Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Being a Hindi-speaking South Indian!

I was stripped stark naked,
By keepers of heritage,
That’s what they claimed to be.
Smelled my skin
for a whiff of my religion,
Dissected my body
to look into my caste.
‘Where do you belong from?’ They probed. 
‘Where do I belong?’ They made me wonder.
Am I fair enough 
not to be an outcast?
Or am I too dark
to be on their side?
The borders that they traced
with human blood.
Am I not human enough
to blur those bloodlines?

Idli-sambar, lungi, madrasi, similarly-sounding languages and dark complexion - these are some of the things that cross people's mind when they think of the word 'South India'. But the things that prominently draw a wedge between South and North India are dark complexion and Hindi language. It is a very common perception that South Indians dislike Hindi and North Indians love Hindi, while in reality people from every state love their own language - if you're from Tamil Nadu you'll love Tamil, if you're from Gujarat you'll love Gujarati, if you're from Andhra Pradesh, you'll love Andhra-slang Telugu and if you're from Telangana you'll love Telangana-slang Telugu.

But in my case, I'm from Telangana and my mother tongue is Hindi, which is not uncommon in Hyderabad. However, when a larger picture was painted where people from other states and regions barged in I began to realize what identity crisis feels like. Sadly further, being a Hindi-speaking South India is more or less a taboo. And this is for a very simple but dented logic - If you're Hindi speaking person, you're a North Indian and if you're a South Indian, Hindi can't be your language.

I would've complied with that logic still if not for my skin colour. I have a dark complexion, which 'discredits' me from being a North Indian because incidentally all the North Indians are fair and all the South Indians are dark. (Yes, that's a very racist perception, but then who're more racist than we Indians, right?)

I didn't have this problem until I finished schooling. But when I started college and eventually working, one question I frequently faced was: How come your mother tongue is Hindi if Hyderabad is your native? It should be Telugu, no? Things got tricky when AP was bifurcated because Telugu-speaking people started choosing between AP and Telangana. I handled it gently as I chose to say 'I'm a Hyderabadi first', which was true though.

My identity crisis worsened when I started working in a place where there were people from different states proudly flaunting the consistency of their language and nativity - or maybe I imagined them flaunting it. Some tried to find 'my roots' by dissecting my surname. It was similar to that of Maharashtrians and people declared that I may be a Marathi. I'm not sure if my ancestors ever been to that state and the one time I've been to Mumbai I'm pretty certain I didn't have any 'deja vu' sort-of feeling, which they usually show in movies.

But then, I took it upon myself to find 'my roots' and I zeroed in on Ayodhya as many people from my community claimed that we are the descendants of some Surya Vamshi clan. I successfully found a link from a word in a Telugu song from the movie 'Sri Ramadasu' and rejoiced. But, do I have to play that song everytime someone questions 'my roots'?

I found my peace after I decided that I don't have to entertain anyone who wonders about my roots just because I'm a specimen that disturbs their stereotype of South India or of Hindi-speaking people. And also, I'm not the only one. There's a Marathi-speaking South Indian, a Punjabi-speaking South Indian just like there are Telugu-speaking North Indians and Malayali-speaking North Indians.

So, let's tweak the decades-long slogan of 'India is a diverse nation with various languages', by adding 'people speaking these varied tongues are spread across the country, but this is one nation'.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Life Isn’t Fair, But Then What Is?

Life isn't fair and it is never going to be fair, you're going to face adversities more than anyone else. You'll suffer heartbreaks more than anyone else. But it's only more when you compare your life with others. Else it's just the struggle enough to smooth your rough edges, get your crooked back straight. The more the artist works on a diamond, the more it comes out shining, these adversities are the artists. But if you break down, you’ll be put aside in a pile of dirt.

Don’t expect anyone to bring rainbow to your life. Only you can make yourself happy, no one else has the strength to do so. If you feel that the love of your life makes you happy, it's only because you gave him/her that privilege! You have capability to control who will make you happy and who'll hurt you. But are you willing to take up this responsibility?
You always have a choice. You don't like a person, ignore him, you don't like a place leave. If you don't like your life, change the way you live! To do that, you'll have to empty that mind of yours filled with over thinking, fear, insecurity and anguish. Let it out, open up that clenched fist and feel the cool breeze. Fill your heart with love, and compassion. How can you see sunshine when you're eyes are still clouded with tears?

Don't go around finding the people who love you, you're worth loving, let them stumble upon and discover you. Don't yearn for their admiration, you're not painting to look at and be praised. You're waves that only few notice and those who do enjoy your serene rhythm!

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Write your story before you lose yourself in crowd!

I chose. I chose not to spend my life sitting hours on stretch infront of a laptop, typing on someone else's orders, look at the clock for breaks, define myself through my bosses’ appraisal. I chose to let go of my ego, desire to be on top, promotions, hikes and that sham respect. 

I chose to break free, to kill the routine, to not wait for a weekend. I chose my life to be a vacation. I chose to pack my bag, dust off my bike, and start off to unknown place, exploring the world. I chose to see for myself everything that I heard, to feel for myself everything I read, to live myself everything I was told. I chose to sleep under the open skies beneath the stars, and wake up to the sun rays hugging me warm.

I chose to write for myself, without any fear of deadlines, pressure of competition, criticism of ignorant. I chose to sit facing the sea, on the sand, listening to the mighty waves, making me feel worthless, and in that I chose to define my worth. I chose to stand on the peak of a mountain and face wild wind pushing me away, making me feel fragile. I chose to stand there looking at the chain of mountains making me feel so puny. In the vastness of sea and highness of mountains, I chose to see my pending exploration. I chose peace in my adventure. 

I chose not to bog down by jabs of life, harshness of lies, pain of loss. I chose the courage to slip through the abyss of unknown only to find the true self of me. I chose to write my verse in the peaceful chasm of messy life. 

Choose to write to your story, contribute your verse, for you not know what you'll regret tomorrow.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Life at 25 in a nutshell!!

Dear 25 year old myself,

You must feel you’ve come a long way, experienced probably enough to pass through your coming years, and have courage to face any adversity come what may.

But let me tell you the truth that’s buried deep down in your heart.

You lack the courage to give up your current well-paying job for an opportunity that takes you closer to your dream; you would’ve done that at the start of your career, but now, you’re just too scared. You think about the salary, company reputation. Funny, how you never thought about these things when you were fresh out of college - you only thought of taking the step that would take you closer to your ambition, which was never money.

You had dreams, and will and courage to take up the chances. Now you have dreams, but no courage to take up chances - you think with your mind. Your heart is veiled with insecurities and fear of destroying what you’ve built. If what you built needs protection, it isn’t worthy of being feared for.

It's not the late night chats that keep you awake, rather a question chasing you, a question which is ambiguous, yet demands an answer. Sometimes you know the question but you seek luxury of ignorance.

You glimpse at that pretty girl riding next you, but then your mind suddenly thinks about the fuel in your bike - when did I get the tanker filled? How many days passed since then?  How many more days for next refuel? How much money do I have left in the bank account? Will I survive with the balance money? I should postpone the bike servicing. Thank god I don't have a girlfriend! You heave sigh.

You now know love at first sight and all those great love stories are just fiction. And after all those relationships and breakups, now you know there's no such thing as soul mate, love just grows over time,and you just grow to love that person.

Now you long for little talk with your mother over incessant chatting marathons. You precisely understand every word that she says, which you never paid attention to, or didn't understand even when you did. You respect them more realizing how they went through their life and their struggles, while always keeping a smile ready for you.

You are mature now, atleast that's what the society says. Oh, yes, what society thinks of you matters now. You want to work in a reputed company for a heavy salary, ride an expensive bike only to impress the society.

But, this isn’t what I dreamed for you. This is exactly the opposite. You’re not meant to be caged, even if it’s your abstract thoughts - break free. Chase your dreams, and cherish your journey. Take that bike ride you’ve been postponing. Find yourself, gather the courage to take up that challenge and do what you always wanted to, after all, like Robin Williams said, ‘You’re given one little spark of madness, you mustn’t lose it.’

Why do you want to settle down when life itself never stops, but moves on?

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Stand up for something - good or bad

Stand up for something - good or bad
Make your voice heard - loud and clear
Speak out - let the world know you have the power of words.
Make them heard. Make them hear you,
raise the tone if they don't, intensify the power of your words -
challenge them to avoid you, and fail them.

They'll mock you, criticize you.
Don't let that bog you down.
None said it's going to be easy.
It wasn't worth doing if it was easy.
Pull up your courage, fasten your thoughts, let the world know you have a voice.
Stand up for something - good or bad
Make your voice heard - loud and clear

You'll falter, you'll break and you'll go down in dust.
But, never accept the defeat.
You are never finished until you say you are.
Don't let them decide when you are done. You stay up, you stay strong.
Stand up for something - good or bad
Make your voice heard - loud and clear

Let them say things about you, because that's all they can do.
You rise above from them and make your own ground.
You give in your soul and heart, and everything you can.
Make it happen and rise above.
Stand up for something - good or bad
Make your voice heard - loud and clear
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