Differences between family in western and eastern culture

1389 Words Feb 24th, 2004 6 Pages
As I stand here in the middle of the dance floor at my brother 's wedding, listening to the very Punjabi bhangra music blasting on the wall speakers, I walk the fine line between being conservative Indian - those of Ivy League chemical engineering PhD 's, of having no less than 50 cousins, of spending every spare moment in life with family - and being a Westerner, coolly expressing my ever-apparent condescending attitude towards those of the East, looking in disgust at the seemingly uncouth Indian parents who smooch their children at every chance. I have been on this line my whole life, torn between two cultures - the Indian, and the American. The main differences between the two lie in the attitudes towards family, which eventually …show more content…
This topic, of disrespecting elders, can be carried on ad nauseum by anyone who has seen the differences between the Eastern and Western cultures. The difference is striking. In India, were a parent to ask their child to vacate the living room, as family was about to visit, the response would almost invariably be "Haa ji... abhi jhaatha hoon", meaning "yes, of course... I will go right away". Let me recall an incident in the family living room during the summer of 1995 when my grandmother was visiting America (and a country other than India) for the first time. My younger brother, who had lived all his life in America, was having trouble tying his shoes, as he was only five years old. My grandmother, with the back problems, arthritis and all, bent down to help him. My brother, having just reached the tender age of five, put his fingers under my grandmother 's chin, tilted up her head, and slapped her in the face twice. In case you are in shock, which is likely, read that sentence again - it actually happened. I know, of course, that this is in no way typical, but it is hard not to see the difference that growing up in the two different cultures can have.

There are, of course, the negatives to the Indian side of my life and family - again tying in with the respect demanded by the older generations. Sometimes they can end up being a trifle condescending and excessively demanding of the youngest generations, a generation that, at the moment, includes
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