I stumbled across this (sort-of) post that was written atleast 8 years ago. I don’t even remember who the friend in question was. Give and take a few thoughts from what I feel about the matter now.
Sometime back I came across an old friend who told me that he was sick and tired of living in the city anymore. No employment, no discipline of life, chaotic traffic, pollution, population. In general all the vices et al. On my enquiry of his choice of utopia his answer was like many other young Indians, “America” (the US of A in more precise terms). He had everything chalked out–an IT job, a passport to USA and then plug his tent there for time enough to cleanse his body and soul of his present existence.
For a while when confessions like these are poured out, the painted picture does reflect a red and rosy ‘Big Apple’. Why afterall should we be deprived of respectable social necessities? Why shouldn’t our streets be clean and shiny? Why do we have to spend hours in the dark every evening to balance the power supply? Why aren’t rules diligently followed? And why is every place so very CROWDED. Well, seems like our lives are certainly doomed to the darkness .Yet there’s this little voice at the corner of my heart that always speaks loud and clear. It says–“this is your house. the only place where you belong to. Where words are spoken in your language and your face does not stand out in the crowd for its alien features”.
Living in India is by itself a lesson in diversity. Our states are not marked out in strict geometric patterns, but are based on linguistic demarcations. The ethnicity of one state is alien to the other and the people can be easily identified by their language and lifestyle. Cosmopolitan pockets are very few and scattered. This diversity often leads to ethnic tensions and violence. Yet, in every step that we take we are reminded of our colourful cocktail of cultures and the national mantra of “unity in diversity”. Whatever be the ethnic undercurrents of each region, people enjoy more or less the same rights throughout the country. The rules that bind them are the same and so are their rights.
This faceless entity called a nation is what that finally tugs at my heart when occasionally the faraway lands beckon with all their fantasies. The thoughts of being a second class citizen robs all the colours from the techni-colour dreams. Its like cozying into your own torn bed even when the world’s finest bed is at your disposal. What if our streets are littered and potholed, what if we are always jostling and pushing through a sea of humanity, what if our trains never run on time and our city traffic does not follow any clockwork precision. Its the only home that I have known, and its the only place I know where I’ll not be treated as a step child. maybe at times I’ll be ignored or disciplined or bullied but never told to take the backseat because of my origins.
An oft seen sight when leaders return home after a period of exile, is that they bend down on their knees and kiss the land that they so love. That land bears the essence of their very existence. In similar circumstances it would be the same for most of us. However sententious it may sound, but outside our homeland we shall always remain “guests”. And of course the little voice is always there that reminds me of my home where I don’t need to carry around a passport to establish that I truly belong here.