Khush Amdeed (Welcome)

Welcome to Chowraha - crossroads!

Chowraha is the crossroads of thoughts, events, opinions and feelings...all that have been shaped by individuals living in an increasingly complex world inter-connected through various means of communications.

This blog is about the crossroads in society - whether it is those of a diaspora community, global media complicating the structure of nations and cultures, or individuals finding parallels in spaces unknown to them.

Note:
The above picture is courtesy a much-admired photographer (Ali Khurshid) whose work is a source of inspiration and reaffirms the belief in the complex beauty of this world.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Who am I? - - - The Search for My Identity - - -

I wake up every morning to the realization that I am a captive in mind, and body. Every single day I struggle to unleash myself of the shackles that bound me, only to realize that the chains are stronger than I might think. I end up making compromises so that at night I can dote in the assurance that I do have an identity of my own, only to give way to the next day which reminds me that yesterday I had just settled the confrontation my mind and soul were in, and that I have not solved the problem yet.

I march in peace protests singing slogans against hatred, but am still unable to look at my own countrymen with an equal eye. I voice the truth that we are all the same people, from the same roots, the same beginnings and that we are all sailing towards the same end; yet I do only but worry about my security when I read about the butchery based on sectarianism, ethnic differences, ideological differences, and misconceptions. I walk the streets of my city, with that swing in my steps that echoes back at me saying, “Yes, I am among the privileged, I don’t think there is anything wrong with the world.”

I listen to Bob Marley, and I tell people that my favorite genre is reggae. Yet I hardly understand what he means when he says ‘if you know your history then you will know where you are coming from.’ Perhaps I listen to the music thinking it is the cool thing to do but hardly understand what the right thing to do is. I close my eyes to my history, for I hear all around me “well this is not the 14th century, it’s time to move on!” Only had I known that I was still repeating the mistakes of my past, would I really understand the importance of my history. Only had I comprehended, that my identity crisis could be solved if I were to delve into my history and reach my roots. But I was uncivilized in my past. Why would I want to be that? I was barbaric and uneducated. I was in the darkest holes of darkness until I was saved by my saviors. And my savior has told me to move on, to not look back, and to walk with the rest of the world; so that is exactly what I am meant to do.

And then again, what is there to look at history for to begin with? It is, after all, full of invaders, and colonialists; those who wanted to leave me inept of my imagination, carnage my mind, steal my soul. Any way, they are gone now. So let me deal with what I have today. Let me try to rebuild myself. But what do we have today? Am I not still invaded? My body still mutilated? My mind still leashed? My soul and heart still divided? Am I still not living in the fear of “colonialists” so that I cannot even speak my mind, practice my ideology, live my own way, and the minute I attempt to do so, am I not still made to suffer? My home is bombed, my children killed, and when not so, then I am only living to be an agent of the “civilized” ? there to lead my folks towards the “light” I have been shown. I call myself the democratic leader, the educated of the lot, the enlightened of the group, the one committed to bringing success to my people; yet I fail to understand that I am not who I was meant to be anymore. I speak the colonizer’s tongue more fluently than my own, eat the imperialist’s burger, wash my face with a foreign soap, rinse my hair with a foreign shampoo, dress myself in foreign brands, and yet what I get in return is the treatment of an “other.” I am merely lost, leashed, confused, unidentified with absolutely no direction.

But no! I keep telling myself I ame not to lose hope like this. If I do not have a direction, I will be among those who give who will struggle to find a direction, to clear the path for others to follow. I will study and come back to where I know people need me, and I will devote my life to the truth and its promotion. And that’s when I am shattered once again. I think about me, myself and I, and I say what is there for me now in that land that calls me. I will earn some money, some “recognition” (remember by those who can recognize me) and come and work from the “top.” I forget whose money it is that I will be living on. It is the money that is being used to captivate my mind and capture my soul. And yet if I am bold enough to come back to my home, I am tempted towards the pool of money with the same source as before, and yet again I forget where my soul was leading me in the days of my idealism, when my heart was larger and the blood it pumped even purer.
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