I have been back in India for three months now and, on many occasions, I began to write my blog #lemonjuicetoourcolonialhangover but then could not bring myself to proceed. Anyone who knows me knows that if given a platform to express myself, I do not run out of content. So, I wondered at my unwillingness to write.
The more I think about it, I realise that it is because of the filters I want to ensure I keep on. Because, well, India is my country. Moving back to India was not because of circumstances but was a completely thought through choice. I intuitively knew that this would be the right thing for me to do.
Has it been challenging? One could say both, yes and no. But when I write about it, I feel like I should write and I should operate out of gratitude, not out of victimisation. I should be positive, not focus on the negatives. But is that a bad thing? Is that true patriotism?
Moving back to India was not because of circumstances but was a completely thought through choice. I intuitively knew that this would be the right thing for me to do.
We do feel this way at times, about our situation, about people, about choices we made. Trying to be positive, trying to be grateful, trying and in the process 'should'ing' all over ourselves. I often do. But the fact is, it should not be such an effort. (The irony of that 'should' just hit me!)
Love is effortless. Sustaining that love can be 'effort-ful'. And, that applies to my country too. Nidhi Chaitanya once said, "Even if they seem rational, most people, in reality, are just emotional beings, who have never known what true love is." Until then I had thought that everyone around me was rational. But when I put them through the lens of that statement, I realise how much truth there is in it. We are never taught what love is. And because of that, life becomes a playing field of trial and error, and a mimicry of what one reads and observes in people, relationships and movies, without ever making a real effort to inquire into what love is?
Bring this back to how to love my country — unless I really think it through, I guess I won't agree that my country is not perfect, that it is flawed. But admitting to it feels deceitful to my country and also puts the responsibility on me to fix it. I don't have the courage to take on such a mammoth task, nor do I want to be labelled as unpatriotic. But the intelligent mind still looks, observes, and judges and then tries to move ahead.
We are never taught what love is. And because of that, life becomes a playing field of trial and error, and a mimicry of what one reads and observes in people, relationships and movies.
Now here is what I do next: Why do I love my country? There is only one right answer — for the sake of loving. I don't live in denial that it isn't flawed, I don't agree that it is my responsibility to fix all of it, and I certainly don't agree to turn a Nelson's eye to intelligent observations made. But operating out of victimisation is not an option, ever.
India is a beautifully rich country with unbelievable history and wealth. But that is not why I love it. I love it for the sake of loving it. I find an identification with an entity beyond myself and I want to turn that into an opportunity to expand my sense of 'I'. I am not limited to the boundaries of this body, mind and intellect. What is that identification then? Just the fact that my lineage is rooted in this land.
And the master is that altar of love — be it my family, my country, my vision for my country, my principles, my ideals, my God. The bigger the altar, the better.
Once expressed, all its flaws remain as mere observations and the responsibility of fixing it is not just mine. I am not limited to just being me by the definition of the name, shape and form I feel I own. I am only an instrument of change, light, and love — 'instrument' being the key word here. So, no matter what I do, think, or feel — I am being an instrument, howsoever big or small. So, the responsibility does not rest on my shoulders because the instrument is never responsible for the action, the master of the instrument is. And the master is that altar of love — be it my family, my country, my vision for my country, my principles, my ideals, my God. The bigger the altar, the better. So, when I operate out of this empowered surrender to that altar, it becomes a joy to live or die for it. Every smallest action becomes a contributor towards that vision and avenues open up to find an expression of that oneness, of that love.
So I watch and observe, but I love my country — not in spite of, not because of, but for the love of loving. Can we do that? I am ready and all set to do this thought exercise. Are you?