And so when you are waiting and stressing and wondering where this gold brick road will take you ultimately, you begin think a little of how crooked the turns in this road are, how steep its hills, and how difficult it is to stay on the straight and narrow.
Not so long ago you were in an Indian environment choking on Indian values jostling to break the shackles and get the hell out of Dodge garh so to speak. And everything pointed to America or Australia or Canada you just had to get out of this rut with its sticky tar of larger family politics, nosy neighbours with no better agenda than to pass judgement soaked in malice, parental friends armed with their tacky trinkets supposedly the symbols of success and therefore indicative of wealth.
Then one day you were on a plane being flung at 750kph in to another planet unable to grasp how dramatic and breathtaking the leap was.
To be both American and Indian fighting wars on both fronts having to explain everything, give reason, why are you the way you are, a barrage of questions against which you were poorly armed.
You had to wear a protective armour, sort of hide under a patchwork quilt of perfection so fragile it was that an eggshell was forged metal in comparison.
Playing let’s pretend became second nature, an Indian in America like an enigma wrapped in a riddle. And the past never let go, did it, it rode your back, the incessant explaining, the intrusions painted in love and concern, cerebral but toxic care packages that made you accountable.
I would lie in bed at night and calculate idly how much energy it took to be squandered to look perfect on the outside and if you feel something different than sadness, any other emotion then you are inherently flawed so that fear of being stained by your peers more than marked prevents you from reaching out. You seek the shelter of introverted silence, it’s easier.
After all, if there something needs address it means there is a flaw and it is in you. And we cannot have that, can we?
I saw this frantic stuffing away of real feelings all around me confusing and so very dismaying. A little bit lonely, a little bit sad, but no sounding board to share these thoughts as two cultures snapped like lobsters at the corners of your mind.
If you try to help somebody who has depression or who needs a little soupcon of understanding, a shoulder, a little tender, loving care then there is something wrong with that person. It has to be. How dare you be anything less than perfect. And I then dare to ask if the basic tenet of every value is to be good to the next person, then why do we err and hurt others because it makes us feel better about ourselves.
Echo answers why.
I used to see it, that scheudenfreud enjoying the pain of others relishing it like mustard and mayo.
So the charade goes on, passed from generation to another, like a river in spate, unabated. The hypocrisy, the pantomime of life played out in paler colours, the muted cry for help stifled lest it be seen as evidence of a fracture of the senses, not wanting to help open the buttons of your mind because their fingers are far too clumsy.
On campus you see them, sunny smiles and sunnier dispositions, their wounds skin deep but wrapped in a gauze of self-doubt and low self esteem because they ‘re young and they are lonely and that is a tightening combination.
Tomorrow is another day. Maybe the psychologist will listen. Aren’t they paid to listen?