Independence

From being called a tomboy to a call-girl even when I didn’t know their urban meaning, to being called the worst human and a racist recently, I think I pretty much covered it all. A rare privilege indeed. No matter how much I tried, I couldn’t find anything nice of being referred that way Name-calling was common amongst kids even when I was growing up and looks like it is progressively getting worse these days.

I was raised by most educated and liberal parents while I was in India. And I definitely didn’t fit the stereotype at any phase in my 19.5 years that I lived there. To add to that, I had the best of Catholic Convent Education that I’m forever indebted and proud of along with the multi-socio-cultural experiences I garnered living across a slum called Kaladera Colony on which is based my next semi-biography Black Canopy!

But what was liberating in all of my life was coming to the United States. There is still no dearth of patriotism for India or camaraderie for other Indians. However, it was my ticket to freedom, a certain independence from circumstances there. Little did I realize that people are people anywhere. There was always something that I was not, for them. Yet, for me, I became that person I aspired to be and bonus points for becoming the person my parents always thought I’d become.

For those who only know about my Indian origin, would probably fall from their chair to know that my formative adult years were influenced extremely by conservative first generation Italian Americans, two of who I call my host parents. I lost my host mom a few years ago but my host dad does not stop instilling conventional values that I’ve realized I identify myself most with. So when someone recently called me a racist, I wondered which kind they meant?!?

While India and Indians across the globe celebrate 75th Independence Day of the Republic of India, I celebrate more than that. I celebrate my own independence from the parasites who tried to erode my identity, from the scars on my body and mind that are now nothing more than beauty marks, from the names I’ve been called to achieving a stature those unworthy cannot probably scale in their life, from standing on the edge of life to living life on my own terms — that is perhaps what gaining independence from our past feels like.

Published by Quotidian Blessing

InfoSec Director|WIT Mentor-Protege Vice Chair|ATA Convention Women's Forum Chair|Published Poet

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