After finishing my gym, I was thinking, now I should be meeting someone, and be having a cup of coffee and have some interesting conversation, or maybe I could just pick up the phone and call someone and we can talk. Well, its the middle of the day, and during that time of the day, one cannot talk. Talking is restricted, compartmentalized. We live in a world which is fuelled by greed. The Greedy owners, and the equally greedy employees, who want to be in their good books by working hard and harder, so that they don’t lose their jobs, so that they can be in the best of the companies and earn the highest salary. A toxic world where there is no time for people to converse. There is barely some time to talk to your spouse, and then lower down the ladder, children, and even lower friends. People starting for work at 6:30 AM and coming home at 6:30 PM. Weekends are piled up with thinking about how to catch up with pending work. No real peace. Pretended laughter. Fake parties. Fuzzed, overworked toxic brains. How long will we continue with this world where companies have basically reduced people to paid “slaves”. With no time for fellow humans. No time to converse or talk. People dont care about that anymore. Talking? Waste of time. Its a toxic, greedy world.
Hey how are you today?? No, don’t answer that cos I already know the answer. Are you thinking why your husband or boyfriend left the home without saying bye? Or why your wife or girlfriend slept on while you crept out of the house at early dawn to catch the bus or train to work? Did you listen to your favorite song while sipping your coffee which you got from Dunkin’s while driving or just idly gazing at the trees on a train? And when you reached your workplace did you just start working and kept out all these thoughts about why noone cares, or noone loves you? Yet, when the day was done, there they were again, the feelings of being alone without a soul to connect with….Did you stare at the faces online, on FB, on Instagram, your favorite singers, actors, and tried to see if you could connect with someone? And yet you felt no, noone really cares. If yes, I thought maybe I should let you know, I am thinking of you today, and I am wondering how you are. And wondering if you are feeling loved and cared for..dont become a stone and cry today if you feel like…
Sending my love to this world…loving the world..and its people today….and you out there…connect with someone today…care for somene or some event which happened…dont be a stone…share your feelings, your heart or maybe just your food, :)…
Today you wanted to talk to me. So you messaged me. This is the first time that you have messaged me. You asked “Is it still stormy there?”. I said, “No, it is sunny”.
I talk to you everyday during my morning runs, at night when I go to sleep. But, I have been avoiding chatting with you because I miss you too much. Also, because we have no future together. And moreover I dont want you to fall in love with me.
I asked if you still have the poem you showed me on your cell. You said you lost the cell. And so the poem. I was sad. “:(“, I said. You laughed. And said that you may have a copy and that you would scan and send it to me, if you find it. You said, Actually you even forgot what the poem was about. I said it was about the Moon and the Tiger. You said, “That is sweet of you to remember”. I thought, “How could I forget?”. You are so important to me, and that was a beautiful poem.
Then, I told you about the poem I wrote and you wanted to see it. I said “It was too depressive”. You said, “Nothing that is expressive can be depressive”. I said I needed courage to send it to you. You said, “You dont need courage to send anything to me, just an internet connection”. You said you really wanted to read what I wrote. I said, “Ok, I trust you will understand my poem. I will send it to you.”
But I feel afraid to send it..What if you don’t like it? But…I will…One day.
Continuing with my series on immigration and feelings of immigrants in a foreign land. Since I am from India, I focus on my experiences from the perspective of my country and the connection with this land. The british immigrants who were the founding fathers of this land, also ruled in India for close to 100 years but the influence of the East India Company started around 1700 or so . So, when they claim that this land is theirs, by virtue of the fact that they landed here first, I would like to question that claim, I question it not because I would like to deny that this land is theirs, but because I would like to them to open up to the possibility that this land is also mine. The argument goes like this : The time that the British people came to India, India was flourishing and had all the riches imaginable. By world standards of those days, it was richer than many places in Europe. We welcomed them in our land, not as immigrants, but as business partners, with whom we would carry out trade. But unfortunately, the division and factions within India, and our inferior military led to our falling under a more stronger country. Of course, those were the barbaric times, so one cannot question the fairness or unfairness of it. All was fair in love and war as they say. And there were no non-nuclear proliferation or arms control treaties in those days. :). India was called the “Sone ki Chidiya”, or the “Golden Bird”, because it yielded so much riches.
In any case, the truth in all its nakedness was that India was marauded and plundered and mowed down to the 3rd world nation that it is now. We became the mix of cultures, confused and astray, as we succumbed to a more powerful people, powerful not by intellect, but by sheer military might. That is the story of India and that is how the immigrants took over our country, in short.
Now, if the story is turned around Indians are immigrants in a nation mostly built by European immigrants. But is it really their land? After our land was turned upside down and our people eroded, dont we have the right to come to your land, but we come in peace, not as rulers, but as workers, to work side by side with you. Is it really fair to ask whether this land is my land too? Don’t I have an equal share in jobs? Unfortunately, the new immigrants are still looked upon as foreigners, preference is stil being given to color, race, and origin. We are still asking questions on job forms : Asian, Black, Hispanic…etc. etc. Hasn’t each country plundered the riches of other countries since beginning? When the British landed in India, their economy was in shambles, there was poverty in their country. Did we question their right to enter our land? Perhaps we did, but they found their way in. Perhaps it was right and justified. Because, does any land really belong to anyone? Doesn’t this whole world belong to each one of us?
Aren’t we all free to choose where we want to be? A cold land or a warmer place, a land of the rivers, or a land of snow, a land full of forests, or the land of sandy deserts, or the rocky mountains? This land is your land…This land is my land…And that is the only truth. And that is how the world was meant to be.
Often I have heard some American say to an Indian, “Why don’t you go back to your own country and work there? “After all, you are an Indian”. Many Indians do go back, others stick on in a land which is not their own. Far from it. Some stay just for the comforts that this country affords as compared to their own. For me, it was more complicated than that. Being more comfortable was part of it, but my comfort zone extended from mere physical comfort to something more. For the first part, could I identify myself as an Indian? This part is difficult for an American to understand without knowing the history of India and Indian life. There is a wide divide among lifestyles in India. India is a world country, just like America. Vast and diverse.
My father belonged to the Armed Forces, a doctor, an intellectual. I grew up in bungalows, left over from the British Army. Beautiful shady trees in front of my home, gardens, walkways. Our house had household help from batmen, as they were called. They were men of the soldier rank who were recruited to work in officers’ homes. I grew up on Hans’ Anderson’s Fairy stories, oblivious of the political and civilian life of India. I imagined myself in England, dreamed of foggy castles, and turrets, and princesses in ballroom gowns. I imagined that in my past life I was an English princess, that I was born in the wrong place and the wrong time. I grew up on a mix of American oldies, country and British music. Jhon Denver, Beatles, The Seekers, Joan Baez. Where was the Indian in me? All I knew about India were some of the old black and white movies I watched with my mother. We spoke English at school, were discouraged to use our local language in class and at school. Yes, the Indian in me was because I could speak our language at home. I was divided up into two parts, the beautiful Indian princess and the beautiful British princess, both lived inside me, together. But one of them always overtook the other. At times I receded into my Indian self, and listened to Bengali songs. At other times, I was a European.
Literature was mostly British, and I had no dearth of them, as our home had a huge collection of books. Enid Blyton, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, O. Henry, H.H. Munro, Agatha Christie, Nancy Drews….I lapped them all up. And when the time came for me to choose, I chose America. However, strangely I had no idea that America and Britain were hugely different. I had a hunch, but nothing concrete.
But then America was symbolized by Dirty Dancing, Ghost, Gone with the Wind…so, there was nothing too much different. So, when someone asks me, “Why don’t you go back to India”, I just wonder, But why? Where is my real home? India? America? England? Do I really belong to any of these countries? Perhaps I am more at home in America. Yes, my skin is a few shades darker than the whites, but I already lost the Indian in me, long time back. And yet living in this home of mine, the inmates of my home don’t see me as their own. And I can only smile, a cynical smile, a mirthless smile, a helpless smile, and wonder at how the world can only see the color of the skin, and nothing beyond it.
So, am I Indian? You decide.