Related but not entirely. A few years back, I used to struggle in accepting my ethnicity. And a lot of it was because of my accent. Having been raised in Dubai and after getting introduced to various western T.V shows, I felt the need to change the way I’d speak when it came to speaking in front of a crowd. The thing about influence is, it can be positive and at times it can be negative. It is very easy for us to be swayed by certain habitual patterns that slowly start to question who we truly are. Because I grew up in Dubai and also because of the fact that having an accent would make me sound cool and a little popular, I sent myself further down on a spiral that took me a really long time to come out of.
I wanted to sound more posh. More Western and less Indian. If I’m being honest, I didn’t want to accept my ethnicity. I didn’t like the fact that I was Indian solely because of the way I’d speak, resulting in me not being able to find friends who didn’t want anything to do with me just because I sounded and pronounced things a little differently. But that changed when I had a heart-to-heart discussion with my mother who told me a very crucial message that still resonates with me till date.
Possessing an accent doesn’t necessarily mean that your English is good. You can have an accent and still make mistakes, let alone making people interested in knowing about you. I can’t change my ethnicity. I can’t change my nationality either. Truer words couldn’t be spoken, so I decided from then on that I was going to inculcate the habit of reading more books that’ll enable me to develop my language and vocabulary further. Gradually, my popularity in school increased as I’d often be the first in raising my hand when it came to pronouncing difficult words and even taking part in various public speaking competitions.
After that, everyone knew me as ‘The Dictionary Girl’, for a good reason obviously.
It’s amazing how one conversation and the habit of reading can do to you and your mind. If you ask me now, I am proud of my heritage. I am proud of my roots and confident in the way in which I speak. Even if people have a few things to say about me…so what?