No Land’ Man

3 05 2017

Well, this title came to me long time ago because this is what I have ended up becoming. A no land’s man. However, a google search for the phrase gave a result that this is already the title of a book by Asif Mandvi, an Indian-American actor. But I will stick to the title for this post because I thought of it originally unaware of Asif’s book and secondly because this is what I have become a no land’s man.

 

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I do not know if this is a good thing or bad. I just know that this is what I have become.

Now, I have always considered myself a nationalist. Not a nationalist in terms of how the word has been concocted these days. But nationalist in terms of being proud of my country and its glorious history and its hopeful future and the small achievements that it has had. Nationalist, not at the cost of putting other countries or cultures down but nationalist in the sense of accepting the sweet with the bitter. Not at the cost of hating China or Pakistan but nationalist in the sense of proudly saluting my National flag.

And then there is another side to me – the western, European. Some of the Europeans friends in fact have said this to me that I am as European in terms of my thinking and behavior as anyone who has been born there and lived there. I understand and appreciate the so called western values of acceptance and independence and freedom of choice and equality.

And yet I do not know who I am. These days everything is so politicized. You are either a rightist or a leftist, nothing in between. Either you are a Hindu-phobic or you are a Hindu fanatic. A liberal or a religious idiot! Nothing in between! I like my religion and I am proud of it. It makes me happy that I follow a religion that is all accepting, allows you to question the existence of God. It even allows you to be an atheist. It allows you to follow any path you want as long as it adheres to Dharma or righteousness. It allows me to bow my head in front of a Cross. It allows me to enter a mosque without any sense of guilt. I like how it allows evolution with time. I like how it has never contradicted the findings of modern science. But then in the eyes of the liberals – I am a Hindu fanatic. And yet I know I am not. But again who am I?

I lived in Europe knowing that I will go back to India one day. I went back. Things didn’t work out like I planned and then I again came back to Europe. I am very happy to be back here. But I also know that I miss India. However, when I was back there, there were so many things that I didn’t like about India. And yet now, I know I want to go back. It is just confusing. Or so it seems.

When I walk on the streets here, I can feel that I am a bit different. It is not so much the color of my skin which makes me realize this difference – it’s the values that I have been brought up on. What I want from life is different than an average person that I see here.

And yet, I have changed. The same values which make me realize this difference between an average European and me – these exact values do not seem to be Indian either. In India I can feel this difference too. When I say something, not everyone in India agrees with me. Neither my family nor my friends. For them, my thoughts are westernized. They are influenced by the Europeans. My mind has rather been corrupted in the land of the whites because hey – every white person is racist and UNESCO has declared that Indian culture is the best culture in the world. (By the way this was sarcasm – another thing we Indians are not good at understanding).

My parents say that I am caught between the cultures – neither here nor there. I am neither an Indian nor German, so to say. But then again, why do I need an identity like this? Why cannot I just be me? When will this end? What am I going to teach my son? Be like Ram, or Bhakta Pralhad. Take care of your parents when you get old. But hey, be independent. Leave your house when you are fourteen but do not forget to call me every day. At least send a WhatsApp forward every morning please.

Is this also a form of globalization that we evolve into a new species? And to evolve from one form of beauty to another, maybe we go through something ugly? Am I that ugly link between the east and the west? Do I even belong anywhere?