Caste of Humanity

To that friend who I asked about their caste in 2003, not knowing any better, I am so sorry. To all the people who continue ask me what my caste is in various ways, I am sorry that I don’t know what to say. I am yet to understand myself where I truly belong having been exposed to a conglomerate of regions and religions. And to all those who’ve watched me be the rebel and somehow ended up emulating me without realizing, thank you! It sure gets better from here.

Over the last decade and half, I have impacted my kith and kin and the poor things are yet to let that sink in. I’ve developed such deep admiration for most of them although I haven’t made any particular effort to reach out individually to commend them for their growth. There will be one or two in the family that will always be uncomfortable around me but someday soon, I’m sure they’d fall in love with me. Who cares if they didn’t walk next to me when I most needed but I’m so ecstatic to celebrate their heightened tolerance when it has come to their own brood.

This write-up is particularly a tribute to my friends and acquaintances whose never ending support has been pivotal in my own nirvana, my ability to see beyond barriers, religions, caste, and regional stratification. It is because of them that I dare to give back to the community, language, and roots. There has not been a single moment in these 21 years in the US that were cringe-worthy compared to the many embarassments that I faced in India due to my lack of importance to the whole caste system. I was almost thinking it is obsolete here in the US until it crept back into use cases and universities.

When I was a kid and till I was eligible to get married, I lacked the basic understanding of the c-word. That ignorance became worse when I started to acquire the qualities of ‘when in Rome, be a Roman’ after coming to the US. Not everyone is blessed with such stupor. As the years went by, I seemed to have no recollection of the instances where I was castigated for stepping out of the acceptable norms and achieving the ‘sadhguru’ state of social enlightenment. To the point that my parents, despite few exceptions here and there had begun to accept that humanity was indeed a better caste than those that created prejudice.

I didn’t realize how contemptuous the most educated become when it comes to marrying someone outside the caste and even worse region or religion. That was exactly the case when I was looking to find a husband after few confusing relationships that sank without trace because of my caste. It was not because I was of a higher or lower caste; I was just not their caste. I’ve been chuckling more lately as generations began to quest outside of their menage, diversifying into other sects, regions, religions, race, and even queer.

When I was in pursuit of my forever bliss, there were more taunts than praise. But I’m not complaining because progress is progress no matter when it manifests. The true privilege of being alive now, is to curtail all things that didn’t work in the archaic systems. Some of us continue to annihilate those evils to create an heirloom. And follow the path where, “There is only one caste… the caste of humanity. There is only one religion… the religion of love. There is only one language… the language of the heart.”

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