22 April, 2021

Same Difference

An Indian of American origin wages several battles to acquire his cherished citizenship

Narendra Bisht
Same Difference

A passport is just a piece of paper, isn’t it? Nations are modern constructs, aren’t they? So what if I’m an American who’s taken Indian citizenship, right? Indians all over the planet possess passports of varying hues, don’t they? Same difference.

So much for rationale. The emotional being I am tells me otherwise. The day I became an Indian citizen was a moving one. Why? Simply because from the moment I landed here way back in 1979, I have never wanted to leave.

Flashback: Grew up in whiter-than-white Midwestern America. Largish family approximating the American dream, somewhat tainted by a streak of Irish melancholy. Played piano, always. Confused youth. Ran away to California. Saw Bharatanatyam in Golden Gate Park. Flipped. Left for India, to general dismay.

Landed: Vague, notionless. Fell ill umpteen times. (Hadn’t bothered with vaccines or US embassy travel pamphlets!). Learned Bharatanatyam. Encountered Tamil, started studying. Heard Carnatic music, started singing. Discovered...

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