Confucius say: ‘Man who leave motherland but leave heart behind, might as well not have left at all’.
Ok I made that up, Confucius didn't say any of that. But I am pretty sure he would have if he had seen the older generations of NRIs. They were the loyal sort. The sort who still dreamed of open blue Indian skies (and the occasional accompanying bird shit) and of pastures green and steaming hot food on thalis. They craved for the ultimate Indian experience and not just to fill up their albums with 'Exotic India Vacation Pics'.
That was a few generations ago, when Rajnikanth hadn't resorted to wigs yet, when he was still playing the hero...Oh wait, he's still doing that. So ya, when Rajnikanth hadn't resorted to wigs yet. Let’s leave it at that :)
The older NRIs resorted to great lengths to ensure that Indian-ness thrived in their homes, however far they were from their motherland. Indian festivals were celebrated, Indian dishes were cooked, the mother tongue was spoken and stern glances delivered on any slack towards things 'foren' and hence 'not good'.
But nowadays, a lot of NRI parents are on a systematic raid to eradicate any last sign of Indian-ness in them and their descendants down to the last melanin cell if that was actually possible. 'Passing on your heritage' is a thing of the past and something to be shuddered upon.
Enter wise man Confucius again who has pondered greatly upon this predicament and composed three insightful maxims which pretty much sum up the situation.
Confucius say: ‘Woman who is ashamed of her heritage, has nothing to be proud of in herself’.
The woman in question is NRI-through-marriage Mrs.Patel. She wears her mangalsutra on a thin gold chain and still touches her in-laws feet back home. She is seen shopping at the local Indian shop buying ‘sabji’. Along with her tags her teenage son wearing that perpetually bored expression that teenagers manage to master. She is muttering to herself wondering which ‘aloos’ to pick telling her son she will cook ‘Pot-tay-toes’ (inserts nasal tone in an attempt to sound American) for dinner. But Mrs. Patel gives a frosty-nosed stare to the poor bachelor who ventures to ask her ‘Are you Indian?’ and if she could guide him on which masala to pick? MDH or Sarah’s?
She hurries off looking as disturbed as if he had initiated a discussion on the merits of red versus black lingerie.
Confucius say: ‘Child who know not his mother tongue, is better off without his mother’.
The family in question is Mr and Mrs. Patel and Junior Patel at an Indian function. Someone asks something in Hindi to the son, eliciting a blank expression.
When did not knowing your mother tongue become an achievement? Such blank expressions on the son’s face are rewarded by an affectionate ruffle of his gelled hair and satisfactory nods from the mother. Usually the mother will titter softly and say, “Oh! All his friends at school are non-Indians you see”.
And my question is: And his parents are……???
No one is asking you to recite the Sanskrit vedas, but knowing the usual pleasantries is the least Mr and Mrs. P could teach their child.
Confucius say: ‘Man who speak through nose, must have a really ugly mouth’.
When you start replacing your kesari bhath in the morning with oatmeal then that’s called being smart and reduces cholesterol. But when you start speaking overnight through your nose, then that can be either extreme idolism of Himesh Reshammiya or you are turning into just another wannabe with an annoying accent.
Accepting and embracing other cultures is a wonderful sign of brotherhood but shunning your roots and trying to be what you are not is a wonderful sign of stupidity. You choose. Let me end this by quoting one more from the wise man himself.
Confucius say: ‘Man who is wannabe today, will remain wannabe for many moons to come’.