I am a citizen of India who has never once voted. I’ve never wanted to vote because no promises were ever realised. It took me six months to get a voter’s id application processed, only to come back with a rejection because I could not prove I resided where I did.
I am not a fan of cricket. Much less after the match fixing incident of the year 2000. I was amused when India won the World Cup this year, but I was not out on the streets cheering for the country. It did not mean much to me. I did not play. This wasn’t going to change my life.
I was not born in this country. I did not spend a childhood here. My heart doesn’t swell up with emotions when people look up to the tricolour and say with faux pride ‘I am a proud Indian’. Like they had a choice. They look at me accusingly for not standing up in awe and attention while the national anthem is playing… in a mobile phone. I wonder what they did to be filled with such pride. I want to tap on their shoulders and say “Do you really think India is as proud of you? Personify India and she’d probably want to keep miles and miles between the two of you.”
I, like millions of children, grew up hoping to be a superman readying to fight injustice by ripping off clothes.
I am no racist. I hate stereotypes. Sometimes when I catch myself treading on those grounds I remember those times I seethed with anger for having been categorised for hailing from a place of coconut trees and banana chips. This country is filled to the brim with polymorphism. I am going to sit on this pedestal a few feet higher from where the others are and proclaim that racism is for the uneducated (no references made to that what they do in schools).
I do not hate the Pakistanis. I’ve heard touching stories of lives of many. I’ve had classmates who were nice people from Pakistan. An Indian who cycled all the way from Bangalore to Lahore once told me they were just like any other human. They had dreams, they had intelligence and they were sensitive to others’ religions. To top it all, they were oppressed by the leaders of their country as we are. Of course, in varying intensities. If I didn’t know better, I’d have called them my siblings. Except they are Pakistanis. Just because a certain people-constituted body from this piece of land dictates that they are not one of us. Just because they chose not to be a part of this constitution and subsequently put a border where they wanted us out. Do you see how we grew up on games as such?
I pay heed to this country’s distorted laws because my ancestors were custodians of this land. They never bought it, somehow they managed to claim it. Then they fought with their lives to keep it. Now I pay the price for it. If I don’t consider myself a citizen of this country no other country would adopt me for free. So I prefer to stay put. Hell, I could pay taxes and no one would ever kick me out. This is the fine trap I lately found myself in.