Rochester Second-Generation Hindus are at Home in Two Cultures

April 23, 2006

Source: Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

On April 23, 2006 the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reported, "Kashika Sahay is 17, a senior at Fairport High School who was born in this country to Indian parents. She is Indian, but she is American as well. She can be at home in a sari — the traditional Indian dress — and at home in blue jeans. Increasingly, she has company in this dance between the two cultures. From a local community of perhaps 500 people 30 years ago, the Asian Indian population now numbers about 5,000 in Monroe County and a few hundred in the region's other counties... For sure, the children in the religion classes at the temple come prepared. They bring books on India and Hinduism in their tote bags. Sitting on the floor, their backs straight, their hands folded, their shoes off, they chant the prayers they know by heart. And they raise their hands eagerly to answer the questions of Sahay and the other teachers. When Sahay suggests that there can be too many Cheetos, too much candy, too much of a good thing, they understand. Moderation is the key. A good life is a balanced life. 'I've learned so much, volunteering to do this,' Sahay says later. 'When I prepare, I learn a lot'... Cricket is a game that Meghesh Pansari, 10, understands and likes so much that he has a cricket field in his back yard. But Meghesh also plays baseball in the Brighton Little League. He's a pitcher and he loves the game. His sporting life is balanced between both worlds. Sunday afternoons, however, are usually reserved for the religion classes at the Hindu Temple. Meghesh likes learning about India, and he likes the fact that much of the teaching is through stories."