We’re celebrating Asian and Pacific Islander (API) heritage month with stories from the API community. We met up with and spoke to a few Lush team members, including Ram, who were kind enough to reminisce about their childhoods, share their stories, and give us all an intimate look into their lives.
This is Ram’s story.
Tell me about a place that's shaped who you are.
Kyoto, Japan. There was a time in 2018, and I had lost faith in humanity, and I was financially broke. However, I organized to travel to Japan before my financial crisis. Here is the story: I used a Tokyo transit card in Kyoto and it didn't work. I was scratching my head at the gate. A stranger tapped my shoulder and asked, "Are you looking for something?" in English. I said my transit card wasn't working. Immediately, she gave her transit card loaded with $18 CAD. I was shocked and asked, “Why are you giving me this?” She replied, "This is my gift to you and all I need is a selfie with you." With surprise, I took a selfie with her and did an Instagram story to tell people that great people are in every race.
Moral of the story: We can also find belonging in others who are on a similar wavelength to us in any race or culture. Basically, in any human.
Photographs of Ram’s trip are pictured in the top banner.
Who's a person that shaped who you are today?
A person that’s shaped me is my good friend Kyle. He is progressive and showed me that a person can win in this world by being good. He is an Australian man who’s lived in Canada for decades. He gave me a foundation in North American culture by knowing my conservative, orthodox background. He changed my lifestyle, updated my belief system and motivated me in the initial stage of my North American life.
When was the first time you saw yourself or someone like you in the media? How did it make you feel?
Hasan Minaj: he’s a stand-up comedian on Comedy Central. I don't perform stand up and I’m not a comic, but I have a similar personality and relate to his attitude and sarcasm, to some degree. Watching his show made me feel like I’m not the only one who sees things this way. Here is another guy who is like me and looks like me who feels the same way. We are both of Indian descent, but he was born and raised in the USA, and I’m the OG, from India. It’s great to see North Americans who are on the same wavelength as me.
Tell me about an item that's important to who you are.
My current rental apartment. I decorated the living room as a Marvel theme, the bedroom as Zen (to remind me of my Japan trip) and the balcony as a Disney theme to keep my inner child alive and curious. These things are important to me because they keep my mind more creative, innovative and pulls me to the future instead of being stuck with the past.
How do you think your experience of your culture has differed from your parents or grandparents?
My parents and grandparents have limited exposure to other cultures, for them everything evolves from their religion or dogma. My experience of my culture is more progressive, thanks to the internet. Still, they were wise to give me the freedom to explore more options and are more pragmatic than dogmatic.
What's something you've learned from older members of your community?
I don't belong to any community; I feel I’m just everywhere, and I’m okay with that. I’ve learnt quite a few things dealing with older folks, neighbors and co-workers. One among them is "you get what you give" and and I try to give what I can as much as possible.
For more stories and ways in which you can support the API community, check out our other resources.
A very special thanks and credit to:
- Photographer - Jennilee Marigomen
- Hair & Makeup Artist - Min-Jee Mowat
- Prop Stylist - Marta Sanderson
- Production Assistant - Brigitte May