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Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Somewhere I belong...

A recent barrage of comments to a post, got me thinking... where do I actually belong?

I always thoughts that I "fit" in with most around me, get along with all kinds of people because I embrace "In Rome do as the Romans do". For the most part, I still feel that way but at the same time theres this new feeling ...

Born outside India, being of Indian 'origin' but a non-resident all my life, I always knew that there were times when I was looked at in a different way. This was when I visited India. People just assumed that I was used to luxury and probably could not 'adjust' to the elements that is India. On some parts, they were right. When I was a child, it look me a long time to get used to the food (especially the breakfasts), the smelly toilets and ofcourse the language. My skin still reacts in a bad way to mosquito bites, but no where near as bad as my first visit to India, when I was 6! (I got elephantiasis!)

During the Gulf War in '91, I watched as other "NRI" kids threw tantrums when asked to use the school toilets as they were 'dirty'. I probably felt the same as they did, but I never showed it. I enjoyed what the country had to offer. Yes, life was different but I picked out the positive.

Now being in the western part of thr world, things have changed... We have friends and colleagues from all over the world. Relatives scattered and family far apart. But even in such a varied culture, other Indians still see me as 'different'. Some choose to elaborate on it in the simplest of terms:

- You dont show up at any social Indian gathering (meaning associations by state, culture etc)
- You dont speak hindi (or Telegu, or Tamil, or Kannada, or even your "Mother" tounge...) (And I havent even told them that my mother spoke a mix of Malay and English till she was 24!)
- You dont seem excited about India's booming economy
- You dont watch cricket (!!!)

I'd always take the above comments with a grain of salt. Flick it off my shoulder and never let it stay long enough to become a chip. Never thought of explaining the why's and how's.

But now its something more... there are a whole flood of authors, showcasing Indian life, the modern vs the traditional. I've read them, appreciated them but... dont connect with most of them.

At the other end of the spectrum, growing up in the western hemisphere is pretty different too. But from what I hear from my home(s), the gap is decreasing every nano second! This may be a good thing. Granted its not a big deal but we probably wont have any 'confused' individuals anymore! :-)

Globalisation has become a force, pushing its way through cultures and bridging gaps, ever so often leaving a crevice untouched. So if I had to pick a side, if there were some kind of invisible category... where do I belong?

Posted at 09:27 am by Rationale

June 24, 2006   10:47 PM PDT
Muniya, if I go by what you say, I belong right here with my Hubby in Seattle. :-) Thank you.
June 24, 2006   08:36 PM PDT
You belong where u want to b
You want where u will b happy.

So where do u belong ?
June 24, 2006   07:44 PM PDT
Sutkoo, cos you got the wrong book. :D
June 24, 2006   08:10 AM PDT
you deleted my comment? waaah!
June 22, 2006   08:44 PM PDT
Paru- Email me through this site. I'll let u know. :) (I dont want to say it out 'loud')

Dont want to be su-ed :))
June 22, 2006   08:05 AM PDT
whic book are u guys talking abt? am curious and wud like to read it.
June 21, 2006   08:19 PM PDT
Yeah I guess you are right Chubby. I'll tell you about the book when we speak.
June 21, 2006   05:08 PM PDT
Btw, which book was this which u read..??
June 21, 2006   05:07 PM PDT
I guess what ur feeling is natural , coz the environment in which u were brought up is so different.And sometimes, even if u try to connect urself, people tend to perceive u in the way u mentioned.But, i guess, the orgin we are from , is not shown on our faces, but in our actions,virtues and culture, which we still follow, inspite of residing in various places.
June 21, 2006   12:02 PM PDT
Sutkoo: Like I said, it was just a passing thought. Now that I think more about it, I do feel a sense of belonging... its just that the place is not in India.

I love Dave Mathews band too! :) To rephrase them, I would say I always feel that where I am is where my home is (and heart is...) I guess that makes it easy to enjoy wherever life takes you.
June 21, 2006   10:55 AM PDT
Dont let that book haunt you ok. It's a strange feeling to not feel a strong belonging..with so many tranfers, even we feel that way to an extent.

But I do know one thing:
Where you are is where I belong.
I do know, where you go, is where I wanna be.

-Dave Mathews
June 21, 2006   09:34 AM PDT
Just to cover my bases here- I'm not degrading anything that is India, neither am I all confused about who I am... :-)

This post just indicates a passing thought that sparked my interest when I read a recent book describing the Indian way of life today.

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