Nisha Mathur is an author, journalist, actress and co-anchor of the worldwide Asian Variety Show who wants to share her bi-cultural life experience with the young.
So, she paid a visit to Red Bank Regional High School (RBR) recently to enlighten students in the school's Academy of International & Cultural Studies' (AICS) Cultural Explorations class on her Indian culture and assimilation into American ways while climbing the ladder of success in her communications career.
As the autobiographer of My Mango Tango, Mathur traces her family's three-generational quest for the American dream and how she balances a life caught between two vastly different cultures, a release from RBR said.
“My main goal (in writing the book) was to provide comfort to others going through similar situations, and that they are not alone," Mathur said in a released statement. "A lot of adults go through balancing two cultures. My main point is that you don’t have to choose but can take the best from both.”
In illustrating that point, she described her family’s traditional celebration of the Hindu Festival of Lights, Diwali. Her family’s American home was transformed into a little India adorned in elaborate Indian decorations. She dressed in the traditionally sari, sang Indian songs and ate Indian food.
"The next day I would go to school in my American jeans, eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and talk about Elvis," Mathur told the students.
Mathur also took her experiences to a hands-on level with the students as she demonstrated how to dress in a Sari by wrapping its six yards of fabric around sophomore Aliyyah Muhammad.
Some students could relate to Mathur, as they said they had emulated her situation in their own homes, maintaining their families' respective ethnic roots while adopting the modern American culture mix in their lives.
“What I found very interesting was when she talked about her life as a teenager," sophomore Casey Judge said in the release. "She wouldn't dare ask her parents if she could go to prom because it was not acceptable in her culture to date. But now her kids go to prom and dances with no problem. The cultural and generational differences are really interesting to learn about.”
Mathur also shared stories of her television career, which includes live interviews of some of
Bollywood’s most famous actors and actresses. Her work in the Bollywood entertainment arena as well as a recent project Mathur has undertaken with prominent Indian-American leaders in the areas of politics and commerce piqued the students' interest.
“I am reading her book and
I love it!" sophomore Sophia
Mazzini said speaking of Mathur's advice to blend the best of both cultures in a bi-cultural life. "I feel like I can relate as an American-Greek and it inspires me to use
my culture as inspiration for the things I will do in the future.”