As most of you know, I’m originally from India. I was born there and I left when I was 10. I spent the next 6 years of my life in Dubai and now I’m in the US. I guess, ever since I got to the US at 16, I was asked the one question that eluded everyone here. “Where are you from?” As simple as the answer seems, I would be perplexed. Where was I from? Should I take the 10 years of my life and my birth place as the answer. What about Dubai? I did come from there? What about the US that I was living in at that moment? In all honesty, I still struggle with this one. Home is the US. The reason I know it, is because my close family is here. I miss my home when I’m away and so home is the US, but where am I from?
You are probably hitting your forehead at this moment thinking that I’m really stupid. You may think, that’s the dumbest question. The answer lies in where I was born. I’m from India. Am I? Is that the simple answer. Deep down I don’t want to be Indian, and I don’t want to be Arab (from Dubai) and I don’t want to be American either. For me, deep down, I feel these are dividers. These are markers of judgement. I want to be a citizen of this world. This whole world is as much yours and it is mine. We are all from planet earth. Do we really need to divide it further? If an alien invaded us, we would all stand together and state proudly that this was our planet and we were humans and we were from EARTH. Too bad we have to wait for an alien invasion for our unity.
The reason for this post is not just about the country of origin. I am very disturbed about judgements based on race and religion. Let’s say that I completely agreed that I was Indian. Does this mean that as an Indian I would not be divided from another Indian. Would I find unity by being an Indian? Not true! I cannot admit to loving and being “from” a country that is so based on skin color that it makes my own skin crawl with centipedes. Yes, I was born in India and grew up as an Indian, but in this same country I would be looked at as a “less than” because my skin color was darker than Aishwarya Rai or the other super fair actresses. My prospects for marriage would also dwindle based on this same issue and within the same country, we would divide ourselves. So, I could be Indian but still segmented into a “group”. Division. Isn’t it great? Yes, I’m being sarcastic.
Do we remember when Miss USA’s parents were of Indian origin and Miss USA was too dark by Indian standards? I remember reading articles about how people in India were surprised they picked her! She wasn’t even considered attractive there because she was dark. This bothers me a lot. Of course, I’ve been dark all my life and have had to deal with people making fun of me. It’s horrible. And I’ve read articles written by other dark women from India about how they felt. It’s all the same. I know I’m digressing into an issue of color now, but really it’s all about prejudice and judgements towards other human beings.
In the United States, we still have a race issue whether you admit it or not. It comes from years of slavery and power or stupidity – whichever way you want to take it. And then there’s more. There’s the division due to body type. If one is obese, they are looked at differently than one who is not. Forget “obese”. There are body types that may be considered a bit chubby? Not even close to being fat and yet, people will discriminate and divide based on that. I hate to admit that in my own family I have members who look at prospective brides or grooms based on color and furthermore, in the side of my American family (my husband is caucasian) there are members who base similar prospectives on body types. Which form of discrimination is acceptable? NEITHER. Discrimination is discrimination. Period.
When we have these issues on a minor level, what do we have on a major level? We have races hating races and we have holocasts and wars and religious profiling and eradications and we have a giant big mess. I do not know how to fix this situation. It’s horrible. I do feel that the only thing we are in control of is ourselves. I feel each and every one of us needs to look at the mirror and face our demons and confront our fear and our prejudices the best we can. This world is headed to doom. It’s really sad. So, please join me in creating a chain of people who choose to be enlightened. People who choose to make a difference by making a change in ourselves first. I’m not perfect. Not close. I just want to work towards self-betterment.
Wish you all happy holidays and a wonderful new year ahead.