Sitting in a flat which has two well stocked refrigerators, an oven, a toaster, an induction cooker, a temperature controlling heater, wooden floors, a phone to use as one wishes, a bed with ultra-comfortable mattress, and a hoard of other appliances and elements which would generally be considered a luxury to a high percentage of people (read: students) from back home, if I still rant to you about my life and its issues, fuck me, but you have all the right to call me a privileged crybaby and ignore this textual episode of weeping.
I would have.
You see, the problem with people like me is that we sit on our laptops and puke out our feelings all the while being highly observant and conscious of the journey and consequence of these thoughts words rants and we think that it makes us self-aware which is supposed to be a great thing-ask Maslow- but what we forget while being these philosophical douches is that philosophy rarely heals a soul; it creates it, it confuses it, it tricks it, it educates it, but no- it doesn’t heal us. Healing happens at heart, at the home.
So yes, I’m going to be a philosophical douche and go ahead and rant to you about how luxury and self-awareness and your god damn ideals don’t fucking matter to me because they just don’t heal me. Not right now, no.
I’m your Cioran, guys.
I am going to cry and make a fuss wherever you put me and I’m going to be a pessimist at heart despite all the ‘free hugs’and ‘economical bus passes for students’ you give me. I’m going to eat a 7 Pound worth lunch on three consequent noons and then call myself poor on a Skype call with my friends only because this country makes me feel poor. I’m your type A sad youth.
The thing is, I cannot help but enjoy this first world life. It is so comforting and convenient. I don’t have to ask a hundred ‘excuse me’ uncles walking around about the public transport; the buses almost ply on time every time. I don’t have to keep pulling down my skirt if the weather is too breezy and I don’t have to sit with my legs closed on the steps. It’s so freeing, I am scared it’s addictive. People here don’t drive their cycles on the footpath, knocking off a couple of unwanted kids, and people here don’t cross roads like adrenaline junkies off resources. They’re civil. They’re polite. I feel generally good here, just like I am when I drink.
But that is exactly the problem you see; once I am back into my room, the hangover begins. The freedom rots in the face of reality. I remember the girls in salwars back home to whom an ankle-lenght dress is a symbol of feminism, and I cringe. I remember the 14 years old girls at their homes who have to sit with crossed legs and hands on thighs everytime they have guests over, and something in me hurts.
The people here are civil, not helpful. The people here are polite, not nice.
They don’t come running to my aid, unlike those back home, when my grocery bag spills out and I sit on the road picking up my adulthood. They smile at me when I buy from their cafes and bookstores but they don’t smile at me when I am sitting alone on the bus back home at 1:00am. They are as first world as the soy milk they drink: they are alternative and helpful, but not necessarily the feel-good kind.
To be honest, they don’t make me feel good at all, actually. I am scared of being mugged late at night because unlike back home, my guards aren’t up all the time. And if I were to actually pull on my armor 24*7, I’m not sure where the boundaries between Indian and UK would separate. See? I am again cribbing about something that can easily be fixed; ‘Just deal with it, Prerana’ you would say. BUT NO. I cannot just deal with this feeling of alienation and freedom alike because the confusion is slow poisoning my head into a nationalist, and science forbid the nationalism takes another course. (I do remember the Kohinoor and caste-system guys)
I’m sorry for being least excited about this country that you hold highest for its humour, fashion sense and men, but homesickness is on the verge of patriotism right now and I am not known for my cultural sensitivity anyway; I think their humor is just a by-product of the elite snobbishness they are born with, their fashion sense a disgrace to socialism and creativity, and the hotness of their men only a consequence of the accent.
I know my cultural asshole-ry isn’t something I should be bragging about, but when 2 people (on an average) everyday walk up to you and say ‘how come you speak English? Aren’t you an Indian?!’, I have no choice but to remind them of colonialism and the term called ‘cultural hegemony’; and my disgust at their stupidity simply knows no bounds.
It’s like the comfort of the first world has blinded them to the poetry, the art and the reality of chaos and flaws, and every act is measured against it consequences. There is not one broken fence or littered corner here; not a single moment of absolute disorganization; they are in complete unison in their complacency and utter disregard to mistakes.
This comfort has ruined them to such an extent that they actually enjoy their weekends sipping beer and playing frisbee in the public park, oh gosh.
They are Beyonce’s favorite people: they are flawless.
They do not know what greed is, only the greedy politics of westernizing the world.
They seem happy.
And I am an Indian born-brought up 21 year old artsy female to whom happiness is only a relative term to console myself with when my depression hits shit low and the shrink tells me to look forward to something. And now that shrinks here are easily accessible, I think I am going to set aside the societal pressure of being intelligent enough and go watch Humpty Sharma ki Dulhania to make myself feel happy.
Thanks for bearing with me guys. (Just being polite yes)