Asians Preserve Cultures, but Adapt to Western Ways

December 1, 2006

Author: Ramesh Santanam

Source: Pocono Record

Wire Service: AP

PITTSBURGH -- Archana Patel celebrates Hindu religious festivals, cooks Indian vegetarian food, watches Bollywood movies with friends and knows her marriage will be arranged.

Chandrasiri Jayakody and Ananda Gunawardena join fellow Sri Lankans at monthly alms-giving ceremonies at a new Buddhist temple and cultural center just outside of Pittsburgh.

And architect Mimi Jong, who plays an ancient Chinese musical instrument known as the erhu, founded a musical group to nurture crosscultural understanding through art.

"I am very adamant about my Indian identity. It's a big part of me and it stays with me all the time," said Patel, 25, a University of Pittsburgh law student who has lived in the U.S. for 18 years.

Patel has sought out Indian friends at Pitt and believes it's important for her to do so.

"We are a lost generation of Indian-Americans. We are Indian and American and we fit into neither completely," Patel said. "We try to figure out which culture to fit into our lifestyles and identity."