Indian Festivals And Importance Of Diversity

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One of my favorite quotes is “The universe is made up of stories, not atoms.” I love partaking in conversations, particularly if it is intellectually stimulating. It makes me reevaluate my perspectives and further enhances my ability to relate to others.

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Given my life journey, I’ve learned how to respect and appreciate various cultures as well as understand various schools of thought. I know that diversity can be founded on several criteria and is not limited to race or culture. Various influences in my life have also taught me that barriers exist only when we refuse to step out of our mental cocoons. This is a deeply ingrained perspective that I bring with me to try future cohorts.

As a person of Indian origin growing up in Jamaica I see diversity from a unique lens. People long lost into the depths of oblivion; their faces invisible and their existence uncertain. They look like anyone from my dad's hometown, but that is only superficially in appearance. They have blended into the Creole culture of the Caribbean, thus killing their ability to speak fluent Bengali, Telugu, Bhojpuri, Tamil, Haryanvi, or even Hindi and now speak English with that lilt of Latin American and Caribbean dialect but still have that Indian touch to their disposition. They celebrate Indian festivals like Holi, Diwali, and Eid but in their markedly blended fashion; and cook Indian cuisine like gulab jamun, puri, sweet rice, seven curries, etc., but with distinctly Caribbean flavors.

The Indo-Jamaicans have relentlessly tried to trace their roots back to India but never get disappointed by the missing links of the long-chain across the Atlantic. They still pine for the Indian in them and have managed to keep bits and pieces of it alive through popular Bollywood music, a love for cricket, and rituals that hark back to a hazy past. Getting to know their distinct mix of Indian and Caribbean customs, beliefs, and society; and being able to mingle with them and help them find their auld-lang-syne can, possibly, is amongst the best experiences of my life thus far.

As a student of medicine, I need to observe and understand others. Interacting with a diverse community aids in breaking the shackles of prejudices and embracing novelty and foresight. I believe future medical professionals have more of a scientific responsibility towards inclusiveness because we’re providing a prognosis that affects a large proportion of the population. Diverse teams of doctors, nurses, and medical equipment trouble-shooters working in a hospital will be able to flag problems that could have negative consequences before a procedure is signed off. We need the world we build to reflect and respect everyone. It is that basic and that profound. 

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