Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Settled Here

It’s amazing how people hold on to their land, their little 60 by 40 site, and pass it on from one generation to another as faithfully and certainly as they pass on their blood, but give up one whole country and all its legacy and all its heritage and not shed a single drop of tear.

This is what amazes me most at present, as I meet one Indian after another in America who has ‘settled down’ or is looking forward to settling down here.

Starting from their children, all of their future generations will be forever removed from India, its language, its idiom, its culture, its history and its customs. It’s a goodbye once for all.
I have goose bumps even as I think about it.

As I look out of the window of my 19th floor room in Sheraton, I see the World Trade Centre. I am thrilled to know I am looking at the tallest building in the United States. To its far right, I locate the tiny shadowy Statue of Liberty and feel thrilled again to know I am the only one who can actually locate it. I go to the 21st floor club lounge to look at the Manhattan skyline and one of the days I am delighted to see Empire State building in blue lighting. I commute in the subway like a New Yorker and feel proud when I help an American family get on the right train through a confusion of maps and signboards in the underground subway station.
I am not really missing India.
Every weekend I tour Manhattan, I discover something new. I am enjoying it here.
But only because I know I am going to be back in India in a few weeks.

If I were told one morning, that I would never go back, never return to India again, I would be standing at my 19th floor window, weeping my heart out, at my great loss and a greater lacuna that was to come.