Sunday, April 4, 2010

A Home away from Home?

Written on a late, breezy Spring-evening, on a wooden desk by the little fountains. This is not a blog-post. This is not an article. These are my thoughts.
I want to put myself in the shoes of these undergraduate brown girls, putting on a show here. Decked up in bright, colourful, traditional Indian dresses, loaded with sequins, glitters and rustic mirror-work; the South Indian representatives additionally wearing flowers in their hair tied in a bun; and all of them talking excitedly about random things from Wendy’s to the talent show they just participated in, in an easy-flowing, naturally-occurring thin American accent. How’s life like for them right now? 
An entire club of individuals representing India, while they are miles away from the country actually; while some of them (most of them I guess) may not have visited India at all or even if they had, they remember hardly anything or mostly nothing about the visit; most of them not really gaga about how their Indian-culture-inspired mom and dad keep instructing them and supervising their lives here in America; a lot of them, who I am guessing, are not sure of whether they should be proud of being identified as Indians at all; lot of them feeling divided between two countries absolutely contrasting in socio-economic arenas…and so on. How must it feel like being them?
To me and you and I don’t know who else, they are representing India, its various states and cultures. I would like to know what these pretty star-studded girls are really doing it for? Is it really that belongingness or is it just another dance competition and a way of enjoyment (which I’m not projecting as negative anyway)? This is because I try to imagine how it’d be like if I were born in America and if my parents always said to me, “You are also Indian, don’t forget that” or “Talk in Gujarati, girl, can’t you converse in Gujarati?”  (I hear my uncle say that to his kids all the time) and so forth;.. and if I had to relate myself to a country, in spite of never really having belonged there, but still having been associated with it, thanks to the brown skin and South-Asian facial features;…if singing the national anthem always brought the Star-Spangled Banner to lips and not the Jana Gana Mana…
…or wait; I could be totally incorrect. Maybe they feel fortunate to be belonging to two different countries simultaneously, each rich in it’s own unique way; maybe this sense of association derived through truly representing the culture in as much as they can (which refers to so much that they do beyond the talent shows), brings sweet joy and extreme contentment to them; maybe they long for living this life of walking in Kolhapuri chappals and donning flowing salwar-kurtis to feel Indian; maybe they want to run to the country that ‘made’ them, that gave them their parents, that has been nourishing them quietly ever since; the country that has been working effing hard damn right so that Her citizens can vacation in Scotland and study in America; maybe they want to just see and feel and hence experience their motherland (??) which, in spite of catering to over a billion lives, has held Her arms wide open, for all those who want to run into her anytime, no matter where they are born!!


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