Goodbye, Motherland!

The first thing I remember “learning” in school apart from generic language and math during the first few years in school is “India is my country. All Indians are my brothers and sisters. I love my country. I’m proud of its rich and varied heritage…” My voice still echoes in my head during the school assembly on Monday mornings that includes Indian National Pledge and National Anthem. I have said those words with much gusto even though I could not understand the depth of its meaning those days. These words have the magic of making heart filled with love and courage. Anytime I leave India, I would start longing to come back. Of course there were times I just wanted to get the hell out of here. Disgusting politics, lack of governance, hypocrisy, and total chaos everywhere makes me squirm with anger. Leaving the politics and hypocrisy aside, there is some kind of harmony in that chaos. I came from this chaos, it’s my roots. I can be at peace with this chaos and its freedom. Leaving all that for the love of my life is resolutely romantic – no doubt! Life sure is going to be more colorful in the land of dreams where anything is possible but I’ve trouble of letting it go. Change is massive – whiff of curry masala that tickles brain cells to release ghrelin on the street from the chaat or dosa stalls to not-so-smell intensive salty pretzels, luscious green paddy and sugarcane fields to questionable GM corn and soy fields, colorfully less appealing milk and rice sweets to vibrantly colored cakes with artificial colorants, mango trees protected by its natural warriors – the marching red ants to simple apple trees, giant, gnarly, majestic figs and teaks to sequoias and red woods, friendly pomegranate and gooseberry to maple and cherry trees, currency notes that has the big toothless smile of Mahatma Gandhi to stern face of Benjamin Franklin, peacocks to eagles, lotus to rose… I’m dreading the day of leaving India. Poraale Ponnu Thaaye song catches my mood perfectly and here is my bad translation…

Golden girl is leaving, crying incessantly
Leaving the land that gave water and food
Leaving the cows that gave milk
Leaving the birds on their cage
This girl leaves her country…

What kind of flower is she?
Dainty marigold that reaches God?
Or the one that goes unnoticed on a dirty shrub?
While people yearn for her in homeland,
She leaves like lifeless cargo on a hayride…

All her affection, all her bonds
Speaks the language of dumb hearts
Southern winds are blowing in wrong direction
Monsoon clouds are running away
A living crop is withering…

It’s been long since my throat went dry
This soul is dangling between home and far away
All saved treasures have become unusable
Untold words are weighing heavy
There is a distance between food and relations
Just wait, there is a good life for this poor girl tomorrow …

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