Poetry Festival will be held:

Saturday, April 27, 2024

2023 Winner

Challenges of Being Indian-American

In the middle of a game of tug-a-war,

I am the rope

Too Indian to be American

Too American to be Indian

I attempt to navigate this strange identity I own

For there nor here feels like home

And so I begin to write this poem

About the challenges of being Indian-American


One side of the rope

Has senseless stereotypes

On how I’m supposed to be

One perfect math prodigy


The other side

Is 7,000 miles away

New Delhi, Hyderabad, and Bombay

And so I wonder

How I must convey

The challenges of being Indian-American


Both sides of the rope reel me in

Garble, twist, contort, spin

They leave me trapped within

The undying need

Of fitting in


I am

A saree

A shopping spree

Chai tea

The American Dream


I have pride in my heritage and tradition

A love for my culture, cuisine, and religion

I deal with the struggles, hardship, misfortune, and dismay

I must deal with the adversity each and every day

And this is how I best explain

The challenges of being Indian-American


Ahana Rao

Sidwell Friends School

Grade: 6


Bethesda, MD


Washington, DC

Favorite Author or Book:

Marissa Meyer

Dream for the Future:

I hope that everyone has access to basic necessities in the coming future.

Inspirational Figure:

My Parents. They have to deal with me every day.