community is an idea that has got me thinking a lot lately.
the fact that i'm from an individualistic society and and husband is from a community oriented one, i feel has given me a rare opportunity to kind of catch a glimpse into both worlds. the fact that many of my dearest friends are also not from the US has helped out as well.
community is like a buzzword lately. despite the fact that our society here in the USA doesn't operate in a community oriented way, still it seems as though everyone is trying to create community one way or another...from businesses, to churches, and even to facebook.
what i really want to know is, what would a community in the west look like?
here in the west we desire community...but we desire it on our own terms. we only like to let people see what we want them to see. we're not really interested if it means giving up our individuality, or our ability to make our own choices.
so i guess in the west you can see that people are hungry for community...but they're not willing to commit to it, so it leaves us in a bit of a conflicted state. i'm just the same. i love community...but i also love independence. so where does that leave me?
india is very community oriented like most eastern cultures...and that kind of value in a culture can be a really beautiful thing...except for when it's a really bad thing. the values of community are one of the things i love most about indian culture. however, sometimes you see community used as a weapon in societies that highly value it. if an individual decides to break the social expectations of the community, then they are threatened with losing their status and being an outcast.
in the west this only sounds like a mildly vicious consequence of independent thinking...but in a society where community is everything, it has the power to destroy a life.
however this power that community has over people's decisions certainly works for the good as well...people will often choose not to make a harmful decision because of the community influence. the problem occurs when the values held by a particular community become distorted.
so how do we create a healthy balance of community? especially in the west?
i feel blessed to have friends from such a variety of cultures, backgrounds, and experiences, so i really value all of your thoughts on this matter...
this may sound very basic...but one thing that i see being central to community is this...
i really don't know why, but eating with people seems to have a strange way of making them feel connected...especially if that means cooking for each other and sharing.
another thing that i think is central, but that also contributes to community being a challenge in the west is living space.
when people live in close proximity to each other then they have to either avoid each other or else form some sort of community.
a common set of beliefs or a purpose might also foster community. but not necessarily...
in the west we've definitely learned to separate the two...
what things do you think create community? let me know your thoughts!


  1. I know what you mean about communtiy in the west I have lived in Texas for over 12yrs before I moved up to the east coast. Let me tell you community here is the same they have the idea but don't go though with it for many reasons. Ithink it can be good thing to be part of communit to an extent I love free thinking and dressing how I want etc. People should not be disowned or removed from their community though,

  2. I have always found language and food to be two things that connect people world wide. I've experienced the feeling of instantaneous friendship due to these two influences and I must say it is inexplicably wonderful.

    For example: I've been working at my dad's business the past couple of weeks, and on one occasion, a customer walked in furious. He was angry because he needed his car to go to work but it was breaking down and causing him all sorts of problems. It was going to take the guys (mechanics) awhile to fix it, and so he eventually could no longer keep his calm. Then my dad seized an opportunity that surprised me. He turned to me and said "Marissa, you know this guy speaks french". I looked at the guy and said "Oui, c'est vrai? Que bon!" and we stroke up a conversation. Instantly his face lit up and his mood changed from frustration to literal bliss, in a mere moment. He told me all about his life, his ex-fiance Natasha, and how she was the reason he fled France. It was one of the most wonderful moments of my life. The ability to provide comfort to someone through language is one that I now cherish deeply. Which is one of the reasons why I'm eagerly seeking to learn every language possible.

    It is amazing. People are so amazing.

  3. marissa! i didn't know ur fluent in french! how cool is that.
    i totally agree with you about the language bit. i see it with shomik all the time. as a result of growing up in a country with literally hundreds of languages, he can speak about 5 of them...and whenever he's around people who speak a certain language, even if they all know english or hindi, they all will speak marathi or bengali, or whatever that more local language may be. i asked him why one time, and he said that it's actually rude and kind of pretentious there if you know someone's 'mother tongue', but you don't use it with them. it kind of keeps them at a distance.
    so yeah, i do totally agree. that totally goes with some biblical concepts as well where God uses the tower of Babel or the day of Pentecost to let language completely divide or unite communities. so true...

  4. You have an interesting point of view about community. Let's not forget that community includes communication and two way conversation. Good start to your blog.

  5. Food... food sharing goes back to the most basic forms of friendship. it is probably in our genetic code by now "food means connection" if you look at life from the perspective of primitive man, many things in our world start to make sense. Food is a basic need... I found a story once, a world war 1 vet told. he was in his little fox hole, and back then individual enemy soldiers at the time would sneak to those fox holes and abduct the solders for interrogation. this german solder came in to take the guy and the only thing the solder has was the bread in his hand. he was scared to death but I guess for lack of a better thought he offered the german solder some bread. that was apparently the right thing to do. the german turned and left not taking the solder because of the simple food offering.


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