The ABCD in our home

The other day, Chetan and Vivaan were watching a Hindi movie. There was a fight scene, immediately followed by a song-and-dance sequence (it was a Hindi movie remember?). I was cooking and listening to their conversation at the same time. It is fun listening when it’s someone else answering his questions and not me. Here’s how the conversation went:

Vivi: Why are they dancing now?

Chetan: Because it’s bollywood.

Vivi: (referring to the actor in the song): Why is he not wearing a shirt?

Chetan: Because he is Salman Khan (a very popular actor notorious for his missing shirts).

Clearly, this boy has never lived in India. If he did, he would never ask silly questions like these. We come into this world knowing Amitabh Bachchan and Madhuri Dixit and the whole choreographed-dances-with-100-dancers-in-the-middle-of-a-fight-scene thing. In fact, we thrive on all of these. What does he know about it, he would-eat-cake-with-a-fork, please and thank-you saying ABCD who thinks blowing the car’s horn is not nice.

I should probably explain what ABCD means in case you have not heard it before. ABCD is an acronym for ‘American Born Confused Desi’. ‘Desi’ is a Hindi word that means ‘local’ or ‘from one’s own country’ and is used to address Indians and South Asians living abroad. Desis who moved to the US early in their lives or were born and brought up here are called ABCDs by the non-ABCDs.  Some people (the ABCDs) may find this term to be offensive, but that doesn’t stop others (the non-ABCDs) from using it.

Living with my son, who has been in the US since he was six months old, gives me plenty of insight into a budding ABCD’s psyche. As much as I want him to be a ‘normal’ child who has no confusion about his identity, I know that is not how it is going to be. I mean the kid thinks it is not normal for Salman Khan to dance without his shirt on. How can he not be an ABCD?

I will continue to share more about his progress. In the meantime, here is a song from Salman Khan’s latest movie that got the ‘nice song but weird video’ award. Enjoy!