I wrote this as a guest writer, on my good friend Renee’s blog.
I am an Expat, and a global nomad. The best part of being a traveler I believe, is that, not only do I get to meet interesting people from all over the world, but through them learn about different cultures, perspectives and attitudes.
I was born in Patna, the capital of Bihar, in India. I grew up speaking four languages, Bangla, my mother tongue, Hindi and Bhojpuri as they flew around me, and English at school. Learning Bangla from the comic strips in the Bengali newspapers, sitting on my grandfather’s lap, with his arthritic finger, as a guide to my blind-folded self, I learnt about words and the way they help me explore different spaces. Sitting on the window seats, like Jane Eyre, behind the yellow brocade curtains, in my grandparents’ living room, with books all around me, enveloping me in their fragrance, it seems to me now, time lay trapped…
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I did not intend my first post here, to be about being different. But we are, different. As expats, we have no land to call our own, no country except the ones we move to, that we adapt our nature for and attitudes with. Our children too, are branded as ‘Third culture Kids’.
Every time I turn around, new laws and systems with impending divisory ideologies seep into our lives as invisible minefields, waiting to tip us into further oblivion. The newest system doing the rounds here, is the Brown Card.
History is proof of the times that when people are branded and labelled as ‘different’, someone takes it into account to benefit from that difference. In the moral scheme of things, the world over, someone, somewhere benefits from differences. Other than the fact that as humans we all have the requisite physical attributes and therefore should be considered identical, there are many non-physical attributes that keep us apart.
When we speak different languages, translation services, DVD companies, music composers among many others, benefit. When we look different, in the colour of our skins and features, nations create border controls to keep ‘immigrants’ out. Our educations, our professions and the choices we make keep us apart as well.
As humans, we seem to have made the idea of being ‘different’ pay for itself many times over. But when as expats, we are made to fill up forms so that we can be branded as ‘Aliens’, I begin to wonder. What next?
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