From Professor Crawford's
ENGL080: Reading/Writing I
Priti Singh, 41 interviewed by her
Best friend Alicia Perkins, 28
Recorded in New Jersey
Our friendship goes back about 4 years ago. We used to work together at a salon and we were both not in very good places in our personal life. Through our friendship and our experiences that we have learned through life we have managed to find happiness in places that we never thought possible. Today we live about 800 miles from each other but our friendship has only gotten stronger. Priti is the sister that I never had and I look up to her for being such a strong, powerful woman that she has become today.
Alicia Perkins: Was it hard being Indian growing up in America?
Priti Singh: I was born in 1968 in New Brunswick, NJ and raised in that area until I went to college and then got married right after college, that’s when I moved around a lot. Growing up in America at the time didn’t seem that difficult because it was what it was and I didn’t know any better, but now as I look back it was hard. The culture was different at home and at school. My parents had no understanding of what the culture was like out of our house, so to find a balance between the two was nonexistent. I always felt different even from the Indian kids because I liked being friends with all the other kids too (American, Chinese, and Jewish) but the Indian kids only talked to other Indian kids. So not only was I torn in the differences in my culture but within my culture I was different.
A good example of being raised different is I remember when I was in 5th grade the school had a Halloween parade after lunch and the parents would either come to the school to bring their children their costumes or they would send it to school with them. My mom didn’t even know so I remember during lunch ( crying all the way there to find a costume, which I did, but I was in 5th grade and I had to do it all alone. I can remember how sad I was and how I kind of felt out of place. Even though it wasn’t my mom s fault, looking back now I understand but I hated being Indian at that moment.
Alicia Perkins: What was it like growing up knowing that you were going to have an arranged marriage?
Priti Singh: In the back of my mind I always knew that my dad was going to find someone for me to marry, but I had told myself that if I fell in love with someone else before the arranged marriage was to be taken place that I would follow my heart. Unfortunately that didn’t happen, so I just did what my father said. My father wasn’t going to marry me off to just anyone. It took my father a few years of looking and researching the guys that he was interested in for me to marry. My dad’s goal was to find someone that was good for me. The guy had to meet certain criteria, for example he had to be from a good family, educated, someone that would be able to take care of me and someone that I could raise a family with. Like all dads want for their daughters he wanted to find a man that was as good a man as he was that he could trust to take care of his daughter for the rest of her life.
Alicia Perkins: After looking back at you rife is there anything you would have changed?
Priti Singh: I really would not change anything about my life, not even my horrible marriage or divorce. I know that my dad feels guilty about who he chose for me to marry but back then he had no idea what kind of man my ex-husband was or who he turned out to be. Even though those 13 years of marriage were hell for me, it has made me the woman I am today. I realized that I deserve the very best that life has to offer and that I wasn’t going to settle for anything less than I deserve. I have found the love of my life and we recently had a little girl that has put a whole new perceptive on our lives.
The only thing that I would have changed is I wish I would have had a better education and a better career. But I believe that everything happens for a reason and in time everything will all come together for me and my new life.
Alicia Perkins: When Diya gets older what advice do you have for her?
Priti Singh: Now that I have a child I want to make sure she is a strong person with a great education and I want her have all the knowledge that she can about different cultures. I want her to be social and have amazing experiences all the over the world and to not judge people. To understand that everyone is different and we all have different experiences and understanding of lives. I want her to go have high hopes and dreams and be true to her feelings and respectful of others.
By doing this interview, it has helped me learn a lot more about Priti. I thought I knew almost everything about her but there’s just certain question that you just don’t ask or think of while you’re sitting around having coffee. I actually was getting goose bumps as I was writing this and it has helped me learn how another culture feels while they are growing up in America. Priti has always said to me that people come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime and I truly believe her and I take that advice with whoever I meet…..