I have written this poem “Identity” and received many interesting responses in my comment box. Those responses prompted me to write another post.
I don’t have any problem with different cultures and people assimilating these cultures. In fact this assimilation opens our mind and enriches us in many ways. This assimilation is happening since time immemorial in India. We even embraced our conquerers and ultimately they lost themselves completely and became one with us. India had been invaded by the Greeks (Yavanas), Huns (Hunas), Shakas and Kushanas. These invaders were completely absorbed into the existing Indian society. Even the memory of their ever having been foreign
invaders was wiped out. Today if we try to hunt for Kushana, or Shaka blood, we will not find a single trace to begin with. So my poem was not against assimilation of different ideas and cultures. That SHOULD always be WELCOMED.
What makes me wonder is in eating habits, we prefer to be “seen” eating in McDonald’s or Huts or Dominos. We stop being an American after tasting theirs food. Is this America all about? What about their civic sense and cleanliness? What about their observing traffic rules? Oh! Here our Indian-ness leaps in every corner of the road. How many red lights we jump is machismo in purest form. So very Indian, so desi! We felt like a man when breaking speed limit. We are proud of our ignorance of Zebra crossing. These are minor things for us.
When we are choosing girlfriends/boyfriends, Mumma / Puppa, PLEASE don’t interfere. It’s my life. But when we are getting married, please arrange for the dowry, we want it desperately. All my life, Mummy/Daddy, we fought you. But if you want to arrange my wedding on lavish scale, please go ahead. I am your docile daughter/son. I will be obedience personified. I don’t care to be an American here. They spend their own money in their wedding dinner and functions. But NOW, at my wedding my heart is dying to be an Indian. I want all the bridal / groom’s accessories from you Mom and Dad. My McDonald and hip and happening image can go to hell!
We got admitted in fundu, expensive, private MBA colleges. Please Pappa, come forward to deposit few lakhs as fee. And leave one of the expensive cars at my disposal. With this college campus and car, I will have good time JUST LIKE AN AMERICAN COLLEGE STUDENT. What? They work side by side to fund their college education? Oh! I am a cute Indian kid of my Mamma and Pappa. When they are alive, what’s the need to be independent? They will be ready with finances, whenever I need them. With their money I will have fun, just like an American.
What about hard work? Punctuality? Honesty? They put newspapers on pavements. You have to pick up one and insert the coin where it is required. In India, they dare not introduce this scheme. We all know where will be newspapers, and the destination of coins. Those pennies definitely look adorable in my pocket.
This is how I want to represent myself. It’s a matter of convenience for us, Indian yuppies. Whenever the need arises, I switch sides from American to Indian and vice versa. All over the world, people can be Vegetarian or Non- vegetarian. But I am very comfortable, being “Mauka-tarian”. Oh! My Mauka (opportunity) is knocking. I am going to don Indian mantle right now. It would be immensely profitable. The scene is given below:
I know my mind, I love doing my own things, but if I am in trouble due to my own actions, please Dad, bail me out! I don’t know how to lead an independent life, without your support! Here is your little baby calling out!