A discussion on the guilt of losing one’s culture, a lovely response to my question “What’s new with you, Mumbai?” from a close friend and my recent trip to India have caused me to reflect today. A reflection that concluded on what I consider to be a strong paradox; The Innocence of a Mature soul.
Let’s break it down a bit.
Recently, a friend expressed guilt in loving a lifestyle too much; A lifestyle much different from the one they grew up in. Guilt because they felt they were losing their culture. The movie spanglish, quotes a mother asking her daughter, "Is what you want for yourself to become someone very different than me?". Is it really wrong to lose attributes of one's culture and accept others instead. Should active proponents of traditional India be allowed to stop you from celebrating valentine's? Are you sad when you see yourself speaking a different language more often than your mother tongue? I questioned myself, Should I be guilty too? Am I losing my Indian culture? What makes me Indian?
Now, here are a few snippets of Mumbai from my friend’s response. She says Mumbai has a place for both dwellers of paradise and dwellers of hell. Only that, they each receive just the opposite. Every possible cuisine served in restaurants filled with people wearing every possible fashion statement gives, dare I say, a very westernized feeling of diversity. And yet, traditions thrive, elders are respected and temples filled day and night. We dare speak back to our elders. We keep our religious fasts and maintain our faith in superstitions. Only in Mumbai, would one go to a forced family gathering by day and still be able to go party the night out on one’s free will. Extending a similar comparison to metro cities and other smaller cities developing all over India, I questioned myself again; what does it mean to be Indian? What is Indian culture?
A few days back, I uploaded an album from my trip to India on facebook. I titled it, India Unplugged. I did so, as I felt the pictures shared provided me with raw emotions that held the intensity to shake my world up. Mumbai, friends and most importantly family – the pictures summed up my entire emotional being. The selfless expression of love and the sharing of feelings I felt there, I am sorry to say is not achievable in any western use of the phrase, “I love you” and is unrivaled by any spontaneous intimate gestures. Mumbai, today, has achieved a unique standing in the world, where you are close enough to contribute to a developing nation and yet distant enough to live a developed lifestyle. Mumbai offers you an educated developed lifestyle that makes people live a logic driven self interest life without actually letting you disconnect from a culture that puts people first; People for whom you live an emotional, illogical journey thus completely balancing your life.
MUMBAI is where a mature soul re-cultivates its innocence.
To answer the aforementioned questions,
What is culture? – Indian, American or from any part of the world, YOUR culture is merely what you attribute as your stepping stones. Be proud to have this heritage from the entire world without a shred of guilt of being selective in your adaptations of the one you were born in.
Who am I? – A global citizen of mother Earth, loving every instance of what this beautiful world has to offer, accepting every attribute that applies to me and refining my soul.
As always, I highly appreciate your time in giving my thoughts your time and consideration. Comments, rebuttals, feedback very welcome.