Saturday, December 31, 2005

Swades, my country, my homeland

One has to step out of the comfort of one's home to realize what it really meant. Ever since I have been on American soil I have come to appreciate my home country more and more. Its not that I dislike being here. There are good parts to it.
But there is never a sense of belonging, never a sense that I am allowed to be here! I have to carry my passport to prove that I have a right to be here.

Perhaps I have only learnt it the hard way what freedom really means. I have freedom of speech but my right to say things doesn't mean a bit. I am not allowed to vote here. Good or bad, poor or rich I have a say in my home country.
I am not questioned about stepping my foot on any part of the soil. I belong there. I can vote, even if my favourite party will not get elected.

Its not just family that makes home. Its more than that. There is always my loving family to go back to. But the craving to go back is much more than that. Its this deep feeling instilled in me of being on the foreign soil, that I heave a sigh of relief when I enter the Indian soil. I think to myself, they cannot possibly stop me from entering. Its just that single feeling which surpasses anything.

Then I have to remind myself, why does this happen? Is it just the whole buisness of borders, visas, immigrant laws that causes it. Would I enjoy being in a foreign country more if I believed I had a right to be here? What and when did we decide that man, woman or child were bound by birth to a peice of land? Why do we have to pledge our loyality a whole big estate to to use the land covered by our two feet? Would things have been different if there really was such a concept as one world, one mind?

We all have a natural sense of belonging I think, to the place we are born, to our house, to our family, to our immediate community. But is the sense of belonging naturally strong enough to make sense out of us and them, mine and theirs ?
Torn between a desire to go back home and wanting to be at peace with being away from home, my mind ponders and comes up with zilch!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Words Words Words

"You think that I don't even mean a single word I say.
It's only words, and words are all I have, to take your heart
away." sing The BEEGEES

Words! Words! I'm so sick of words!
I get words all day through;
First from him, now from you! Is that all you blighters
can do?

Don't talk of stars Burning above; If you're in love,
Show me!" cries out loud Eliza Doolittle

""A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings
of silver,"

and, "An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind
word cheers him

up" (Proverbs 12:25; 25:11, NIV).
So tells me a Google Search

What is the big deal? What power does this fourlettered thing
called WORD really have?
Can I really ever pen down exactly what I am thinking?
And can you read this passage and understand what I am
Isn't everything I write garbled by the different speed
of thinking and writing?
And garbled by everything I have written or read before this?

And you, my dear reader? When you read this, you think of
everything you have read before ?
Everything written by me and others before. Of everything you
have thought before!

So how many meanings are we attaching to this poor
letters strung together by a very simple binding force
A THOUGHT, which probably was all contained in the
title anyway?

Sunday, December 11, 2005


I still remember him fairly well. Don't remember completely what we talked about but I know I enjoyed our conversation. Before you start thinking in the lines of an ex-romance tell... I have to tell you I am talking about this guy I met on the plane once. He's married with two children :)

I met him on the plane coming to US. He was returning from Iraq, he was an American soldier. Well not somebody who would be at the front fighting, but somebody in the Army and close to the war anyway.

Strangely enough we didn't talk much about the war. Mostly we talked about our lives. I had an amazingly long interesting conversation with a complete stranger. We are probably same age, but thats about all we might have had in common. He was probably talking to a civilian who spoke English after a long time and I was just bored from travelling alone for the hundreth time. All this speculation still doesn't explain the connection. Especially since I go around saying how reserved I am :) Like all these friendships, we exchanged email addresses, I lost his and am sure he lost mine!

Made me remember all the strangers who turned into friends only to change back to strangers, all in the span of 24 hr journey from Bombay to Bangalore. There were no surprises on the route. Perhaps a rare stop at Monkey Hill. Maybe ate an idli at Vadi. Failed to count the tunnels right inspite of being on that train so many times. Most of those journeys have faded in my memory. The ones I remember are thanks to the people I met on the way.

I remember this Gujju couple who fed me all the way to Bangalore once. The guy was extremely talkative. He was taking his pregnant wife to his in-laws for her delivery. With him was his ever-so shy friend who was going back to meet and probably to bring back his wife to Bangalore with him. This guy kept on and on about everything, he even made a comment on South Indians leaving their daughters unwed for too long. This was much to my amusement, probably 23 then, single and travelling alone. He told me that it was no surprise that they ran with some random guy with all the freedom their parents gave them. As I guessed this would be father was a year younger to me. But all in all they were extremely nice. It was fun to listen to him tease and trouble his giggly wife.

Then there was a Marathi family travelling to Tirupathi. There was this elderly man, his wife and his son. I remember that they were going for their son's wedding or something of that sort.
They taught me to play Judgement, a card game. Sadly for me, they got off much before Bangalore. It was still 'course a whole lotta fun playing cards all the way.

There have been other notable strangers on the way. Some I forget, others I vaguely remember. All made their mark. I have to wonder though if any ever remember me?

Friday, December 02, 2005

The Unattainable

I have just come to realize that there is nothing more attractive than the unattainable.
Isn't it natural that we want the exact thing we cannot have? The brave, or the ambitious will correct me here and tell me there is no such thing as unattainable.
But an average person will answer back saying that there is. There are mountains that cannot be climbed because its just foolhardy. There are people you can never hope to meet, like the ones who shoot up on your screen just because it only happens in fairy tales ( nothing wrong in believing it can happen, but dont be disappointed if it doesnt :) ). There are certain seas you can never cross cause its not feasible in this life to build a boat strong enough.
There are problems you shouldn't attempt as a graduate student for the department will not support you forever. There are lucrative offers which cannot be accepted because of the family you will have to leave behind.

There is a catch to every goal that we seek. Sometimes its in small letters and a very small price to pay. Sometimes its in big bold letters which says You will regret this decision.
A smart person is one who can tell when its in bold and when its all in small letters.
Which brings me back to my point, sometimes present unsatisfaction can bring you peace with inner concience for life.

I write this passage with some thought in mind. Which I don't expect anyone to figure out.
Chances are whatever it is you figured out is probably tangential to what I am thinking. But that is the beauty of words, you put a few together and you have lesson for life which applies to everyone with completely different meanings.