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Friday, September 9, 2011

Raising a Chindian (or two)

When I was pregnant with Nikhil, I always wondered what he would look like. I have lots of Indian friends who married Caucasian spouses, but only knew of a few Indian/East Asian couples, only one of which had kids. So, I used to google "Chindian" the combination of Chinese-Indian, that people of these 2 cultures call themselves. Apparently, there are a lot of Chindians in Hong Kong and Malaysia, there's even a facebook page devoted to them.

Here's our little Chindian. He started out looking very Chinese when he was born and over the past 2.5 years, he has started to look a little more like me (at least the eyes).

3 weeks

7 weeks

7 months

9 months
1 1/2 years

2 years

Though, though there are many people of Chinese descent here in Hawaii, there are not too many Indians - we only make up 0.21% of the population in Honolulu, which is the highest percentage compared to neighbor islands. East Asians comprise 40% of the population. This was the main reason that I wanted Nikhil to have an Indian first name. I figured his last name was Chinese and growing up in Hawaii, I didn't want him to lose all of his Indian culture, since being Chinese is so much more common. I can't exactly say that I've held on to my culture all that well, since I'm second generation, and can't speak my parent's language, but it does sadden me that for Nikhil being Indian may just be a footnote.

We try to tell Nikhil that he's Indian and Chinese, and he knows that, but he thinks it's extremely funny to say that instead, "I not Chinese or Indian, I'm Jumpenese" ( meaning Japanese). And, then he tells us that Mommy and Daddy are also Jumpenese. Oh well!

In the effort to bring a little more Indian culture home, I've bought a few Indian-American books and toys. In our multi-ethnic society, I'd think most Indian-Americans raising mixed race kids may find these interesting.

I found these cute Tamil alphabet blocks online here. They have Gujurati, Hindi, Telugu and Malayalam also. They're eco-friendly and made from teak.
My parents bought this super cute book on the Hindu gods and godesses (available on Amazon). The pictures of are in the style of Japanese anime, created by an Indian-American Pixar animator and the descriptions are nice basic (though probably still a little too old for Nikhil now). My nanny was even reading it one day !

And, here are some books that a patient was kind enough to bring back from his latest trip to New Delhi.

So, we'll see if Nikhil ever figures out that he isn't Jumpenese and what exactly his mixed race means here in Hawaii, where 25% of the population is mixed race. Overall, it's a wonderful place to raise a family and I'm looking forward to seeing what Baby #2 looks like!

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