Friday, October 26, 2007

My identity is me

Right from my childhood, i have been frequently been irritated by a few questions of a similar kind asked by others, that is -'From where do you belong in India?? What's your caste?? Being a Mishra, how come your parents are Bengali?? If your parents are Bengali,obviously you are one too?? You don't speak like a Bengali, neither can you be called a Bihari??'and the biggest one-"MISHRA,doesnt seem to be a bengali title?"
Too many questions...and too limited patience for me to answer them.Let me tell you this that these have been asked by almost everybody-my teachers,friends,etc. I just give them a smile, and tell them that even I am not too sure myself to satisfy their doubts.(cant just bluntly tell them to mind their own business)
Right from my childhood, I have never been a very social person, although I like being with my friends always. Never having mixed with the world too much, I never asked certain questions to my parents ,answers to which even Indian kids know. Foremost question-'Who am I?' Sounds like some stupid spiderman stuff but in our country, this question assumes a lot of significance. Answer to this question describes your identity.i.e. your caste,your ancestral background,and by what you will call yourself-a Bihari,Marathi,Bengali...Because,to be frank, nobody calls themselves as an Indian, unless and until they have watched a patriotic movie that day.You are ,what you describe yourself as, and you are instantly assigned to a community in the mind of the opposite person.
Coming back on track,i would say that my parents were of the kind who believed that their children need not attach much importance to their caste,ancestors and such stupid stuff. They just believed that I should be mindful of my own business and do it. All this was dissatisfying at the time when i was constantly badgered with such questions.
My parents can be called as Bengali as anybody else as they were born and brought up there. But the absurdity of my situation threw me in a tight spot. For my relatives and close ones,I was a Bengali , but being born and brought up in Bokaro steel City,Jharkhand, i had the usual local Hindi accent,and didn't have that strange characteristic Bengali accent . Thus, my Bengali also suffered.Thus, till date i try valiantly to hide my Bengali parental roots from any outsider in case i am dubbed as the same. Being born and brought up in Jharkhand,I have the characteristic of the usual guy you will find there. That place is in my blood. I am fiercely in love with that place..its calmness,its poetic landscape...the fresh scent of earth after the rains there is the best aroma that i know and long to breathe always....
In short,please dont call me a parents are Bengali....Personally, i have a distinctive dislike towards maccher-jhol-bhaat and rasogullas. Don't ask me my caste:I don't consider myself as a Brahmin-i love chicken and I am an agnostic. The only attachment that i have with the bengali community is that language with which i interact with the most important persons in my life.I am a Jharkhandi, a Steel City guy, and am proud to be one.

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