Recently, I have been feeling the pain of betrayal. While I grew up, my dad always praised my achievements and my progress in life but always ended by saying, “Don’t forget where you came from.” I never thought about it much back then but now, I realized that its not just a reminder that home is important but also a way of warning me that when I asked questions and opened myself up to things in life, they would change me.
Albeit, having spent some of my formative years in the UK and the United States, I spent the majority of my time in India where the community comprised people who were committed to the culture they grew up in – they had no time or patience for questions. At an early age, questioning certain aspects of religion, gender roles and the profound patriarchy that surrounded everything were only met with my mom’s intense stare which translated to, “Don’t questions such things.” Questions meant you didn’t believe and questions meant trouble and nobody wanted that. Being a quick learner as a kid, I got myself to keep my mouth shut and play along while there was a constant feeling in my head that something didn’t make sense.
When I moved away for my education to a different country, I grew and opened myself to getting answers to questions but at the same time I struggled with the feeling that I was losing something. Having thought about it a little, I realized that there’s no going back because there’s no way to unlearn what I know now. I don’t regret the path I have chosen although I know it might be a hard one. Being in a place where everyone seemed content to be part of a crowd didn’t seem to fit me. All those years of feeling like I don’t fit in now make sense. I have branched out. And, I find solace in knowing that a wildflower which grows unintentionally can survive anywhere and maybe I can too.
(Feature Photo of me at an art exhibition)