Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Innocence of a Mature Soul

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.

Mohit Khadaria


  1. Hey MO,now u sound less MO and more HIT.I liked ur hitting lines.your delebratins were about matured soul.true but bit confusing.and no guilt please,that'sworst burden on any soul.don't think so much. Just chill n enjoy LIfe. Will write u more.

  2. Mohini made me anonimous.kishan

  3. I like this topic a lot....it actually makes me wonder how this is exactly what is happening today....I really liked that you think this way about Mumbai.
    "The Innocence of a Mature Soul"-I love the title..

  4. good post...very well written as well as articulated. I will definitely respond once I go back and realize the extent to which I have changed my cultural preferences

  5. Thank you everyone...

    @dad... no burden, just fun :)

    @mohini... only from the outside does one get a true perspective... cherish what you have, you are truly lucky :)

    @rohan... Always nice to impress another fellow blogger... We should discuss the extent of our changes and the plans to take them with us back to India :)

  6. Really a beautiful post Mo. I also love the title.

    I don't pretend to know what it's like to be from a completely different culture. But I have gone through similar feelings of leaving behind parts of my religious upbringing that were very important to the family. Important parts of my childhood growth but didn't really fit the person that I was becoming. To address the spanglish quote, I realize it's hard for some to understand choices their children make. Maybe it causes them to question their own choices. I enjoy the exposure of other cultures and adopt whatever cultural tradition resonates with me. I guess when you have three different cultures in you to start, it's hard to feel a sense of loyalty to any one of them. I watched a show on the potential of living on Mars. As tests, they were using ancient building techniques to create shelters. When asked why they weren't building with hi-tech architecture, they replied, "We are taking all the best of what the past has to offer and applying it to the present." That stuck with me. That's what I like to do. I take pieces from everywhere, all the best ones, and apply them to my life. It doesn't matter where they are from. Sometimes I have to make new choices and leave some behind. Building your life is a personal journey. It is not meant to be a reflection on anyone's previous choices. It is often tough to overcome guilt but sometimes that's part of the growth too.

  7. "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" - I think the moment a family gathering becomes a "forced" family gathering - we loose our culture.

  8. Aah. Firstly, thank you for your comment and the time you have taken in reading my post. I apologize that my words did not convey the context properly.

    By forced I merely meant family gatherings that one personally did not choose to hold nor identifies self with the members attending as family. It maybe a loss in culture where family (blood relation) always comes first but at the same time can be gain of understanding what it takes to maintain family ties with anyone chosen to be our closest family.

  9. Dear Mohit,very thoughtfully and well written. About Mumbai, I think it allows us to be traditional yet contemporary. About our culture(Indian), it is the beliefs and values we have imbibed from our family and be able to accept,respect and in many ways adopt to the other cultures.Mohit, I appreciate your article so much.