tension

When I was about 8 years old, I used to spend a lot of time on my Commodore 64. I was pretty adept with the thing, but there were some things that were still beyond my abilities. So I would sometimes ask for help from a kid who was a little older than me (he was 14, that’s old!)

Like me, his parents were first-generation immigrants, born in India. His brother actually has the same first name that I do, Anil. He also faced that tension unique to second-gen kids, where the intrinsic clash between our parents’ culture and our own becomes almost unbearable. When combined with the usual generation-gap strife of adolescence, it makes for a tough transition into adulthood.

Anyway, that’s a lot of rambling. What I keep thinking about in regards to this kid is that Indian culture is predicated (in regards to child-raising, at least) on decisions being centered on the family, the group, more than the individual. (Of course, I’m speaking in vast generalizations, but bear with me…) And American culture is famously individually-oriented. Lots of good aspects to both cultures. The only bad part? They are largely incompatible visions of how a family should work. Hence, tension.

Okay, so it’s a nice rant on the perils of being a bicultural youth, but what does this have to do with the kid who used to help me with my Commodore 64? Well, I found out yesterday just how much trouble he had been having with navigating the gap between the two cultures…

He killed himself. He was 30 years old.

Anil Dash

Anil Dash

Building @Glitch 🎏 — the friendly community creating the best stuff on the web • humane + ethical tech advocate • I 💜 funk, civics, mangos, justice & people • he/him

Find out more…