The Elite Gone

I was often teased in my school for mispronouncing an English word or making an inappropriate sentence. In the society that I lived, going out of India and speaking polished English were considered important virtues. Although we had Hindi and Sanskrit as languages, they weren’t just as important, everyone would speak crude Hindi and make fun of Sanskrit and it was, ok. Also in our society the children, who moved out of India, actually were the ones, who were considered successful. I might sound a bit cliched but yes that was the perception carried by most. My upbringing taught me certain behaviours, which became patterns in my personality, until the awareness rose. I would enlist some of those behaviours/ feelings;

  • Making sure I talk in good English most of the time (To a point where It almost became difficult for me to have conversations in Hindi without using English words)
  • A feeling of Separation from people who did not talk in good English. So not engaging with them deeply.
  • A feeling of Shame in adopting my cultural or traditional practices. Trying to look and behave in a manner inclined more towards the west.
  • Feeling shrunk in a board room full of suited men and women. Behaviorally there would be a change in accent or I would mirror the people around, I would end up losing myself. I was always looking for acceptance.
  •  Being internally angry with my family members for not being elite and classy.
  • Not being able to eat food at corporate parties, and pick only finger food, as I didn’t know what to do with the fork and the knife and where to place it. It was something I tried learning but couldn’t.
  • The last and the least was, my reaction to successful people. If I was in company of people perceived to be successful, I would feel like i was some outcaste. I would either not interact with them, saying things like “It doesn’t really matter” or if I did interact with them, there would be a Power tussle and rebellion. This would result in bitter interactions, with all such people. It was almost like I was rejecting them, before they could reject me.

In some places and situations my behaviours served me, and brought me to a place, which I considered to be success. But it was mostly on the outside, inside, I was still battling with the native within me. Within me lived a nature child, who didn’t care, about the fork and the knife. It wanted to touch the food feel its texture and relish every morsel with an sensuality unknown to the elite. This child wanted to dip its fingers in the warm colors and paint the house bright, it wanted to fold legs and sit in a corporate board room, wanted to hug a cuddly suited man and stay far from the guy who smelled of tobacco. For this child there was no classification, no language. It was, as it was. I met this child up close and personal, as I grew in my journey towards awareness of who I am. Initially I would be skeptical about letting the child out, its spontaneity was new to me, but I soon realised the deep connection that, this being allowed me with myself. It was unconditioned by several years of colonisation and capitalism. This intuitive, spontaneous being was full of compassion and deep connections, it showed its tears, wounds and joy easily, it was light. As I made friends with this child, I started accepting myself internally and external validation significantly reduced its importance. The elite capitalist and hoarder in me still rises at times and tries to suppress the native nature child, but now I am more aware and listen to its voice keenly at all times. It holds me with compassion and loves me unconditionally, It allows me to love and express myself in ways that were unknown to me. My native being allows me to come home and feel safe, belonged and whole.

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