Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Great Divide

It all started with a simple enough question, ‘Where are you from?’ This is a commonly asked question whenever we meet new people, considering that we are in a foreign country. My answer is a straight ‘India’. A recent incident and some more related incidents changed the way I look at my own countrymen.

I was out with a bunch of friends (all Indians) and somebody asked us the same question. The answer could have been a simple ‘India’ and that would have been that. Instead, that friend of mine chose to say, X, Y and Z are from south India and A, B, C and myself are from north India. I was stunned for a minute and wondered why he did that. It bothered me that even though we were from the same country, he still thought it was necessary to divide us like that, with a line between the north and the south. Why the division amongst our own people? It bothered me but I thought it wasn’t worth losing sleeping over and finally, I decided to let it go instead of confronting him about it.

But recently, I’ve noticed this weird thing amongst some of the so-called ‘north Indians’ I know, they actually think they are a better race and so should be clearly demarcated and separated from us south –Indians. What a load of crap! Really!! It was bad enough that they lived with the notion that south Indian means you are from Chennai and give you that condescending and ‘I am superior’ look. But to have that demarcation among friends, is really so shallow.

And off late, I’ve heard a lot of ‘you south-Indians this and us north-Indians that’ kind of thing that makes me cringe each time. I agree that India is a very huge country and the culture can differ a lot. But what really makes me feel bad is that, portraying such a division in thought in a foreign country just gives the world a wrong impression. Things are not much different than they were before independence. No wonder they used ‘Divide and Rule’ to conquer India. The fact that I’ve come across so many of similar-thinking people, it really makes me wonder, maybe, we are still divided. Maybe that’s why we haven’t really made great progress. Maybe until we think that we are all actually from one and the same country, we wont really go anywhere.

Friday, April 16, 2010

I wanna go home

One of the hardest things I’ve had to do so far is to move away from home. From the past few days, I’ve been missing home terribly. So just to make myself feel a little better, I decided to make a list of a few things from back home that I miss most. Of course, the list is not comprehensive. It’s just what came to mind first and at thins point in time. Here goes.

 Mom’s cooking. I miss those dosas and rotis and the very fact that she would make them on demand and knows just the way I like them without me having to say anything, I miss you too, mom and not just your cooking.

 My sisters…I enjoyed sharing all the fun times, fights, not to mention the clothes with them. We did quarrel quite a lot but we shared so much, that the fights seem so insignificant now.

  My friends, my support system. I have lots of friends back home and more importantly a few very close friends, who were my world. I miss the fun we had, all the drunken nights, meaningless laughs and all the times we stuck by each other when anyone was going through a bad patch.

 Most of all I miss my best friend, V. Though we are still in touch, it’s not the same. I can’t run to her at the drop of a hat. I miss that.

The chats, especially the panipuris at the friendly neighborhood bhaiyya. I was a regular, almost his favourite customer. My mouth is watering at the very thought of those perfect panipuris.

My room.  Though now I do have a home of my own, it is not the same as my room, my own space and the fun of not letting anyone, especially my sisters to enter/stay there. The secrecy was half the fun.

 My cousins. I miss how we got together at anyone’s birthday and made sure that the birthday girl had plenty of fun and gifts.

All the regular food outlets that I used to frequent. Yeah, I know this is the third time I’m mentioning food. I love food!

I miss my bike, my baby. We had a ball, my bike and me.

·           I miss the feeling of familiarity, the feeling of being “home”. No matter how long I stay here or how many people I get to know, I’ll still be a foreigner. Or will I?
     Everybody says that things change with time and you will start learning to call a new place home. I’m not so sure about that. I’ll let you know in a few years. But I’m sure that even then I’ll still miss home as much as I do now.

Monday, April 5, 2010

So Helpless!

There are some things that you think can never happen to you. And when they do, it hits you so bad that it knocks you down. A very close relative of mine got diagnosed with cancer a couple of years ago. She underwent chemo and radiation and all the painful ordeal of the damned disease. She fought it with all she had. And now it’s back with a vengeance. And I don’t know if she has it in her to fight it again.

It’s a well-known fact that we don’t know it all. In spite of the so-called “development”, we don’t really have an answer to all the questions. It hits you most when you know someone who is suffering from the big C.  You think that the best doctors can help you and they will help you through it but the truth is they don’t know it all too. They tell you that you have little hope and they tell you there’s only so much they can do. I know I’m being silly but wtf.

I really wish nobody had to suffer from this maniacal disease, that handicaps you in all possible ways, mentally, physically and financially. There are a million institutes out there doing research on cancer but we still can’t fight it like we should. I really don’t know if there is a right answer and if someone will ever get to it. I don’t know if anyone cares so much until somebody they care about fights it. But in the end, I hope they do find ways to fight cancer…I really hope they do.

And until they do, all you can do is pray and pray hard that someone is listening.