Babel

So, I went to a pretty prestigious college in India. One where everyone spoke in English and even though there were different accents, it was a universal language on that campus. Most spoke English fluently.

I never once thought that one of my favorite teachers from there, would end up being such a language snob.

There is this huge never ending cultural war between the North and the South and language is just one tiny part of it. This college I went to was progressive in so many ways, especially being in the South where education has always been top notch. The British, French , Portuguese and …dare I add…the Vatican, has been quite helpful to add in tons of educational resources in return for grabbing whatever they laid their eyes on. So I guess i should be thankful for that.

Attending a college with so many students and teachers, all with different religious beliefs and cultural affiliations was never a hindrance to the friendships I formed in those few glorious years. We all got along for the most part and it was ‘live and let live’ with aplomb.

Years later, I caught up with this teacher and several others, on social network and it was so nice to be recognized and start a new chapter of friendship , this time, as peers.

I quickly realized that we had more differences than similarities, her being staunchly Hindu and Anti-American ( in spite of having visited the US many times and enjoyed its offerings) And I, being a brand new immigrant, trying to get used to a whole new culture here in the US and seeing things from a different perspective.

Well, it was really great at first. She would post funny, witty jokes and it was all harmless.

But lately, with the current political climate in both India and the US being in such upheaval, it reflected greatly in her posts. They turned dark almost at once. Scathing humor, intense disgust and and altogether low view of the US prompted her posts at an alarming rate. All the while staying quiet about the intense unrest that was unfurling in India.

The last straw was her posting a video of some nitwit of a late night tv show host absolutely spitting out his mocking opinion of how someone pronounced Indian words.

And it struck a chord in me. I saw her in a totally different light.

The fact that she found it amusing that a person who wasn’t even Indian was being mocked for his fumbling pronunciation of a language completely alien to him, saddened me. I have lived all over India and I can safely say that I have been humorously thrashed in every place Ive lived in, for massacring each new Indian language that I attempted to speak in! The South made fun of my Tamil and the North made fun of my Hindi. Some of it was in jest.

Most of it was downright hurtful.

It made me wonder why people do this to their own countrymen. Is it possibly because at the very core of it all, people tend to be more myopic in their territory than they realize?

We have accents here in the US that are pretty different. But not really as huge of a difference as Indians from different states in India with every tongue twisting possible way of pronouncing the alphabet…so much so its freshly squeezed verbal juice.

And yet, when all this should actually make Indians more understanding and open minded of the diversity that exists…they put up walls and charge tolls…for acceptance into society.

But I digress. Coming back to this teacher. I found it in poor taste that she would enjoy such mean spirited humor.

This is how society rots. When ‘nice’ people slowly drink the poison of hate.

And keep smiling.

Bittersweet

I was driving back after dropping my daughter off at school and “Strawberry Wine” was playing on the radio. Half way through the song, tears poured down my face.

Is love really so hard to find? Is it that hard to hold on to? It seems from all these songs, that the slow burning embers are hard to keep glowing. The bittersweet song reminded me of how fleeting life is. I was 17 once. Life seemed carefree…with only school to worry about and nothing else.

I have two really great friends who are married to each other. One is is almost 80 and her husband is 94. They met when she was newly divorced from a drunk, abusive husband and he was the milk delivery guy at the store she worked in. It was a slow love at first sight. She was scared and and just trying to stay afloat and he was kind and gentle…

They are so in love…even today. She was a simple country girl and he fought in WW2 in the Navy. I love them so much. They are the family here that I’ve never had through my in laws. They treat my daughter like their own granddaughter.

I believe true love exists.

Even if i may never experience it.

When the ‘Whys’ come to visit.

The urge to write strikes. But somehow the barrage of unformed coherent sentences tumble around right at the entrance, like a very hot and miserably long line of melting people , all waiting to buy lunch and trying their best not to eat the person in front of them.

After years of keeping my thoughts to myself and enduring pain, I have learned that bottling up emotions and keeping them from the right people, can be carcinogenic for the soul. It only burst out in the wrong way. Which in turn caused more pain and frustration.

But who was there to tell?

My own parents gave me no choice in the matter. It was either get married or they would choose the husband. But I wasn’t mentally or emotionally ready for marriage. Even at 26. Which is old maid age in Indian society. My parents have always done the ‘right’ thing according to society. In spite of the fact they went against their own parents’ preferences and married each other for love. But here they were…trying to get ME an arranged marriage. And I like an idiot, caved and gave in.

In hindsight, it would have been the same with whoever I married. Which is what I realized not going according to God’s timing and plan always turns out to be.

But…God honors all marriages, I read. But what about the marriages that have emotional abuse on an every day basis? Not an obviously, news worthy amount, but just enough to make one think that the next day might be better, or that the bad mood would go away eventually…but 13 years down the road…it never did. And now its too late.

Because unless there is infidelity…there can be no divorce. And I do not want to disobey God more than I already have. What kind of a life is this?

Have you ever felt too weak to follow God? The faith and belief is still there and wont ever give up on Him, however the physical ability to follow up and put into action what i KNOW needs to happen, somehow dissipates with each passing day. Nothing can ever change my mind about Him, but looking at my life and the consequences of taking decisions in my own faulty foolish wisdom, are just too much.

Attending church becomes a chore. Which I am ashamed to admit. But if not here…then when CAN I be honest? I once had a really great shepherd of a pastor, but after a huge scandal, we now have another pastor who is more preacher than a shepherd. And from what I have noticed in churches here…no one questions the pastor’s methods. I do have some good friends at church and some have tried to help me by endeavoring to counsel my husband, but everyone’s efforts has been met with a solid crash into a solid stone fortress.

My own counselor has helped me tremendously to get out of bad communication habits and learn to speak the truth in love. But…when a marriage is lopsided…is there any hope?

I realize this roller coaster of a blog post has probably rendered quite a few queasy stomachs. And yet, all the graffiti on this pristine white page gives me an odd feeling of release.

Here we go again

Hello again, I’m back again.

Fleetwood Mac is playing…”Gypsy” seems so perfect for this exact moment.

Because that’s exactly what I feel like…

With a seemingly rootless existence. I once thought that IF I stayed put in once place for long enough, that I could eventually fit in, grow, bloom.

But after 10 odd years of living in the same city , and having recently moved just 45 minutes away…I feel like I never really belonged. Is this how all immigrants feel?

Or just the ones without family here, like me. Completely alone. Even though I’m married with a 5 yr old who loves me with all her heart. Shouldn’t I be happy for what I’ve got?

Sade’s “Smooth Operator” slides into the room…with elan.
That’s what I feel like, when people told me that my life would be good. But leaving India and getting used to the US is like trying to get used to living on Mars, and even after 10 years, I doubt one would really get used to Mars. But that’s an unfair comparison. There arent tacos and great pizza on Mars. But….friends.

Why is it so hard to meet kindred spirits here that really do stick around?

Growing up in India, I never once felt the lack of an honest friend. Trust wasnt rare. Honesty wasnt hard to get.

But this is a desert. A veritable parched existence. Finding a real friend is like trying not to get bitten by a snake that Im trying to help across the road.

And oh the loneliness.