Tuesday, August 28, 2012

My dream. My India.

"Why would you still want to go back to India? Wahaan rakha hi kya hai," I am asked. Several times over. Till I finally start to feel violent.

Kyun na jaun vapas? Mera ghar nahi hai kya? Mera desh nahi hai kya? Yahaan baithke kya bas dekhti rahun ki kuch log kya haal kar rahe hain mere ghar ka? Chup chaap bahar-walon ki tarah dekh kar muh pher lu? 

Is that really that surprising or outrageous that a 23-year-old Indian girl who is finishing her Master's in the USA still wants to go back to India after accomplishing the academic goals she's aiming for?

Is it that ridiculous for me to want to go ... home?

Do people not feel ashamed to actually tell me that there's no scope for me and "people like me" in India and that I should stay put, earn a fortune and live happily ever after? I'm sorry but my mind and life are not that shallow. I function on certain principles.

Should I sit here, quietly building up a handsome bank balance while watching my country fall apart because of arrogant, corrupt politicians and senseless discrimination? Should I wait for someone else to step in and 'clean up'? Why? Is it not your home?

Koi aur aake kyun tumhari gandagi saaf karey? Khud utro usmein. Karo apni mitti ko saaf. Ghar pe bade sher bante phirte ho toh bahar jao, jagao un logon ko jo aankhein band karke jeete hain, uthao unhein, kaam par lagao. Khud kaam karo. Par nahi. Tumhein toh yahaan aake pardesi logon ke liye kaam karna zyada pasand hai. Wohi toh tumhara sapna hai. Ki kab main degree le lu aur kat lu yahaan se.

And then you'll magically transform into one of those 'NRIs' who visit India once in a few years and cover their noses with kerchiefs and wrinkle them underneath. You'll buy mineral water, complain about how many potholes there are in the roads, and how backward 'this' country is.

Yahi sab kehne ke liye vapas aana hai toh ek kaam karo bhai - mat aao vapas. Humein zaroorat hi nahi hai tumhari. Ek din tumhein zaroorat mehsoos hogi. Apne logon ki. APNE desh ki. Tab ban jaoge tum.. pakke NRI.

Don't come back if you can't use any of your acclaimed IVY league education and your fancy bank balances for the betterment of the land where you were made. Where the largest democratic, secular population on earth lives - happily.

Yes, we have problems. But there are still people who believe in solving problems, not getting used to them. If you have so much influence, so much attitude and power, bring it all with you. Bring it back and invest it - in YOUR country. Your home.

That feeling you get when you watch an episode of Satyamev Jayate on your big, giant flat-screen LCD television in your posh living room - capture it, retain it and transplant it - to reality.

Get up and do something about it instead of remaining a drawing room hero.

This is not some Tata Tea 'Jaago Re' campaign. It's not a 'Support Anna Hazare' campaign either. It simply says, if your dream took you somewhere else, I respect that.

My dream was and is, to fight back. To go home to my people, my land, my dharti and apply everything I've learned to a genuine effort in keeping my homeland beautiful.

Tumhara sapna tumhein mubarak ho. Par pankh ugakar yeh mat sochke baitho ki bass, ab hum mahaan ho gaye hain. 

Aur agar dil mein itni si bhi ichha ho, ki yaar mujhe apne ghar jana hai, toh ruko mat. Laut jao. Shauk se. Dil se. 

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