Personal Narrative: my Childhood

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I grew up in an Indian culture that has a high-power distance. Power distance refers to a way in which power is distributed and people’s attitude towards the differences. This meant that I grew up in a culture that truly believed that valued power in society. Individuals with the most power were the ones who were able to have the highest amount of control and thereby the most respect in society. These individuals often hold high positions in society. One common example of high-power distance in my culture was that people were heavily dependent on whoever was sitting at the top of the hierarchal chain; asking for direction or orders.

The Indian culture also encouraged the fact that one must not interfere with the decision-making process with people in power. Hofstede’s dimensions suggest that the Indian culture has a balanced uncertainty avoidance. Uncertainty avoidance is a way a culture is set up to feel either comfortable or uncomfortable in unstructured situations. The Indian culture is shaped in a way that there is an acceptance of the idea that nothing has to be perfect nor does it have to go as planned when you’re working on something. However, in some respects there is a high uncertainty avoidance in relation to family and relationships. For example, when there are certain problems in workplace, people are comfortable with ambiguity and find it to be very normal when working.

However, when it comes to relationships with family there are boundaries with regards to how open they can be with you. For example, if you go to your parents and say that you want to pursue something, their high uncertainty avoidance may force you to drop the problem and not face it. Hofstede’s studies also suggest that the Indian culture wasn’t individualistic, where personal achievement was given more priority than a group or society. Nor was it collectivistic, where the emphasis on family and group work was above individual needs or desires; it was a bit of both. It was collective in the sense that no matter the situation, we always had family backing us, helping us improve and support us on an any endeavors we may precede to take. On the other hand, it was individualistic as we are set to believe that everyone is individually responsible for the way they lead their lives and it is up to us to make something of ourselves. The Indian culture follows the ideals of a masculine culture, implying that society regarded men to be a more powerful and capable gender. The topic of masculinity and femininity refers to the traits or characteristics associated with a person with masculinity linked to being more assertive and competitive whereas femininity linked to being caring and modest in nature.

Even though our society is moving towards giving woman equal opportunities and responsibilities, I grew up in a culture where traditional ideals hindered with progression. There was always a mentality that women were widely considered to be care takers which often become a barrier when they got an opportunity to move up in life. Generally, women are solely responsible for the welfare of their children and the father is bread winner of the family. India is a very long-term oriented country that looks at the long-term implication of things and that is exactly what people like me are taught for a very long time. Long term orientation looks at how society is focused on fostering virtues oriented towards future rewards. The concept of “Karma” drives the cultural ideals in India. So, many people make long term decisions, and save a lot of money for their future. Since time isn’t seen to be linear, it’s not given much importance by people compared to western societies. Lastly, the Indian society and culture is quite restraint rather than indulgent. They are defined as the extent to which people are able to control their desires and impulses.

India is a has a culture of restraint because individuals follow rules that are based around societal norms of what they perceive to be good and bad. There is more emphasis on work and achievement rather than leisure time. For example, getting the job done well is very highly respected whereas, sitting home and doing nothing is often frowned upon. Me Vs. My Culture A boy, born in India, living in Dubai, and having international education, I’ve had the exposure not only of my culture but also inculcated important qualities from others to become the person I am. Having accepting and supportive parents, I’ve learnt a lot of things that don’t necessarily align to the ideals of the Indian culture. Even though the Indian culture has high power distance, I always believed that the world works better when you’re working together and are heavily involved with your elders or superiors to make decisions. I truly believe in a flat structure rather than a hierarchical because one has the ease of contacting their superiors and working together with them to come up with strategic and efficient solutions. The Indian culture has taught me to believe that elders and superiors are supposed to be respected but I’ve also come to see the advantages of treating people around me with utter respect and fostering relationships.

Despite India having moderate uncertainty, my experiences in a melting pot like Dubai have really shaped the way I perceive things. As a child, I shifted many schools and was put in a situation to always find new friends. Even though it was emotionally difficult, I learnt how to face situations instead of avoiding them and the result of this was that I was able to mingle with people quite seamlessly. I not only used this quality when I came to U.S.A to make friends but used it in any challenge I faced. India is a place that consists of an individualistic and collectivistic society but has a more emphasis on the collectivistic side where things such as family, collective effort, and the idea of a ‘we’ culture over an ‘I’ culture are looked up upon. “Team work makes the dream work”, and that’s a saying I stand by because I truly believe a solution that comes out from a team is a more effective than a solution that comes from an individualistic standpoint.

However, what I resonate the most with the Indian culture is the individualistic ideology of being self-sufficient and being responsible of your own success and hard work. I’ve grown up in a more feministic household rather than a masculine one where I was taught to care for others and be empathetic to people. I also believe in having a balance of work and social life. I’ve always been encouraged to voice my opinion and truly practice what I believe in no matter what it is which is in contradiction with the Indian Culture. And through this I’ve been encouraged to do what pleases me in contrast to what my parents want me to do. Lastly, just like the Indian culture I consider myself to be long term oriented because I’ve always seen the benefit out of it. I learnt this through my parents and saw the advantages of planning earlier and being ready for any kind of hindrance. And even though one can’t really forget about the short-term implication, I always ensure to line my interests in the end of the day to help me reach my long-term goals.

Furthermore, despite the Indian culture being restraint, I was grown up to become indulgent who prioritizes leisure just as much as other things in life. This is because my parents always believed a person is personified from more than just his accomplishments. They believed that an individual’s experiences to different things is what makes them them and that’s why ive always been up for different experiences in life. How does this influence my communication with others? Having a low power distance is very important to me because I truly believe in the idea of different minds working together on common problems.

The fact that you can treat everyone equally and form relationships in a professional and social way is an idea that really interest me. This has not only allowed me to become closer to some seniors in workplaces but has also given me the knowledge and experience to break the ice with individuals seamlessly. Having less uncertainty avoidance has helped me not only to become more openminded but has also helped me take on many different ventures. It helps me relax myself in the face of ambiguity which always helps me because my goal remains stagnant and doesn’t distract or sidetrack me to stress out or completely avoid the situation. In relation to me being collectivistic, I believe a diverse team with different cultures working together would be able to come up with a solution that is not only effective but will help cater to people all across the globe. This has been a very important learning journey for me because I get the opportunity of knowing how other people attempt to solve the same problems as I am but with a different take on it. And learning those different methods has allowed me to become more and more aware of how things are.

The fact that I’m very empathetic and caring has also helped me in these situations because I’m easily able to gain trust of my peers by being a good listener and helping them form their thoughts and opinions on things that would help people pursue what they want to do. And this trait has helped me make a lot of meaningful friendships and has made me a more caring about the wellbeing of others. Even though, I love the idea of a collectivistic society and the idea of a team, Me also being an individualist and long term oriented, has helped me greatly form an idea of what I want to do in my life and pave a path for me to follow to be successful in whatever it is that I’ve wanted to do and this in relation to others I think is a very normal thing in our day and age. Lastly, me being indulgent has been a base to me being a more of a collectivist than an individualist. This is because I’ve come to love knowing about things that are not only unknown to me but also helps me become more aware and openminded every day.  

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Personal Narrative: my childhood. (2021, Oct 20). Retrieved from

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