Indian Boy: I Tore It Up

The lives of common men are often left unseen and, as such, are the lives of common Indian men. However today, stories big and small will be brought to attention. As a new addition to the many individual stories traveling Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, PLD Lamplighter presents “Indian Boy,” a trilogy of common tales by our broadcast editor Rohan Palla.

High school is coming to a close. This not only concludes these past four years but the long chapter of my life from growing up in the ‘desi’ culture to having to adapt with it in America.

Throughout these years, my accomplishments would not have occurred if I was simply American nor if I was simply Indian. It was the combination of these two sides of my world. The culture of masala curry, Hinduism and Bollywood action heroes accompanied by the country of golden gates, technology and opportunity. A clear example is my passion for film. Film would not have sprung into my life without the stories of Rajamouli and the late night Hindu cinemas my dad and I used to go to, as well as the streets of fans in Hyderabad. However, the opportunities to further this passion existed in New York’s summer film camp, Kentucky’s Governor’s School for the Arts and Dunbar’s Lamplighter.

This past weekend I attended an Indian family wedding reception. Unlike normal parties, south Indians tend to have a bit more fun or as we like to say “cimpe” (chimp-ey), which means “tear it up.” We danced, partied and spent every moment with each other like it was our last. Just because we live in America now does not mean we had to change the culture of celebration that Indian families share, especially when the opportunity of moving here cost us being spread out.

This is the same family that has told me to “cimpe” when it came to pursuing my interest in film these past few years and ultimately when I got accepted to the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts. To support a profession with such high risk and deviation from standard Indian expectations is no small feat; pursuing film with their approval is something I could never have dreamt of.

In commemoration of the first chapter of my life and in celebration of what the future holds, I created the film “Roads to Um”. Why? ‘Um’ is the syllable of doubt that has driven my unpredictable life as an “Indian Boy” to the passion I found to fill that void: film. So what better way to end than to use film to recap the stories, the adventures, the culture and the families that I’ve grown with? And it also happens to be that this story is the last paper/article/video/project/assignment that I will ever do in high school so, naturally, I thought I should “tear it up.”