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Sweets, Treats, & Things that Matter When You're Young MAG
When I was younger, I tried to keep my culture and my school life as far apart as possible. Being one out of only two Indians in my entire 3rd grade class, that was quite the easy task.
On our birthday in lower school, we were given the opportunity to bring in a treat to share with the class. "Normal" kids would bring in cookies, brownies, cupcakes, or anything else their suburban moms baked for them. I was determined to make my mother do the same.
I came home from school the day before my birthday and asked my mother if she could make me a strictly American sweet for my birthday. Knowing my mother, an incredible baker, I thought she was going to say yes right away and just move on.
I was very wrong.
My mother had gone to the Indian market that morning and brought home a box of rasgulla, a spongy, syrupy sweet that melts in your mouth. She placed the box in my hand and told me to bring it to class tomorrow for my treat.
I refused. There was no way I was going to face the embarrassment of bringing a treat that nobody had heard of. My mother insisted though, telling me that I would be introducing my classmates to something new. After lots of convincing, I finally gave up and accepted the box.
The next day came and my nerves were through the roof. When break time rolled around, I anxiously handed my teacher the box of sweets, cellophane crinkling in my shaking fingers, praying that everything would end well.
I watched as my teacher placed a syrupy confection on each child's napkin, fidgeting as the students took a bite.
“Ew, what is this?”
“It tastes like butt!”
I was mortified. I sank low into my seat, wanting to disappear as my classmates laughed and spit it out. Tears welled in my eyes as I contemplated my life decisions, wondering if this was a reasonable explanation to move to Australia.
I rested my head in my arms on my desk and tried not to cry. Then, I felt a soft tap on my shoulder. I looked up hesitantly and saw a boy standing over me, with half the rasgulla in his hand.
“Hey, I thought it was great!” he said with a toothy smile. At that moment, above all the laughter and comments about how "disgusting" my treat tasted, that one comment was the only thing that mattered.
That kind line stuck with me and is still with me now. Ever since that day, I have never been afraid to introduce my culture to others around me.