1. You have two names: the correct pronunciation for your Indian family and friends, and the Americanized pronunciation for everyone else.
You every time someone turns an Ajay into an “A.J.” or an Anamika into an Anna-Meeka.
2. You get made fun of for your American accent when you go to India…
3. And you’re self-conscious about your parents’ Indian accents when your American friends come over.
4. You have spice-craving Indian taste in a bland American culinary landscape.
Where nobody makes anything as spicy or delicious as your mom does.
5. The downside: bringing elaborate Indian meals to school for lunch while all your friends had PB&Js.
6. Constantly being asked this awful question: “But where are you really from?”
7. And: “What was it like growing up in the third world?”
Hey, now, don’t say that about New Jersey.
8. The most difficult decision you made in college was whether to join a dance team, and which one.
9. You’ve been called a coconut at least once in your life.
10. Every time you misbehaved growing up, your parents threatened to send you to India.
11. And their attempts to keep you connected to your roots meant you spent your childhood in and out of Bharatnatyam and Carnatic singing lessons.
12. Going to the one Bollywood theater in your town meant running into all of your family friends.
13. Your biggest secret is the hardcore Bollywood playlists on your iPod and Spotify.
14. Every time you go back to India to visit your relatives, they’re constantly calling you healthy*.
*Healthy (noun): Aunty code for fat. Just say it like it is, Aunty. All those American McBurgers have made me a McFatty.
15. But at the same time, they’ll feed you relentlessly until “Eat, beta!” sounds like a threat.
16. Another well-meaning threat: “Don’t worry, we’ll find you a nice Indian husband/wife.”
Even though they’re usually kidding when they say this, you can’t help but get suspicious that someday they’ll actually follow through.
17. Which makes bringing home a non-brown significant other extremely awkward.
18. When people ask you why your English is so good:
19. Or if you speak Hindu:
20. You grew up confused between “Indian-American” and “American Indian.”
When you’ve been asked enough times whether you’re a “dot Indian” or a “feather Indian,” everything begins to lose meaning.
21. Your parents constantly make you download and test various free international calling apps.
To stay in touch with their parents.