Monday, July 11, 2005

home; where my music's playin'...

america calls me in my dreams...i know it sounds strange: i leave our increasingly cookie-cutter country, with its strip malls and rest stops, houses full of people spending lazy sundays watching dale jr. careen past jeff gordon on the final turn at talladega...or darlington...or wherever NASCAR nation's eyes are fixed and arrive in india; a country as unpredictable as storm clouds on an otherwise sunny day, a country so rich in tradition and history that it boasts the world's oldest organized religion and the first written language not based on symbols; only to find myself yearning for the indian summer of the lake michigan shoreline.
india represents my past, not in a completely tangible sense as it does for my parents (even though many summer's passed just as this one did, in the languid, easy company of forever-doting aunts and uncles, cousins whose lives pass by me in regimented stages: the reckless play of children unattended; the cautious, confusing conversations of adolescence; the ease, and excitement of young adulthood and the freedom of the future.) india is my past primarily in how my parents raised me. the blood that flows in me, the ideals that i live by, find their roots here in the decaying, faded ancestrial homes of my parents, in the aging bones of my grandparents. the india i face today is as strange and foreboding as the first motion pictures must have been to people over a century ago. a picture living so fast that it ends with everything changed, transformed into a vague silhouette of what it once was, living and breathing even at nighttime, a time when it used to rest and recover its energy.
so i find myself drawn back to the familiarity of america, the comfort of its experience as the forerunner of the 20th century. india is much like the careless, troubled adolescent that we all once were, taking bold steps without watching where it puts its feet; while america, even with all its faults, struts along far more comfortably.
so the india of civil unrest, where religion squirms its way into politics and politics weasels its way into religion, and where progress moves forward at the sake of preservation is not the india i cherish, the india i choose to remember. instead i'll remember summer days spent at my grandfather's side, relishing the wisdom that comes with age and a thirst for knowledge, evenings spent with my aunt and her four daughters salivating over indian dishes that even my mother, the high priestess of epicurean delights, could only dream about; gossiping and doubling over with laughter at the expense of various other unnamed relations; feeling the warmth and affection of relatives i haven't even seen in years because family is forever, no matter how many generations removed.
i dream about the america that is my future, but i'll always remember the india of my past.


Blogger Mackenzie said...

Dear friend,
When you speak of your past it makes me most envious. I am jealous of the richness of "your past" and how you have so much history and diversity and opportunity. Having a family history so full and rich also leaves me feeling as if I was jypped.

Regardless, I wish you a safe return as well as the utmost luck in the future. Someday I hope to see you again where you can tell me the tales of your adventures in person. Krishna, I know that you will do great things. Just don't let anything hold you back. Make sure to always keep your sense of past and history close at hand, because I am certain that it will come to your aid more than you could ever know.

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