On Wednesday, I was on the local train traveling to one of the glitzy suburbs of Mumbai – Juhu. This was an interesting train ride because of the couple of incidents that occurred. First, I witnessed a hawker and her young child get on the train. The hawker was selling the usual: hair clips, hair bands, earrings, and nail polish, among other little trinkets. I saw her direct her daughter to sit by the entrance of the train and give her a small yellow plastic bag. The girl opened the bag and dug her hand into it, revealing lumps of rice and curry that she ate with great relief. I watched the little one eating like she had never eaten before, while her mother tried to sell her wares, while also keeping an eye on her duckling. I could see the love and concern on the mother’s face, probably wishing that she could give her daughter more to eat. The child then got up, picked up some coloring books (that were for sale) and started selling them. She must have been all of 4 years.
As I approached my station, I moved toward the door of the train. I gave the girl an orange that I bought at the station I boarded. She did not respond (facially), though she did accept the orange. Her mother did not respond either, although she did not stop me from giving her child the sweet fruit. They must have either been shocked that someone was thoughtful enough to share their food with them or they may have been unphased, thinking that all I was giving them was a measly orange. I am not sure.
I then stood by the entrance of the train, watching all the houses and streets go by. I looked up in the sky and saw an airplane taking off. That sight immediately struck me in a way that I had never experienced before. I almost choked thinking that about 5.5 months ago, my cat, husband and myself got on a plane and moved from one continent to another; that one plane ride changed our very lives, how we exist, and our perceptions of things. I had flashbacks of our time in the USA, of the wrapping up process, and of how we spent the last 10 years of our lives building ourselves, both personally and professionally. As the train sped by, so did my life. And all I could do was watch it go by and things, people, and experiences occurring just the way they are supposed to.
A few days before this incident, I read the signature of someone’s email which was the quote from Star Trek. Although I never followed Star Trek, I was astonished and moved by this quote from the leader of the Borgs, “Resistance is futile.” And indeed, it is. The leader goes on to say that one has to be “assimilated” and he further enforces that “Resistance is futile.” I am sharing with you this short video which is great because it aptly depicts what I am trying to say:
I am trying my best to not resist what is being thrown my way. Sometimes, I feel like I live in two worlds, like I am in limbo, not being fully anchored in just one world. My love and loyalty for the West coupled with my admiration and curiosity of the East, make me feel like I belong no where. Transitioning between cultures is seldom easy, especially when you feel like a foreigner in your own home; a stranger in your own backyard. But come what may, I am moving forward with this attitude of releasing the clutches of control, and trying as humanly possible, to go with the flow. Let’s see where that takes me.