Boston was my port of entry into the US. After spending the first twenty-four years of my life in India – the US was the first foreign country I landed in. I spent about seven-nine months in Boston before moving to Phoenix. And I remember the feeling of never settling in – I never found my groove in Boston or Phoenix. And given that I was a misfit even in India – South Indian living in North India and a rebel who never quite wanted to fit in – I knew what it meant not to belong. But the feeling of not belonging was different in America.
And then my next port of entry was London, UK. Not that London was love at first sight – the bureaucracy is integrated into the very fibre of the UK – having to figure out the trains, luggage, no lifts. But, there was something about London which felt like home. Like, in some ways, I arrived.
Now, when I return to India – my body, mind and soul feel at home more as a memory of where I came from. It is easy to feel comfortable at home, but I am also becoming aware that India that I grew up in is no longer the India I am visiting. I am in so much of a bubble that I very rarely get to interact with honest India. And maybe some of me prefer it that way – keep my version of India alive.
When my parents were visiting us in the US – we had some Indian friends come over for dinner who were of the same generation as my parents. And the conversation between them was a different era for me but very comfortable for them. For each of them, it was revisiting their peak memory.
Recently, we attended a friend’s wedding where the DJ was excellent – he played songs that would resonate with the audience. So, most of the songs were the ones that I grew up listening to, and other guests were also in the same generation – so there was a general connection without much talking. We all had a similar memory associated with the song that was playing – which led to an exciting conversation about what drinks (like Rasna) we had on all our birthdays.
Tying it all together is my last blog about Gen Z – the point here is we all have a group of people with whom we share an implicit understanding. Where shared experience matters more than the words, you are speaking. And there is a genuine connection of some sort with your tribe. The tribe can be the generation of people you grew up with or the interracial couples like yourself or global nomads – who do not belong anywhere.
With each of these connections, a part of you manages to relax and express itself. We need to be able to live genuinely, at least for some part of our lives. For most of our lives, we just manage to scrape through it – hoping to live genuinely at some point. But these tribes and connections give us these windows where we can truly be ourselves, which helps us get through the rest of our lives.
How often are you truly connecting with yourself?