Dublin Diaries-8

Looking beyond…

We will be completing three years in this lovely country, in November, and this country continues to keep me intrigued, revealing interesting new learnings every day.

This nation has endured immense hardships, undergone suffering and is now wanting to match strides with the other developed nations like America and its nearest neighbour, England. I find this admirable when I compare the mindset of this countrymen to the people in my country; and my tug of war with ‘Desh-bhakti’ commences. I never got the feeling of being an immigrant in this country. Unlike other immigrants my husband does not believe in living ‘amongst their own kind’. Conclusively, I live in a predominantly Irish locale, a very touristy part of the city. Yet, I don’t feel quaint or unwelcome or feel the prying distrustful eyes on me (like almost all immigrants feel globally). America has rebounded from the first Afro- American President rule, to building walls on the Mexican Border and making the immigration rules inordinately stringent. The developed world in a way is closing its doors on the rest of world, salvage its depleting resources, and revive their culture (especially the British). Don’t know much about the Americans, except that, I feel they cried ‘freedom’ too long and too loud. The meaning of freedom has been taken to extremes and appears like ‘individual anarchy’ today (to me). Every state, member of the house is demanding freedom, from what and who, they are confused, clueless and thus inconclusive.

Immigrants world over are now made to feel unwelcome; uncomfortable and apprehensive to say the least.  We watch over our shoulder, and wait for the bomb to drop. We don’t know when we may be asked to leave, when our papers might be rejected, when our continuance may not come through, it is all uncertain today. The world has not just shrunk in size, the inhabitants are forced to mark and guard their territory ferociously.  Yet, taking the citizenship of a developed country continues to lure the people of developing nations. Nothing seems to deter us, we still vie for foreign postings and a chance to make the first flight out of our own, abysmally failing country is more than welcome.  Thus, I find it doubly endearing that Ireland has not only kept its doors open to the immigrants, the Irish make them feel at home.

The Irish Times: “Last Sunday, on the morning of his 36th birthday, Leo Varadkar posed on the steps of the RTÉ Radio Centre, a bottle of water in hand, deep, tired circles under his eyes and a smile on his face. The deed was done. “I am a gay man . . . Looking back now, I always knew, but I didn’t know in my own mind really until maybe a year or two ago. I’m not sure why that is or was, but that’s just the way it is.”

The above – mentioned person is an Irish – Indian, the new leader of Ireland. The father is from Mumbai and mother is an Irish lady. Leo is their only son; they have 3 daughters, born and brought up in Dublin, Ireland. He first came to the limelight because of his honesty declared his personal preferences.  Ireland is still a very conservative, catholic dominated country; accepting a gay person is a huge step, moreover accepting a gay half Indian -half Irish person to be nominated for the most prominent leadership post in the country is a big change.  In times when the rest of world seems to be pulling the curtains over immigrants and trying to reclaim their lost indigenous status, Ireland willing to accept a gay, half Indian – Half Irish person to lead their country comes as a pleasant surprise, and reveals a very magnanimous side of this nation, which truly wants to see beyond religion, race, colour, a one world, unified brethren.

Despite being forced to acknowledge and intensely dislike the many faults my country has, I always have been a hardcore Indian. Travel the world, but the final resting place is home, and home is India.

That was the mindset with which I have lived all these years. So, coming to Ireland was also temporary for me, I always intended to go back home. We have lived two and half years here, and we can now apply for a long term stay permit, if we want to. And the truth I acknowledge to myself is, ‘I am open to the idea. I can spend the rest of my life in this country’. This is one of the few countries in the world which has made me feel like I can belong here, giving meaning to the phrase, ’home is where the heart is’. To be honest, my own country is plagued by interstate war. This country has won my heart, it does have its wars, of religion (catholic and protestants is a big issue here), women empowerment, problems of the youth are also on the rise. Yet, it is bold enough to face them head on, pick a young leader, a leader who dares to defy, does not fit the accepted nomenclature. But, they stand as one, for the country as a whole and not indulge in inter-county wars, bicker amongst themselves. They are trying to create a new blend of tradition and values which can be understood and imbibed by the present generation. Whereas in my own country, interstate wars are commonplace today, the prosperity of one state waves a green flag in the neighbouring state!

Ireland and India have more in common than I cared to acknowledge. I feel sad that we (our countrymen) have moved a step backward and are trying to break up our own country. No outsider wants to come home, we are ready to leave home, and to top it all what is left of our nation, we are very well disintegrating it. On the other hand, this country has moved forward, overcome its own limitations, fears and inhibitions and continues to retain its simplicity, see beyond the physical boundaries and make everyone feel one, belonged. A thing or more to learn form this thriving country.