Independence Day

For the most part of my life I have been away from my country. Born in 1993 in scenic Thrissur, Kerala, I was taken to Dubai at the age of two to be part of large and subsequently atomic family. Most of the important events in my life, my first day of school, my first pair of shiny shoes, the birth of my dear sibling, etc. all happened in Dubai. For all intents and purposes, for all its perceivable faults, Dubai is home for me. It’s hard to explain then why I never really felt like I belonged to that city, or the city to me. I’ve never, for a single second, felt like anything other than an Indian. I’ve never felt like I’ve belonged to any other country. This blog post today is probably my way of making sense of that.

India is a nation like no other. In many ways we should not work. With more than a billion people, speaking more than a hundred languages, practicing numerous religions and differing socio-economic backgrounds to boot, there’s no conceivable way in which we should work. Don’t get me wrong, there are moments in time when we don’t work, the Gujrat riots is a pretty good example. For the most part however, the nation does seem to function without any hindrances. What forged our national identity then? For the Germans you can imagine it was probably that they all spoke German, as it probably is for most other nations.

I think what forged our national identity is a common enemy. The enemy that came into our land hundreds of years ago and systematically oppressed us for their own gain. The United States, I believe, forged an identity based on the same plight with the same oppressor. There are fundamental differences to the means in which we fought and achieved freedom from the common oppressor, however. How we achieved it fundamentally changed the destinies of our nations as well.

I’ve heard commentators in the US call their culture an inherently violent one because of the nature in which they achieved their independence. Does that mean India is an inherently non-violent one? I have always thought our inability to react strongly in the foreign sphere was largely due to the fact that we espoused ideals of non-violence and peaceful protests creating this country, so taking a militaristic stand would be hypocritical. This is not to say we haven’t fought wars, of course we have and with mixed results. We have to admit though that foreign policy wise India has been something of a pushover, it recently even backed down from taking a hard line against Israel for its treatment of Palestine and no one batted an eye. I digress.

My theory on how we forged our national identity, and I think many would agree, is the fight for Independence. Independence, in creating a nation, also created something for us to cherish – the Indian. The importance of this day lies in the fact that we’re not only celebrating the British leaving, but also the birth of the culmination of effort that went into creating this shared idea of being Indian. Oppression doesn’t just take the physical form, it is largely in fact mental. Fellow Indians, if you do anything today, let it not just be singing the national anthem or looking on proudly as the Tricolour flies; pledge that you’ll identify with not your state or language or religion or anything that is that arbitrary. Identify instead with the idea that hundreds, thousands, even millions gave their lives to achieve. Identify with being Indian first and foremost.

Leeds!

It’s been three days since I arrived here in this beautiful city of Leeds. When I say it’s beautiful I mean it’s bloody beautiful. Its spectacular! Sure its not the loudest city, its not the busiest city but it is definitely bustling with students of all ages, shapes and sizes. It’s just lovely!

I felt a little homesick on my first day. I have to admit, I still do a bit. The people here though are so pleasant and thoroughly accommodating. Everybody on the street is helpful if you’ve gotten lost (which I did a whole bunch of times). Not just on the street, everybody everywhere is helpful. I needed help with these self-service machines they have in the super markets which I’ve never used before, help with a massive number of different coins, etc and everybody is just happy to do it.

One of my main objectives from my year in Leeds was to make friends from all over the world. I’m really making great headway into that. I’ve not gotten to know an Australian, two Brazilians, two Germans, an Indonesian, a Dutch, a Mexican, and a whole plethora of Indians. The mix of culture you can find here is just astounding and I’m learning so much already.

I hope to keep whatever readers I have posted with my adventures in Leeds and the general UK throughout my year here. Thanks for reading!

Long Time

I always find myself going back on promises to keep writing for some reason or the other. This time it was because I got pretty badly addicted to a certain TV show called Doctor Who. Come to think of it it’s almost always because I get addicted to TV shows or get lost in books. I should probably look into that.

Doctor Who is, in one word, fantastic. I can’t believe I waited so long to start watching it. It’s not just a family show that provides you with an entirely lovable central character and a more than capable on her own side kick, it’s also used as a platform to do some deeply dark shit. A lot of allegory can be seen in the show to reflect human nature and how it has influenced history. I think the most fascinating aspect of the show is how they are able to make it all so fantastically believable. The word fantastic is one I noticed I’m using a lot nowadays because of the Doctor, a harmless side effect of my binge watching. Ahh, how do you do it, BBC?

So if you ask me what show you should be watching, I’d say, Doctor Who 100%. It’s for literally everyone.

Explaining the name

When naming this brand new blog I thought of two things I love that have probably (there is a chance, I’ll admit, of it having happened) never been used in the same sentence until now. Banana chips are a true Kerala delicacy – salty, savoury and thousands of times tastier than their potato cousins. Tiramisu is an Italian coffee cake that is soft and just magical to eat. Coffee in a cake, I mean how could you possibly go wrong there?

This blog is meant to be, as the name suggests, about anything and everything I want to write about. I am not going to censor myself over the facts that some posts maybe ridiculously varied from each other because that’s the whole point! I am making the science fiction of blogs here where I am leaving so much room for my imagination, that now I’m thinking this may just blow up in my face. Or it won’t. I’m thoroughly looking forward to the ride.

Lastly I’d like to preemptively ask your forgiveness for sounding a little douchey or presumptuous sometimes. Trust me, I don’t meant to, it just sort of happens on occasion. Bear with me here.

So sayonara, person who clicked on this link. I hope I have sparked your interest. See, I didn’t even mean to sound douchey there and I did.