IV. A Hybrid was in our Midst? Who Knew? -

I am a hybrid.

I’m half-Spanish and half-Punjabi.

Upon appearance, I am only Punjabi.

In the interest of full disclosure, I would consider myself Indian, citizenship or not. The dominance of the culture, the language, and the history became infused within me early on. A curiosity and a couple of questions eventually gave way to a lifestyle.

My love for all things India-related, (and I just realized that tomorrow is India’s Independence Day… The irony of it all), probably started with Sikhism - a religion where tenets are preceded by identity.

(My love for India was mostly due to Sikhism and partially due to the fact that no can deny that I stood out among the Puerto Ricans on one side of the family, which can easily be seen as being an abnormality in a child’s eyes. Yet I seemed to fit in seamlessly among my Indian side of the family.)

I am also the type of person who likes to be different from others and to stand out in a contributory, original, and positive manner.

Upon contemplating over this boon/burden of a need to be unique, I have come to the realization that Sikhism has also acted a means of satisfying this need in addition to the aforementioned. I was only endowed with this realization about a year ago. About a year ago, I went to the Gurudwara, Sikh temple, near my house for the first time after its reconstruction and the first thing I noticed was a sign in the area where one takes off his/her shoes upon entering further.

It read in boldfaced print: Why fit in when you were born to stand out?

I suppose that’s why I sometimes get irritated when people don’t recognize me as a hybrid. It is a part of what makes me distinct.

Yes, this sounded a little contradictory to me as well.

After all, growing up I would play dress up with salwar kameez; I would put on my mom’s heavy Indian jewelry and experiment with ways to drape my dupatta, staring intensely back at myself in the mirror, and all the while feeling beautiful… a rare sentiment for this camera-phobe.

It may also seem contradictory because out of the 80 something songs on my ITunes, about five of them are Spanish and the rest are a mix of Hindi/Punjabi/Urdu.

It is not contradictory. After all, us humans are a paradoxical race. Our lives are bound to be complex.

Regardless, the hybrid that stands in your midst has a very different life specifically because of the fact that he/she is a hybrid.

You cannot deny who you are.

Like the hybrid autos, the exterior may look a certain way - it may look like it belongs to the Japanese or to the Germans, to the ritzy gas-guzzler class of cars or to the used-car lot -

But at the end of the day, the natural hybrid element will always be exposed because instead of having to make a trip to the gas station before work tomorrow, you can park your car that has been using electric power the entire day, go into your house, and not have to think about making a gas station trip for weeks after that very moment.

A baby is an investment.

A hybrid is an investment unlike any other -