A friend of mine is a close friend of an Indian family who lives in the same general area that my friend and I live in. My friend told Mrs. Suayna Patel about my assignment and we were both invited over to dinner at her and Mr. Rajesh Patel’s house for Saturday dinner. My friend and I were warmly invited into their two-story really large tan blockhouse. It is actually located just yards from a hotel they own called “Passport Inn. ” They also occupy the two closest/adjoining rooms to the hotel’s lobby designed as a more modest second home they live out of when there are working as the hotel clerks.
Their house was very elegantly decorated in a way with an obvious female touch. It had an incense smell to it, but enjoyable, not over-powering. I was initially invited into what I believe was their living room. The house had quite a few rooms downstairs so I’m not positive it was their living room. I think all of the family’s bedrooms were located on the second floor. Mrs. Suayna Patel invited me to sit on a sofa and then she proceeded to sit down on the other end. She was very soft-spoken and I really didn’t understand everything she said. She introduced me to her husband Rajesh.
Rajesh, on the other hand, almost spoke as if he were a native of the U. S. although they both came here in 1997 after his uncle purchased two hotels. Their children, nine-year old son Siva and a twelve-year old daughter, Sanirika were born in the U. S. They pretty much acted like American children but possibly with more manners. I’m only stating this because we were to keenly observe things, but both children were over-weight probably like the majority of their American peers. The only communication barriers I had or I should say we had, was between Suayna and myself.
Sometimes we didn’t understand one another but my friend would subtly and courteously intervene and help. They gradually lessened but her husband was quite a bit more extraverted than she was, so he talked to us while Suayna finished cooking the dinner. Suayna was definitely more passive and mild-mannered than the typical American woman and Mr. And Mrs. Patel did assume what we refer to as traditional male and female roles, although my American parents do also. I talked with the children because they were in the room.
They had very little Indian accent and were more than willing to answer questions and talk to me. They were the most extraverted and talkative members of their family, possibly partially due to that they were raised here and have no communication differences from Americans. Suayna invited my friend and I to the table and had us sit down first and then the rest of the family sat down with Rajesh being the last one to be seated. I followed their lead at the table because I didn’t want to talk much at the table if it wasn’t something that was acceptable.
However, they made me comfortable and just talked like any American family at the dinner table. Suayna served the best Chicken Curry with Rice, Naan bread (Dsouza, 2006), and lentil dish I have ever eaten in my life, by the way. I do think their family was more polite between one another and in talking with me than a typical American family. It could have been because of their company but I don’t think so. This isn’t always untypical of American families but I did notice Rajesh didn’t help out with the making of dinner.
He did, however assist in removing the dinnerware and utensils from the table after dinner while neither of them allowed the company to help with the work. Unlike most families of my culture, I guess part of their behavioral language could be that they didn’t seem like had felt a need to occupy every second with words. There was no usage of divergence speaking or emotive language. I feel this is at least partly due to that they didn’t speak at all in a “self-important” manner whatsoever—even the children, at least while I was there.
There was no usage of gestures when talking and there was no creativity or sense of humor in their conversation. They did use relative words when they were telling us why it was easier for them to visit their relatives in India then for their relatives to visit them in America. Overall, their language was cordial and to the point. They spoke pretty succinctly without being verbose. In fact, Mr. And Mrs. Patel spoke slower and less often than the families and friends I typically would eat with. It actually felt pretty peaceful.
The children spoke a little more but they never spoke loudly at the table. As far as what I learned about the culture, because this was just one Indian-American family, I can’t make too many generalizations but I do feel they relate to one another in a quieter, probably a more gentle and peaceful manner than a typical American family. Their overall home and family had a more peaceful feel to it. It was a pleasant experience of India. Source Used D’souza, Z. (2006). Veda: the essential Indian cookbook. Baltimore [Md. ]: PublishAmerica.
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Topic: Cultural Experience
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