Wednesday, December 17, 2014

In the middle of everywhere

Every now and then, there's a periodic hue and cry about who we are as a people and what we truly represent. Are we Indian enough to call ourselves Indians or are we those who are basically disappearing? Are we so deep in disguise that we don't even recognise the sound of our fading away into homogeneity? The sun may rise in the east but it settles in the west. OK. That was a lame attempt at metaphor. But if you think you've got nothing to do with Western civilization, aren't you mistaken? You may lay claim to all the precious knowledge that Vedic India gave birth to even though you don't know the difference between Sanskrit and Prakrit. One (hailing from our country) can always blame our colonial baggage for this misplaced pride. It's like being in an elevator with the phone dipping in and out of network coverage. You're connected but still disconnected. A simpler method would be to call oneself a citizen of the world. But then, how can you do that if your range of geographical curiosity is limited to your city marked by sporadic vacations? More so, if you've become your favourite place and don't really bother to explore? In such a context, what exactly are you? You look very much Indian although it's quite difficult to classify Indianness by appearance. Some of the fairest people are found in South India and some of the darkest in the north. Our diversity is almost ridiculous. We've come to a point where we may prescribe to certain ethnicity or race or religion but our civilization seems very Western—if not completely American. Take a break and look at yourself. The clothes you're wearing right now have nothing to do with India nor the gadgets that have come to define your lifestyle. Your thought process and your wish to lead your life the way you want without paying the price of responsibility has Made-in-USA—if not Hollywood—stamped all over it. The way this world is built and functioning owes almost everything to the industrial revolution that kickstarted two centuries ago. We can be nostalgic about our glorious past but our present is remarkably rooted in the TV series that we can't have enough of. Our urbanity is going to be our species' downfall but aren't we enjoying the bungee-jump? Even our sense of humour is nursed by foreign memes. And if you still believe that 35% of the scientists in NASA are of Indian origin or that NHS is primarily run by desi doctors, you're actually attesting to the rise of a civilization that has proved itself to be more embracing than the one we are supposed to have come from. Yes, we enjoy Indian food because to put it bluntly, our kitchen has seen innovation like no other sphere. Not science. Not mathematics. Not business. Nothing. It's OK though. We are only aping the world like the rest of the world is.

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