Is it one's surroundings or one's history that creates their identity?
It's the days when I am surrounded by cars, buses and the occasional cow, manically trying to maneuver themselves between each other that I sit back and think, "Wow I actually live in India." After three years in this country it still comes as a surprise to me.
Even though I live in a country where Indian culture is everywhere, whether it is blaring from stereos or staring me in the face as I drive past a billboard, it's ironic how I have never felt more African. I feel that my experiences of being an expatriate in India have allowed me to embrace, not only the cultures of others, but of my own country.
I previously believed that my history defines me but now I understand that history has become less of a factor in determining my identity and my surroundings have become more influential.
If I had stayed in South Africa, my country's history of racial segregation would have molded my character rather than the country itself, the country after freedom was attained. In South Africa, I was racially defined as an Indian and I am glad to say that in India I have no race label. I am South African, it is not my race but my nationality; it does not define me but influences the choices I make. During Apartheid, I would have had to declare my race as an Indian. I would have been expected to perform the roles of an Indian in society but I am a part of the generation who escaped the regime. I am a part of the generation that can say "I am free and I have always been free."
Even though I establish myself less with the Indian culture, I have not completely dismissed my background. I still think of my grandmother as I see a Hanuman statue being built near a temple; I still remember the prayers my family performed during religious holidays as I overhear devout chanting.
I do not think I will ever be able to define myself through one identity but I do believe that I am made up of various cultures, the predominant one being African as a result of my current experiences. I may find myself being composed of another culture as I progress through life but I believe that finding an identity is a lifelong journey.
Reword this sentence I previously believed that my history defines me but now I understand that history has become less of a factor in determining my identity and my surroundings have become more influential. /font] to something like " In the past, I believed that my history defined me but now I have realized my surroundings... ".