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Home is where the heart is!

India, Independence Day. Tanvii.com


A friend from initial blogging days wrote this on her Facebook a few days back. I read it and felt someone had penned my thoughts succinctly ... I think it is worth sharing with everyone. N.B. It was Indian Independence Day on 15th August. 

Home is where the heart is! 


Who am I kidding?! In all honesty, I don't even know if I understand the sweet freedom of independence. It's real worth. I mean, come on, I was born in independent India, in an independent family, and did every
thing independently—eat, breathe, cry...so did you! I was taught to love the independence day. And republic day. And Gandhi jayanti and so on. And I obediently loved them all. We are all aware of the power of teaching on an obedient student. Therefore, since the time I can't even recall, I've been very very proud and happy and excited about, especially, independence day.

But do I really really cherish it? Probably not. Not at least in a way I'd perhaps be expected to. Its like, you don't realize the true worth of something until you have worked hard for it. Like finally being able to run 10 miles at a comfortable pace; or obtaining a piece of data after hours of toil in the lab; or finding true love after being crushed more than once. Suchlike. A ten year old me used to ask my grandfather–the only link to my bit of pre-independence India–"what was it like during the British Raj? Did the Britishers harass y'all a lot?" And unlike what I expected—and I expected a furor, uproarious rebellious elevation in tone and stories of fiendish torture and deliberate discrimination—contrarily, I heard a simple, almost nonchalant, "yeah, it was a little different. Not much. Some of us youngsters were very bloodshot. But life was normal. Always.". Correct. Boring. A ten year old me would wonder and go back to playing. Probably kids played the same way under British Raj too. My grandfather never lies, whatever the circumstance. So, somehow, I never really really got the idea of how cool it was to be independent.

I had to sit myself down. Apply reverse psychology. Hypothesis. Control. Or whatever it is called. And had to think, what if we still were under the British Raj? To such questions, then again, are no definitive answers. We all can make a table with pros in one column and cons in the other. Speculate. Sometimes, getting what is yours is all that matters. Independence, to me, is sort of like that. India is mine. What makes it mine? I was born there. The world is mine. But we divided the land into pieces anyway because water wouldn't listen. A raffle. I got India. Everyone around me got India and we became Indians. And we did certain things in a certain way which made us one. The things we did differently, we decided to bear and called it unity in diversity. We grew. Amidst the recycling, the uplifting, the decay, the rot; the variety, really; we grew. It's an inexplicable feeling to call something your own. Like India. She's mine! She's my mother! I played pakda-pakdi (tag) on the dust of her earth; watched little orange fish swim in her little streams of water where I put my little paper boats; flew paper planes in her atmosphere(so what if it was during the class!). Much more. Much much more. And she allowed me to. She allowed it all. Perhaps that is freedom. Of course, the fact that hundreds laid their lives down for me to think about this today, is something I can never think of undermining. A zillion salutes. However, I just took to respecting independence for what it really means to me and not just because it was forced upon me by history and teachers. The homage to the heroes comes automatically. Still working. Still wondering. Still pondering. Still enjoying every moment of realization. India's independence!

It's one thing to think about true love and another to smile, on catching a glimpse of it. Millions of miles away. In America. The kind of smile, involuntary; the swelling up of unidentified emotions inside your chest; on seeing the Empire State Building in saffron, white and green. Oh the joy! Be it from Park Avenue or coast of Jersey City. The feeling that today, the crown of one of the world's tallest structures, is MINE! Totally mine.


- Author, Tamanna Sheikh (You have met her before, here & here)

P.S. On the occasion of Indian Independence Day, Rivista di Moda had featured me in their first edition of online magazine. You can read it here

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