Every desi knows that feeling. Authentic cuisine, documentaries on India, a stranger in the crowd describing her visit to Taj Mahal and A R Rahman thanking you for his Golden Globe…it is the not-quite-tear-jerking-but-my-heart-is-swelling-with-a-mixture-of-fondness-and-longing feeling.
If the documentaries are by foreigners, they will probably indulge you in colour…things that you learned to ignore. Who wants the dust and the spices floating everywhere? Especially when you can have a computer-chip-factory-like clean apartment by vacuuming once a month. Who wants electricity cuts from 1 to 5 pm? Especially when you can leave all your appliances running day in and day out and send live broadcasts of your pet tiger cubs sleeping for 10 hours. Who wants corrupt babus who eat all your money? Especially when you can demand transparency and justice. Who wants History channel in Hindi? Especially when you can watch it with closed captioning, pause it, record it or Tivo it.
I think I made it quite clear in my last post when I said, I want.
The reason I want is not because I had that warm fuzzy feeling that makes every desi want to go back. The reason is exactly the opposite. I hate that feeling. That feeling to me reeks of indecision and a falsified idea of a memory of India. I don’t want a memory to hold on to….to pick up when I am home sick and then hurriedly tuck away when I consider my child’s future.
India, for many, is like an annoying relative. You cannot help growing up around them and you come to learn to tolerate them. But once on your own, you put a safe distance between the two of you and continue to like them under the condition of distance. You frame the good times you had and live off it and don’t dig deeper.
Bt India is no a annoying relative. It is more like an annoying sibling. No matter what issues you had growing up, you resolve them and try to provide a good support system for the person you dearly love.
I don’t want fond points of reference…I want to know India like our ancestors knew it…look beyond its modern mazes….remember who I am and be part of it….help support it….help change it….and most of all…be responsible for it.
Because the ship is sinking and the mice have left.