Flight: A Letter to My Indo-Caribbean Parents
Written By: Chandra Persaud
To (My) Indo-Caribbean Parents Living in North America,
I admire you. Your tenacity, grit, perseverance. I deeply admire you. You are amongst the bravest people I know. You took flight all those years ago and maneuvered your way through all sorts of weather until you landed where you are now. I applaud you.
You followed a trajectory. A trajectory heavily rooted in tradition and expectation, but also colored with bits of ownership, individuality, and hope for more. It is here where we are not as different as you may think. I crave for more too. I crave to exert my individuality and take ownership of my story. Just as you took flight and found a new way of being, grant me the opportunity to do the same now. My path will not look like yours, just as your path looked so different from those before you. That is what growth requires. Flying into the unknown. It is the only way change happens. It is how a person, and a group of people, grows. You created change in our family’s history. Please allow me to continue that legacy.
I am the new generation of Indo-Caribbeans. The generation that will not make another major continental migration. The generation that is rooted here in North America. The generation that must find our voices, our narratives, our confidence to gain presence in the place we call home. You may have added another hyphen to our identity: Indo-Caribbean-North Americans, but I am the generation of Indo-Caribbeans that has fully lived that reality. I cannot deny that third part of me. It may be the last part of my inherited identity, but it is a major part of my mental makeup. It is on this continent that I earned an education, met my best friend, had my first heartbreak. It is on this continent that I came to know both my Indian and Caribbean roots. And it is on this continent I was taught to embrace my right to explore, step outside the box, be curious, be independent, and be free.
To be free—you were fuelled by your own version of this too all those years ago. You added new pieces to the trajectory you were given because you wanted to taste a kind of freedom your homeland did not provide. Thank you for passing down the map that has served you well. I have followed it to the best of my ability, but I’ve come to realize that it marks your path to freedom. I find traces of myself in it, but I don’t fit into it perfectly. It was made for you and in many ways, by you. I want to taste a kind of freedom of my own making, hidden within a trajectory of my making.
I was a passenger on your flight. I watched you take charge and land us safely. I learned how to be brave from you, and now it is time for my own flight. I can see fear in your eyes. Perhaps you believe I will get lost, fly too far astray, or lose my way entirely. Please trust me a bit here. Please believe in my ability to pilot this flight. I cannot do this without you. Remember you built the runway and the aircraft. Bless me with the ability to take off. I promise, I will always come home.
About the Author
Chandra Persaud is a New York State licensed speech-language pathologist. When she is not improving the communication abilities of her clients, Chandra enjoys writing poetry (IG: @pieces_of_acp), short stories, and reflective pieces on topics such as love, heartbreak, identity, and self-actualization. She was born in Guyana, immigrated to the United States at the age of two, and raised in New York City.