When I was studying in the US I found it difficult to explain India and Indian-ness. We are a queer lot and I am extremely proud about being Indian. Am I patriotic? I wouldn't say so.
But let's expand that shall we... If somebody were to blast India's external affairs decisions or talk about India being a poor country I wouldn't be a fanatic sitting to pounce on anything 'anti-Indian'.
However, if something derogatory is said against Indians and our Indian-ness - that is something derogatory against me. I am forever ready to poke fun at my Indian-ness and everything said in jest will be well accepted :)
Shashi Tharoor has done an outstanding job at capturing this Indian and has tried rather well at defining an Indian in his book: India: From midnight to the millennium.
It is a miracle that Indians co-exist together when we are, in fact, very very distinct, but I see something changing now. A large portion of urban Indians tend to be rather similar and define themselves as Indian, Mumbai-ite or Bangalore-an than as Hindu, Muslim, blah.
Asking for a person's religion or geography or mother tongue is first-nature to us because we love stereotyping and we love creating an opinion about a person without knowing the person. That is something quite Indian.
Another thing that is quite extraordinary is our history. The Babri Masjid fiasco supposedly started in the 1500s when Babar demolished an Indian temple, which makes me think - America was only just discovered in 1492.
The oldest Christian community outside Palestine is in India - Kerala. I tend to be abrupt in the way I write and my point is this...
As Indians, we have a very fruitful history behind us with the Panchayat system, Business System, Accounting System and Sciences. As Indians, we have allowed a multitude of external 'forces' to influence us: Aryans, Romans, British, Mughal, Mongolian, blah...
There is something intangible that is immensely powerful about being an Indian but when we are faced with confident white-skinned people we tend to take a step back. Some of you may frown at this comment and say, "Hey!! That is not true!!!" But I am confident that when they choose to mock us or show their superiority or enthrall us with their personality or looks we are influenced.
Be proud and stand your ground :)