The other day my elder one got asked by her tennis coach, "Where are you from?". There was a 5-second pause from her end, and she answered, " I was born in Dubai, I live in Singapore now and for my summer breaks I go to my grandparents in India." There was no clear 'one' answer from her end.
In another incident, one of her dear friends from school was asked the same question. Though her passport is Australian, she prides on being Indian. It's common to see kids today with 'dual identities'. Born somewhere, spending their lives elsewhere...
When I was a kid, I spent most of my childhood moving places every 2-3 years (because of my dad's nature of work) within India. For a long time (and sometimes even now), I never had a clear cut answer when asked of my origin. Having spent half my life in Delhi (India's capital) and the other half in Bangalore (India's 'pub' capital- can never get myself to say Bengaluru), my answer was always a bit hazy. Though rightfully, I don't belong to either of these places!
So that leaves me thinking- how do you decide where you belong to? Is it the place my family originates from or is it where I spent most of my life or is it where I have spent most of my married life? Strangely for me, my parents have never lived where I originate from, so it's even more confusing.
For me home was where my parents lived! It changed every two years when I was growing up. It tossed between cities like Chennai, Hyderabad, Coimbatore and finally now Bangalore (where they settled after retirement)...
Because of my 'North Indian' (if I may say so) influences, I probably celebrate Diwali and Rakhi more than Onam and Vishu. I speak more fluent Hindi than Malayalam (though I am ever thankful to my days in Dubai for helping me brush up my Malayalam skills).
So I often wonder, what's it going to be like for my kids? Will the Hindi get substituted by Chinese? Thankfully our affection towards Bollywood helps in keeping the 'Hindi' alive in the house. Malayalam- well we try and then we give up! But every time there is an argument in the house (between the dad and the girls), you can hear the girls screaming, "I am half Malayali". My younger one told my husband one day, "Its really sad you don't have a 'Menon' in your name. It just sounds cooler!"
Ironically today is Onam (a major festival for Keralites, the state I belong to in India). We wished each other 'Happy Onam' this morning and the husband treated me to an awesome Lebanese 'Onam' lunch.. Who says I am confused??