Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Mother India came to visit

It so happens that brothers and/or sisters from the Motherland a.k.a. India have been passing by my blog lately. Wah, wah. Nobody would mistake me for a Lebanese, German or Nigerian - ok, Kuwaiti at best because every bleeding time I am at Beirut airport, the customs officer asks me if I am from Kuwait. - As if I look loaded.

Anyway, in a way yes of course I am most definitely Indian. I have all the genetic features. Yet I have never been to India. Perhaps 2008 is the year in which it is all happening. Can you imagine me finally going to a country which I only know from books, documentaries and Indian cinema? Me joining 1.2 BILLION countrymen. Me who comes from a single-parent family. Me who has no brothers and sisters. Me joining a sea of people who look like ... me. I think I am in for a daunting experience.

I eat Indian food. I listen to Indian music. I have certain Indian values. Yet at the same time I couldn't be more different, due mostly to the fact that I was born and bred in the Netherlands with an Indian family that is rooted in Surinam, a former Dutch colony in South America.

Please bear with me and read the following lines from V.S. Naipaul in his book India: a wounded civilization, because what he says very much holds true for me as well:
"India is for me a difficult country. It isn't my home and cannot be my home; and yet I cannot reject it or be indifferent to it; I cannot travel only for the sights. I am at once too close and too far. My ancestors migrated from the Gangetic plain a hundred years ago; and the Indian community they and others established in Trinidad, on the other side of the world, the community in which I grew up, was more homogeneous than the Indian community Gandhi met in South Africa in 1893, and more isolated from India."