” We explained to him that the American Idol auditions were being held just down the road and they had advised us all to learn these songs. Continue reading

What is Indian ? A Culture Conundrum

By Arvind Srinivasan

Identity Crisis

Superman has Kryptonite, Batman has the Joker, Rama had Ravana, and President Bush has “nucular,” but none of these heroes, if we use a broad sense of the term, have antagonists that hold a candle to what I have had to deal with my entire life. The knife to my heart is not simply a fear of heights, snakes, tests, or a breakup with my invisible girlfriend, but much more profound. My complexity complex is…the idli. Continue reading

Indian American Parenting; A rebuttal

by Divya Valluri

divya.jpgDivya Valluri is the quintessential California girl; confident, talented, vivacious and earthy. Her parents have given her a couple of very useful gifts; Indian roots and American wings. WNI’s August 5th parenting article “The confused Indian American Parent” in which PR Ganapathy talks about praise in the American system and Sukanya Mahadevan explores the efficacy of a crazy extra curricular schedule for kids, evoked this response from Divya; I think it’s interesting that parental concerns about the dichotomy of Indian and American cultures never really address the effort children growing up in the United States inevitably have to make to create a balance between the two. We definitely go through a struggle to combine the Asian values of our households with the American values in the outside world, and still have solid relationships in both places. I respect the valid concerns Indian parents have with raising their children with a combination of solid values and limitless opportunities. I don’t think my parents are going to be reading this any time soon, so I can safely say that I sincerely believe they raised me with a perfect combination of the two. So here we go: Continue reading

Indian, American or Indian American

By Samyukta Suresh

samyukta-suresh.jpg Each day at Monta Vista High School, it is the norm to hear blasting Bhangra music, to hear speakers from the Hindu Awareness Club, to eat hot samosas and chaat during Club Day, to perform dances and singing solos for “Spotlite”, the highly anticipated show put on by the Indian club each year. I walk into class knowing that there will be a minimum of eleven other brown skinned students to provide a security blanket. My experience growing up as an Indian American is unique… it is not the typical story of being looked down upon as a lone brown skinned foreigner in a sea of Caucasians. Actually it is quite the opposite! Continue reading