I wouldn’t be the first person you think of when looking for an authority on Indian culture. Actually, I wouldn’t be the last either. I was born and raised in the Chicago Burbs from immigrant parents. By the time I was born, they had already lived here for over 10 years. They had the best intentions when they decided not to teach us Hindi. They believed that it would be detrimental to our future by having an accent, rather than as we know now, be an asset to have a 2nd language. My parents wanted us to assimilate and so we celebrated Christmas every year and barely knew about Diwali. Let’s face it, Macy’s sales are much better in December than October. While trying so hard to fit in and ignore what made us different, not only did I lose out on a lot of our culture, I also never quite felt like I belonged. Regretfully, sometimes I even wished I wasn’t Indian.
I always yearned to be more connected to my culture. While we did have an Indian community that we were a part of, at school my siblings and I were the only Indian kids in class.
When I was old enough, I started seeking friends who could relate to my lifestyle. Eventually, I married my husband who grew up in London with a totally different dynamic. His enormous family held on so tightly to their heritage sometimes blindly that even some basic questions, like why do you say “Jai Shree Krishna” when greeting others, he wasn’t able to answer.
When I became a mom, I knew that I wanted my children to be proud of who they are and where they come from. But I also wanted to be able to teach them the meaning behind the traditions which were never taught to me. The question was how.
We had been doing our best between getting information from their grandparents, participating in Indian festivals, and enrolling in Indian activities. Then one day while cruising Facebook, I saw a picture of my nephew reading a book about Ganesha.
In 9 years of parenting, I had never seen a children’s book like that before so ofcourse I went on to Amazon and bought it. There were a couple other like it so I bought those too. The kids loved them. They felt connected to the stories and had explanations that they had never had before.
When my middle daughter, Aria, was star student of the week, she was told to bring in a few pictures of herself along with a book to read to the class. She wanted to take only pictures where she was wearing Salwars or Gagras and also take the new Indian books that we had bought. It made my heart melt that she was so proud to be Indian, that she wanted to share her differences with her class. The opposite of me who was just trying to blend in at her age.
I started thinking about ways to keep that excitement going, not only for them to have pride in their culture but to learn more about the meaning behind it. It was great to have found a couple of books but they aren’t something you pick up at Target or at the Book Fair. We needed to spend time on Amazon to find well-written ones that were engaging and beautifully illustrated. I started thinking that if I never knew these books existed and had trouble finding good ones, then other parents would be going through the same thing.
Then after looking at several posts about Kiwicrate and Blue Apron on my feed, it hit me. I could create a service for parents to do this for them, who don’t have the time or energy to seek these materials out. At the same time make it exciting for kids on a regular basis with crafts, treats, charms, and challenges. What kids wouldn’t enjoy receiving a cool box in the mail every month made just for them? I selected just the right amount of things to enhance the books and Sanskriti Box was born.
I truly believe in this service as it is a labor of love by me and my family. I want all kids of Indian descent to be proud of the beautiful culture they come from. From my own 1st hand experience, I know what growing up as a minority is like and I want to make it super special for them to be proud of being Indian.
Please subscribe or send a gift to the special kids in your life who would enjoy learning about Indian culture at www.sanskritibox.com.