Monday, August 18, 2008

India, Oh India!

Happy Independence Day!

I am a little late in getting this out. Blame it on my little excursion to Hyd for the long weekend. I had been wishing to get together with my mom for the "Varalakshmi Vratham" after a long gap and it being a holiday and all, I didn't want to miss this chance. So I picked up my bags and flew down. Gave me enough time to check on Subhash's mom as well, since we were hearing some concerning things about her. But I was happy when I saw her. Its like the liveliness has come back into her face :)

It was also Indian Independence Day. Triggered some thoughts in me. Very random. So don't worry if you can't find one thread going through.

I was never a patriotic person as a kid. I used to grudge going to school for flag hoisting especially because buses didn't ply as they normally do and it meant a lot of trouble getting to and from school for a few hours. And not to mention the loss of precious holiday hours. Yeah, I used to grudge those days.

The only trace of patriotism in me back then was that I always stood up when the National Anthem came on. I still do. No matter where I am or what I am doing. I just get up and stand :)

But somewhere along the path, after I left this land, I became fiercely patriotic. I realized what was good and bad about this country even more/better because I was looking at it from outside. And I missed the land very much all though those 7 years. Like AR Rahman sang, I saw a dozen countries during that time, but I never found one I loved as much as I loved my own land. The land where I first set foot on after I came into this world. The land where I garnered my childhood and adolescent memories which are probably the best ones I've got even to date. The land that gave me my family and my husband. The land that has been an integral part of everything important that has ever happened in my life.

I will never completely realize when exactly I began thinking about my duty towards this land. But I do. Everyday now. More so now that I am here.

So what do you feel when you see those "India Shining" ads? Or when you see Abhinav Bindra being made out to be a hero for more than a week, because he won a gold for India? I feel sad. And shamed. And humiliated. We are shining. Probably true, in a very narrow sector of society. But are we growing healthy? I am pretty sure, no.

Where is the security? Where is the wholesomeness of a land that once flourished because of its endless produce? Where is the hope for the not-so-privileged to come out of their current state? Where is the responsible media? Where is the good news?

So what makes life here special in spite of all this? I don't know. I moved back for my family, so I could stay close to them. I have a bunch of relatives in Bangalore that I hardly manage to meet since they live in the West side which is practically another world. And takes hours to reach even on weekends. So what is it about here that I am loving? I have pretty much the same lifestyle that I had in California. I hardly meet anymore people/relatives than I met there. One BIG difference is I can book tickets and hop on a bus/train/flight practically a few hours later to go home to my parents/in-laws. But other than that, not much of a difference in the life-style. But still it feels more full. More rounded. More whole and more fulfilling. I know not why, but that is how it is!

Sure, I am not exactly proud of what my country is going through today. But does that mean I want to go out of here and live elsewhere? Definitely not. I want to stay right here and help my country out. Get it out of this crisis. And I choose to do it not from outside but by being a part of this eco-system.

One of my friends challenged me and said "Lets see what you do for India when you move back". She, like many of my other friends went from "I will definitely go back to India" to "Going back to India is still on the charts for someday" to "This (USA) is home now, I don't want to move back". (Well, a lot of people don't have the guts to reach the third part, they get stuck at the second one all their lives. At least she had the guts to accept that she didn't want to move back, I appreciated her for that).

So am I doing something for my country now? Honestly, very little. The only things I can claim are one, paying taxes, two, providing employment to some people, three, boosting local economy by being a consumer and trying to be an environmentally conscious consumer at that. Precious little. But would I have done any better if I was still in California? The answer is a very obvious no. So at least that is a start. Hopefully I will figure out my calling soon and create some more impact sooner or later. Till then..

Vande Mataram!


Laksh said...

Nice post! I could relate a lot your way of relating to India.

Anonymous said...

hey,btw how r u creating jobs?!@#**

DivSu said...

Thanks Laksh!

@Anonymous: I employ a maid and a person to clean our car. Its not much but its some employment.

B Shantanu said...

Nice, interesting blog...and thanks for picking up the link to the "Myth about the Benevolent Raj"..

Re. this specific post, here are a few ideas for you to think about and also consider participating in:

Also, if you have the time, please look at this too:

Jai Hind, Jai Bharat!

Anonymous said...

Gives you an idea, how safe are women in India:

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