Friday, October 5, 2007

There's no place like home...

People are sometimes curious about my life. They come up with the strangest questions; some so amusingly bizarre that I wonder if they hail from another planet. Don't get me wrong though; I love talking about my culture and antecedents. I'm all for sharing of information; the give and take process that allows us to define our uniqueness, and also discover that common thread connecting us as humans. The basic emotion of curiousity is what allows us to develop, progress, create and invent. People have different ideas and opinions about India; the country I was born in. Someone once asked me if we had cars there, and I answered very somberly that we had to rent an elephant on a monthly basis. I added that although our insurance covered accidental deaths, we were still liable for our elephant pooping on public property!! He almost believed me until he saw me wink and grin!

Another fun question is regarding the whole concept of the 'arranged marriage'. My husband and I were out to dinner with some colleagues of his from work, and they were curious about how we met. This is what we were waiting for!!!!!! We proceeded to tell them that we didn't have a say in the matter at all. Our parents were responsible for the whole event. We were just informed that we would be married on a certain day, shown a photograph of the to-be-spouse, and forbidden from interacting with anyone of the opposite sex henceforth. Now as we're telling them all this, we can see their eyes grow larger and larger in horror and disbelief! We went on to say that we were allowed to look at each other only on the day of the wedding and ordered to produce children as soon as possible. One of the ladies at the table suddenly exclaimed, "Oh, you poor dear!!!", at which point we decided to put them all out of their miseries. Now, I will let you know what you've read above was true at one time and probably still occurs in small villages among the uneducated. Bu the truth of the matter is that my husband and I met on a blind date of sorts, arranged by our parents, and the decision was ours to make. I wouldn't say it was love at first sight, but I believe that Ranjit and I saw something in each other that made us want to be together for the rest of our lives.

People are surprised with how comfortable I am with the English language. They say to me, "You speak the language so well!!", assuming that I've been exposed to it only for the last 7 years that I've been in this country. Well, firstly anyone who's been awake during their world history classes should know that India was colonized to death by the British and the least they could teach us was how to say," Up yours!!", which actually translates to "get out of my country!!!!". I've been familiar with the Queen's tongue since I was born. I grew up listening to the Beatles and Kenny Rogers, learned my alphabets with Ernie and Bert, wolfed down french fries and coke, wore denim and t-shirts, etc, etc, etc. Well, in my case, the comfort with the language is also because I grew up in Africa and had the added advantage of visiting different parts of the world. I am fortunate, is all I can say.

I've traveled and lived in more places in the last 31 years of my life, than some would in a lifetime. So, when I'm asked, "Do you miss home?", I'm not sure what exactly to say. Is home Africa, where I spent most of my childhood, growing up in 4 different cities? Or Rishi Valley, a boarding school nestled on the outskirts of a small town in South India, where I studied and lived for 5 years? Where education just wasn't about books, tests and grades, but being one with nature, and exploring the different dimensions within oneself? Or Bangalore, where I was born, and where I returned to complete my graduation?

And then again, isn't home really where you feel you belong, no matter where you are. Whether it's sitting under a tree watching my husband and son chase each other on the grass; or twirling around the living room with Shiv, listening to Harry Belafonte; or all of us sitting at a restaurant, feeding each other pizza... Yes, it's when I'm laying in bed, cuddling Shiv while his father reads him his favourite book and he reaches out to touch our faces lovingly, that I think to myself, "At last, I'm home!!!".

1 comment:

Jen said...

The reason the rest of us are so intrigued by your love story, is because we had to date so many frogs before we found our prince. The idea that you found yours after only one meeting is awe-inspiring!