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Archive for December 10th, 2011

Having lived my first five decades in India for the life of me I cannot say what exactly is my Indian Identity and where it lay. As far as I could think for myself I showed my partiality for everything outside India. I seem to have set focus on English as my language even as I was being grounded in my mother tongue in my teen years. I do not know what compelled me even at that early age, to swim far out into the open sea of cosmopolitan world-view than hugging the inland waters of narrow parochial interests.
Looking back I feel vindicated. I could be at home anywhere.
Greece,England,America were my spiritual home as far as literature was concerned whereas in the matters of culture and philosophy I was at home with the Chinese sages who preferred to a life of idleness than cut caper in the courts of some palace. They had the courage to direct their lives in their own choosing. The simplicity of Japan wooed me as the Gallic wit of France. As for films France of the Golden Age meant to me most.
Of course India was the base on which I drew influences as varied as to encompass the whole world.
My eldest brother even after living abroad most of his life would come to India in order to splurge on Kerala cuisine. For him Malayalam films, music and literature meant much more than I do.
Somehow I never took to any of these, and despite of these I consider myself Indian. Hence this dilemma. Like Shylock I am at a loss to explain: what is my Indian identity?
In my never ending quest to examine the forces that keep our material world floating like continents on shelves I suspect answer might hold in that unseen world. Those ascetics who spent their life contemplating on eternal questions depended on endless cycles of life and could take their own time speculating on life’s mysteries. Something akin to that is the motive force that keeps me. In the Netherlands or in India my real world is my own and it goes past this visible world and it is whatever I may choose to call it. If I hold it is my Indian Identity it cannot be anything else.
What has to be explained by sensory experience is illusive while what makes the attempt is quite something else.
benny

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art: An Old Druze

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