Is there a place that you can call home? A place that pops into your head as soon as you are confronted with the question – “Where are you from?” It seems like one of those straight forward fuss-free questions. But is it? Nope, it’s loaded. It’s a question that forms the edifice for a lot of relationships. If you happen to belong to the same place as the inquisitive questioner turned best friend for life, that’s it! You’re in; welcome to the tribe. You can seamlessly alternate between your native tongue and English, share your grandmother’s pickle recipes, discuss the 10th generation bakery that serves fabulous vegetable puffs at the intersection of some latitude and longitude that Google maps has no idea of yet, cluck your tongue at the sad state of politics… you get the idea. But if you happen to belong to a place outside the permissible 100 mile radius of inquisitive questioner turned awkward encounter, at best, you can shuffle your feet, discuss the weather and at worst, still discuss the weather. Discussing the weather is one of humanity’s most under-rated achievements. Salvaging uncomfortable conversations since the inception of time.
Well I happen to be someone whose origin is as blurry as my vision without glasses, which is to say, very. Actually, no. It depends on how far back in time does one want to delve to find common ties. If only we could discuss apes as our common ancestors *sigh*. Anyway, with grandparents from Lahore and Karachi, parents from Delhi, born in Mumbai but having spent most of my life in Bangalore, to say that I have an identity crisis would be an understatement at best. So when someone catches me off-guard and delves into my murky family tree, my mind draws a blank and I fumble “Del.. sorry Mum.. I mean Banga.. no wait..”
However, when I ask myself the question “Where is home”, my mind still draws a blank but in the most tranquil way possible. Home is wherever and whoever I want it to be. Home is all that I have accepted unconditionally. It is the nook in my grandmother’s house in Delhi where the cooler is most effective, it is the laid back yet full-of-life electric vibe of Mumbai, the comfort of a strong cup of filer Kaapi in Bangalore and home is all the people I have had the privilege of discussing the weather with… 🙂
Yours – in need of an actual home,
To varying degrees, most urban dwellers living in the 21st century are familiar with some form of “organic branding” doing the rounds. Well, when the air you breathe is toxic, we’ll buy any promise of a healthier lifestyle.. even if the price is hard to digest! We all know those classic signs of organic packaging.. made with paper and concealed in hues of earthy greens and browns. Long before you dare to flip the packet, you know you would be paying a premium- six times over its inorganic equivalent.
Let’s question the what, why, how, when etc. etc. of organic food. It is essentially about eliminating synthetic chemicals.. right from offensive-sounding pesticides used to grow fruits and vegetables to the hormones and antibiotics that are force fed to poultry and livestock. Consuming organic food is about damage control.. restoring something natural in our otherwise unnatural lifestyle – fast food, fast cars, substance abuse, fast-paced careers – it won’t come as a surprise to me if we turn out to be genetically modified organisms ourselves!
So now that we have established that in order to maintain some balance in the chemical soup that we humans are, we need to consume produce that does not amplify the toxins within us. With this as the premise, let us explore further, because, with an increase in awareness, comes an exponential increase in confusion. Earlier, you were considered health conscious if you avoided saturated fats. Now, sulphurless sugar, fish that has just the right amount of omega-3 acids and organic milk are just some of the basic considerations one needs to keep in mind. Oh man, how far have we come from the days when coca-cola was advertised as a brain tonic!
I can’t tell whether the organic mania is here to stick or not but like any trend it’s quite clear that the population will always be divided into three portions – the ones that give a damn, ones that create an opportunity from those that do give a damn and the ones that watch on with great amusement at every passing trend.
Ask any Indian about what their understanding of education is and they’ll tell you that it is about finding the right balance – of their parents’ approval, societies’ approval and keeping the bank account flushed with a number decent enough to appease the relatives! Phew. Exhausting, right? Don’t get me wrong. There are the exceptions with enough gumption to pursue an education that has a five percent intersection with their interests.
Here I am, in my mid-20’s crisis(hopefully facing this one can get me a pass on the mid-life crisis) standing adamantly at the crossroads of confusion. The path that I took to get here was fairly straight forward. The first milestone was selecting the science stream after 10th standard. Made it past that one with fairly less resistance. The second milestone was completing engineering. A little more resistance followed. But yeah, I made it! Now all I needed was an MBA and I was well on my way to gaining a pat on my back and a lifetime membership at the not-so-exclusive ‘Walking with Blinders On’ society. I was soooo close to getting there. Having dropped out from the course a week into it, now the road (with all the clear signposts) that i had been lugging on seemed to have vanished and become a freaking pool of quicksand.
So this brought me into a deep state of inquiry (as-if :P).. have I been the only accidental rebel to question the well charted education path laid out by the millions before me? I highly doubt it. Over some brutally honest conversations with my friends ( yeah.. Vodka can have that effect), I realised that we are all packed like a bunch of sardines in a boat that is too rigidly designed in its possibilities. Maybe, just maybe, there are other career options out there? God forbid I let my mind wander and end up pursuing literature. 😀 ( That’ll get me permanently disbarred from the Blinders society). I guess my point is that that the reason I am finding it difficult to cope with this simple conundrum is because I have swallowed and thoroughly digested some beliefs about the course life needs to take. It’s time to take a laxative and let go. 😛