You know how you would find yourself in a shop in Thamizh Nadu or in Thamizh Homeland and find this gorgeous outfit; and it is contemporary. You think to yourself "I would wear this back home". Home being somewhere in the diaspora. Europe or in the states or in Britain or anywhere else in the world but the Homeland. And you bought it. But when you come home it'll just stay in the closet and you'll almost never wear it, because it just doesn't fit in to your surroundings. It's too bright, it's too shiny or the weather is just not suited for the outfit. It just doesn't fit. But the outfit that you bought, is kind of a part of your identity, right?
Well, I don't know if you recognize this situation, but I've done that a million times and it just bugs me. And it was the same thing, when I decorated my house. I wanted my identity in all its varieties to shine throughout my home, but the beautiful, colorful shiny vase I bought in Vavuniya just didn’t fit in with the rest of the living room. So, I’ve put it safely in the cabinet and I take it out every now and then when my family comes over for brunch.
I was working at a newspaper where I was the only brown on the editorial floor. When I started, I even changed my byline to Sugi Thiru to avoid the conversations surrounding my name. Even then, the first comment I received on the very first day was “pheew, we thought you were gonna use your whole name and needed two lines for the byline". I didn’t think much of it back then, besides having this odd feeling, but exploring the Thamizh community online and seeing all the great stuff they put out there and the hard work behind the content, gave me renewed confidence to reclaim my Thamizh name.
Sarminy and I had a Tuesday-date tradition when we were living apart. Tuesday evenings we'd drive halfway to meet each other in the middle and have dinner and coffee. There we were; two Thamizh womxn sitting in a café, wearing our ordinary western clothing with no indication of being Thamizh, surrounded by white people. By wearing the Diaspora Thamizh hoodie we simultaneously fit in, as well as stand out in the crowd. The "TஅMIழ்" design is recognizable both for Thamizhs and for foreigners and even the waiter asked us if we were Thamizhs.
So, this is what I'm trying to do; I am trying to claim my diaspora identity. My Thamizh Identity in the Scandinavian environment. And that’s why I created AnbudanSugi. AnbudanSugi is about the ‘anbu’ for the Thamizh language. The Thamizh Culture. And the beauty of it.
AnbudanSugi is a way for me to integrate the Thamizh culture out in the open, in my foreign home country. I want to be a diaspora Thamizh all day, every day. Not only at special occasions.
I hope my website will inspire to reclaim your identity and share the anbu for Thamizh.