Perhaps it was because of my hectic schedule these last few months, or maybe it was because I simply did not have the inspiration to craft and piece together words like I once did. Whatever be the reason, it is no excuse to the promise I made to this blog, its mission and the community(s), I hope to reach.
Those who know me, know I strive to be quite active in the Malayalee community. From a young age, I took part in all our cultural events and went so far as to immerse myself in the traditions, language and dialects, the mannerisms of what it means to be a Malayalee woman.
And yet, that still isn’t enough for some.
In discussing why this is with the senior generation of Keralites, their view is that we lack the exposure to “real-world challenges” they had faced back when they lived in Kerala. In other words – us second generation American Born Malayalees lack Kerala Street Smarts, which is true. I openly admit I don’t know all the inside phrases and dialogues but I am learning as I hear them. I also don’t know how people go about their cheap political schemes and quite frankly, I don’t want to know how to integrate with that culture as it is simply an ego game – one which I’m quite happy to stay away from.
Yet, one statement I constantly hear when it comes to our community is, “we want to get our youth more involved with our culture, with our community…” and it only becomes a saying that is said only just to say it. Recently, I witnessed a very capable individual who is an American born Malayalee and has extended themselves into the community on countless occasions be shut down by the very community who wishes to be progressive in their cultural affairs…
The gap between the perceptions and aspirations of our community and the various groups seem like many rails of railroad track that are never destined to meet.
My firm belief is each one of us, from every generation, needs to stop expecting someone else to make a difference on our behalf and start acting. This was the reason why I started this very blog and published my book, Beautiful Thoughts, for the world (and especially my community), to read.
It is in doing these small acts that allows us to take the challenges in our own hands where we may find a pragmatic solution on both a personal and community level that can make a bigger difference than just talking and pointing fingers.
Communities and organizations – our people – must make room to allow diversity in the leadership we look up to. Being bilingual is not more important than character and competency. Make space for second-generation leadership and be proud of the inter-generational community we carry.
I believe it’s time we stopped theorizing and got down to doing something meaningful. Given the opportunity, the right training, and guidance, youth can make an immense contribution. You only need a positive mindset and a sustainable action plan.
The youth need to keep knocking on doors for opportunities, and we adults should keep opening more doors for them.