Why *Desi* TCK? Why not just TCK? TCK's have a confused sense of identity anyways, right? So, why is Desi so important? Or, why not Pakistani TCK and not Desi TCK?
These are some questions I've been asked by friends and strangers who have come across my blog. I think my reasoning for the title when I made this blog back in 2014 is much different than my reasoning behind keeping the title as is now.
Let's start off by explaining what exactly Desi is. Desi is a term used by individuals from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh to describe themselves/their cultures; it is a term particularly used by those abroad from these regions. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the history of South Asia, these three countries used to be one, united country prior to 1947. Needless to say, the three countries share a lot in common. Foods, languages, culture, dress, religions, and so forth. There are *a lot* of differences as well, between the three countries (in all honesty, individual regions or cities within the countries are so different from each other as well!) but we share this common identity of being Desi.
I think in 2014, when I started my blog, I decided to use the term Desi for a couple of reasons. One being Pakistani is too long and not as catchy! Another being that while most people are unfamiliar with Pakistan, they're very familiar with India... And our countries are similar enough (particularly Pakistan and North India) that we may as well become one again. So, writing Pakistan would be too alien for a stranger who came across my blog. I couldn't write Indian, because even though all my ancestory is from India, I hold no physical connection to that country (such as citizenship, a passport, etc. I've even yet to visit). Another reason is that I felt that Pakistani TCK was too specific, and Desi was a better term for me to be able to reach more people, of similar backgrounds in terms of passport country's culture and being a TCK in general. Why not just TCK, though? Because I felt that by only writing TCK, I was portraying being ashamed of my background, which, if I'm honest, during my childhood, I often was. I don't think I can count how many times I wished I was white, and in particular, a white American. *Note: I couldn't be more proud of my ancestry, culture, and where I'm from now!*
Now, after years of reflecting on my newfound identity of being a TCK (who knew there was a term for people like me?! And so many others like me?! I sure didn't!), I'm realizing that Desi is a vital part of my identity. I would go as far as to argue that half of my identity is being Desi, and the other half is being a TCK. My view of the world has been framed from both these identities; I would be a completely different person if one or both of these identities were taken away from my past. I see the world through those two lenses. Equally importantly, the world views me from one of those... Being Desi. No one can look at me and guess, "Oh, she's totally a TCK!" but it's easy to guess "Oh, she's brown -> probably from India, Pakistan or Bangladesh!" (though I've been confused multiple times for being Chinese, Korean, or Japanese. Umm... What? :P) and fortunately, and unfortunately, that's how people perceive me. The racism that has been thrown at me, because of my dark skin, dark hair, prominent features symbolizing me as a DESI would have never happened if I were of a difference race, and same with some of the beautiful memories I have gained because I look like I'm Desi.
I feel that to the world, even if they don't know the term for people "like me", I'm Desi, but to myself, I am Desi and so much more. I'm a Desi TCK. They go hand in hand for me. I'm not one without the other. I could as easily say I am a TCK that is Desi, instead of a Desi TCK, focusing on the TCK aspect of my identity, but honestly guys... What flows better? :P
I just wish the world as a whole understood what either of those terms (Desi or TCK) meant, and it was used in our common vocabulary, because there is no easier way for me to explain who I am than saying I am a Desi TCK. To make my life more simple, I normally just say I am a Pakistani who has moved around a lot, but then I leave out the entire part of my family's ancestory of being Indian. I have yet to find a way to explain to someone in one sentence who I am than by saying I am a Desi TCK. In any other way that I have introduced myself, ever, I have felt that I am lying to my own self about who I really am, or even belittling it. I just wish others understood these terms.
Both halves of my identity are equally important to me. Yes, I am a TCK, but all my views and my entire life is framed around the fact that I am Desi. On the other hand, Yes, I am a Pakistani (or Desi), but all my views and my entire life is framed around the fact that I am also a TCK. They go hand in hand; I can't be one without being the other. It feels great to finally understand that about myself.