i'm an alien, i'm a legal alien
i'm an englishman in new york
these are the lyrics of a song by sting. these words came back to me recently during a discussion with a friend (who was not born in india but whose fore-fathers/mothers were indians about 2-3 generations back). she mentioned that even though she feels uncomfortable with the crowds and the noise and the pollution in india, she still feels home when she is in india. she feels safest when she is in india. she doesn't feel she is an alien.
another good friend recently visited pakistan and was also in islamabad on work. his older relatives, when they knew he was going to visit islamabad, had asked him to visit certain places that they could remember of when they were still living there. now my friend was born in india and had never been to pakistan before, but he mentioned that visiting this place of his fore-fathers was an emotional moment for him.
my wife and i get asked often, especially when our friends coming visiting from abroad, why we did not choose to emigrate to some other country. when we looked at this question and analysed what we truly felt about it (beyond all the obvious answers like 'india is today the true land of opporunity' and that 'we can afford a much better lifestyle here than in any other place in the world') we realised that the one single most important reason was that we did not want to live anywhere we would feel even remotely like an 'alien'.
now i can understand people like me (and i am sure there are many of you who feel similarly) feeling so strongly about this. i think it could be explained by the fact that i was born and have been raised on concepts like patriotism, pride for our country, etc. but what i cannot understand are the feelings that my friends were talking about!
1. do you think if i spent enough time in a foreign land i would be able to overcome the 'alienness' that i believe i will feel?
2. do you think that after a few generations the individuals born in another country will slowly lose their 'indianness'? would india only be a vague notion in their minds but a place they would rather avoid visiting or moving to?
i am sure many of you who read this posting are either first/second/nth generation indians living in other countries. i would like to know your 'take' on this. and i am sure the others would also like to know. so please send in your comments.