Last month, while returning after an interview, our photographer and I were discussing what the interviewee had just said. She had taken a break to go in search of her roots because she felt she did not belong ‘somewhere’. My colleague asked me, “Rekha, do you think you and I will ever think like that. We know where we belong and are proud of our roots and where we come from.”

That got me thinking… the whole NRI debate. The feeling of ‘Indianness’ and the sense of belonging. What or who decides how ‘Indian’ you are…What is ‘Indianness’… is it a feeling, an emotion or a sense of pride? Or simply an attitude that you celebrate in every aspect of life? The choice is ours!

Having lived 15 years away from India has not made me any less Indian. In fact, it’s this ‘Indianness’ that makes me who I am or what I want to be. The diversity, tolerance, the feeling of oneness, age-old hospitality makes a true Indian blend easily into any place he chooses to be.

Also it’s the place where you live that also helps you revel in that feeling or attitude of being Indian. I have Omani colleagues who never fail to wish us on every Independence Day, Republic Day, Diwali or Christmas. People who enjoy Hindi film songs and movies as much as they do Arabic ones. And there are some like Mohammed Bahlani who define that the ‘whole world is a family’. An ‘Indianness’ that lives in an open-minded society full of love and respect…

Yes, I do miss living in India. But wherever I am, I’m sure there are so many aspects of my ‘Indianness’ that will remain in my psyche and define who I am…

Like this. And this.

Happy Republic Day

 

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