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On the Outside Looking Indian: How My Second Childhood Changed My Lifeby Rupinder Gill
Synopses & Reviews
There's a phenomenon in Amish culture called Rumspringa, where Amish adolescents are permitted to break free from their modest and traditional lifestyles to indulge in normally taboo activities. They dress how they want, go out if and when they please, smoke, drink and generally party like it's 1899. At the end they decide if they will return and join the Amish church.
I am 30 years old. I wore my hair in two braids every day until I was 12. I dressed more conservatively than most Amish, barely left my house until I was 18 and spent the last 12 years studying and working hard on my career like a good little Indian girl. The time has come; you are witness to the dawning of my Indian Rumspringa, a Ram-Singha if you will. But instead of smoking and drinking Bud Lights in a park while yelling 'Down with barn raising ' I plan to indulge in a different manner — by pursuing everything I wish had been a part of my youth. Things I always felt were part of most North Americans' adolescent experience. I will learn to swim, go to summer camp, see Disneyworld, take dance lessons, have sleepovers and finally get the pet I longed for my whole life.
This is the story of the ultimate New Year's resolution, more akin to a new life resolution. Will it all be fun? Will my friends and family support my walk down memory-less lane? Will it all matter in the end? I don't know yet but much like my young Rumspringaed-out counterpart, I will decide whether or not there is any going back.
From the Hardcover edition.
A memoir of a young woman, the product of a strict upbringing by conservative Indian parents, who decides to go on a Ram-Singha, her Indian version of the rumspringa, and learns how to dance, swim, drive, travel, and play in order to be happy.
Rupinder Gill was raised under the strict rules of her parents' Indian upbringing. While her friends were practicing their pliés, having slumber parties, and spending their summers at camp, Rupinder was cleaning, babysitting her siblings, and watching hours on end of American television. But at age 30, Rupinder realized how much she regretted her lack of childhood adventure.
Stepping away from an orderly life of tradition, Rupinder set put to finally experience the things she missed out on. From learning to swim and taking dance lessons, to going to Disney World, her growing to-do list soon became the ultimate trip down non-memory lane. What began as a desire to experience all that had been denied to her leads to a discovery of what it means to be happy, and the important lessons that are learned when we are at play. Reminiscent of Mindy Kaling, this is a warm funny memoir of the daughter of Indian immigrants learning to break free and find her own path.
when we are at play.
About the Author
Rupinder Gill's writing has been published in the National Post and the McSweeney's website. She has written for CBC Radio and Canada's This Hour Has 22 Minutes.
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