The landings to home-land are always strange. Especially since I spend years in the Otherland debating where I belong. The images of India get exaggerated since nostalgia seems to blind me to my so called ‘bad’ experiences. And then I end up shaking my head to anything that is remotely Indian, be it the sound of the vehicles honking in Menton or some random ‘Third-world’ smell in Algeria.
So I wonder: Oh India, what are you to me? Is this India in my head filled with images of my childhood that are more restricted to Ahmedabad? Is it the smell of rain melting into hot earth, or bubbles that I would blow in Law Garden as a kid (and I still sadly do, to the envy of all) or the romances I happened to indulge in? What is it?
For me, I have realized, India is my state of mind. For me, everywhere is India, and India is everywhere. It is as if I try to see everything in relation to India. Take France for instance: France is monetarily richer (compared to India) and less colorful (well, compared to India again). It is as if I draw the graph of my life with India being the independent variable (since I don’t happen to believe in the games that Time happens to play on me). The dependent could be, well, France, Menton, or even you! I can’t exactly say I love India, nor do I hate it. It is more like a place in my head, where I can sleep like a baby and not feel guilty in painting away my days staring at nothingness.
But I still continue to stop sometimes, and wonder: Oh India, what are you to me?