Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Indian Dream

This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 3; the third edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-A-Ton

I have lived outside the country for most of my childhood years. While I spent my precious little adolescent years in the big bang city of Mumbai. In what little life I have lived I have been able to do what few people of my age have done, look at India from perspective of an outsider.

My Indian dream has shifted shape and changed colours over the years as I have grown from an innocent kid to a silently rebellious adolescent and now a more mature young adult.

Here I try to trace and chronicle that overcharging dream.

An Innocent Dream:

Being away from the real India and with little knowledge that I had about it from my yearly vacations to Mumbai, History and Geography textbooks and Rudyard Kipling’s stories, everything was just a passing dream a month long respite from daily routine, no school and freedom to do whatever I wished.

It was where I loved getting pampered by my grandparents, listening to the older children narrate ghost stories sitting in the society garden, being awed by the magnitude of devotees at the temple and watching the world go by from the window of a local train.

Innocence of childhood allowed me to experience the people, places, aromas and colours around me without any inhibitions.

A Shattered Dream:

I moved to Mumbai in my early teens. That’s when I got to experience the real thing. It was no more just a vacation, it was real life.

As I grew up in the big bad city, I realised a few things I hadn’t noticed before. Time and chhutta (change) were precious commodities and nobody was generous enough to lend you either. “All Indians are my brothers and sisters” was just another line from a long forgotten pledge, in reality the state boundaries not only separated the states but also they also alienated you from the Haryanvi vendor who sold you veggies, South Indian coconut seller whose coconut water quenched your parched throat and Maharashtrian dabbawallah who brought your daily tiffin. The adolescents like me, considered to be either rote-learning machines or temperamental hooligans, were never to be taken seriously.

I was enraged and frustrated at what I saw, heard and felt. I was an outcast not belonging to any community or region or even age group. I couldn’t do anything about the wrongs nor could I find the rights.

A Reawakening:

As life moved on many events occurred, which forced me to change my perspective. The Jessica Lall murder case made me understand that the masses still understood the difference between right and wrong, justice and prejudice and did not want to remain mere bystanders. The 26/11 taught me that humanity could be found among the very people, who I thought to be indifferent, in the darkest of times. Youngsters who work for charity, spreading environmental awareness and many other issues in NGOs made me realize that we, the youth, could bring about a change and gain the respect we deserved from the society. Such and many more lessons I have learnt and am still to learn in coming years.

In a way I have awakened to the one thing that drives us all – Hope. I have hope that India will turn out better than what it was and is with the efforts of all those who have a vision for India, of their own, their own Indian dream.

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