Featured Article in Blogadda March 25th’s
Can you imagine? Sounds like the start of a bad joke. What would they drink for pity sake? The Englishmen would undoubtedly opt for a scotch, Chivas Regal if you please, as the Canadian scoffs and orders a Canadian Club rye whiskey and the Indian will nurse his Royal Stag. What happens when the cheque arrives? The Englishmen will feign a move to pick it up, thus causing the Canadian to grab for it first. The Indian sits with a fabricated blank look on his face, pretending he has no idea what is happening. This, in a nutshell, is my life! These are the conflicts that dwell within me . The endless struggles that tear me in three very distinct directions on a daily basis. With almost every decision, I am forced to choose between my blood, my heritage and my adopted culture. What have I done? What have I become? Good God man, I’m Canbritdian!!
As I am Canadian born to English parents and now a resident of India, I am forever facing these avenues of decision. In every facet of my life, I must choose. I can’t even go to the washroom in peace! Stand? Sit? Squat?…It’s an endless struggle. There isn’t a moment’s peace between my three very clear and opinionated personalities. Settling in on the sofa(or chesterfield or lounger), I begin to argue with myself as my internal Indian switches on the cricket match. Almost instantaneously, my Brit insists we watch football.
“Laugh, laugh” scoffs the Canadian at the Brit, “you mean soccer! It’s a pussy sport anyway you say it. Let’s watch hockey on the satellite!”
“Yes, hockey!” agrees the Indian and switches the television (or boob tube or telly) to India vs. Pakistan.
“ICE Hockey” my Canuk side shouts! There will be no resolution here. What to watch will have to be shelved while my Canadian persona mulls it over, my English conscience grapples for a suitable resolution and my inner Indian will “revert back” to me. I suppose the three of us will just have lunch.
Canadian me wants a burger, Indian me looks at Canadian me with disgust, knowing what kind of burger the Canadian me wants. Indian me insists if it’s burgers, they will be chicken. English me dismisses the burger idea completely as uncouth and “too American” then suggests cucumber sandwiches with the crusts cut off. Indian and Canadian me just stare at him in disbelief. Indian me wants to go out for Amritsari kulcha, like always, but it gives English and Canadian me the runs (or the trots or loose motion). At least we all agree on french fries (or chips or aloo fry fingers). Yes unfortunately, that is the routine just for lunch; and lunch is the easy meal. Din din (or supper or dinner) is the tough one. What time should we eat? Is it too early at 5:00? Too late at 7:00? Or almost next day breakfast at 9:30? Whatever the time, it’s no day at the beach.
But then again, even a day at the beach isn’t a day at the beach. English me yearns to be sitting in a folding chair with a book, in the shade of a tree, under an umbrella..with a towel over his legs. Captain Canuck is looking to scream “YOLO DUDES” as he fearlessly body slams into 32 foot waves sporting his floral surfer shorts. Indian me is content to sit on the shore in six inches of water,clad only in my underwear and grinning like a child because I am not drowning. Rummaging through the beach bag, Canadian I yells at English I for bringing vampire sun screen SPF 206 and Indian I asks what the hell sunscreen is. English me smirks as I take off my shoes and socks to roll my slacks up over my knees.
“The ayes have it” …Canadian I pokes English I in his.
Our motorcycle was easy, we all agreed on Royal Enfield. It sounds like a North American bike, it’s British by birth and is now the pride of Indian motorcycle manufacturing. But getting us in a car is an entirely different matter. Canadian wants a Jeep, but Englishman complains there is no boot; Canadian looks at his feet and Indian whispers “trunk”. The Brit wants an Audi or Mercedes; the Indian moans it’s too costly (or dear or expensive) and is happy in a Tata (okay bye bye). Out of sheer exasperation, we own a Honda. Now, who will drive? Here the Indian and the Brit hold the advantage; at the very least, they don’t keep drifting into oncoming traffic thinking they should be on that side of the road. Picture this, a small Honda approaches a stop sign wishing to make a right hand turn.
English me at the wheel. Sitting erect, hands at 11:00 and 2:00, indicator clearly blinking to signal a turn. A short time will pass as the stream of traffic is endless. Eventually, “Proper Brit” becomes “Pompous Brit” and nudges his way into the stream of traffic at the slightest inkling of an opening.
Indian me at the wheel. Rolling stop (if any stop at all), no sign of an indicator, one hand on the wheel (with thumb on horn), one hand whatsapp-ing, no opening, no hesitation, flies into traffic.
Canadian me at the wheel. Skeletal remains in driver’s seat turning to dust as a result of starvation while waiting for someone to let me in; windshield wipers (in lieu of indicators)finally dying as car battery exhausts. Bony right hand still suspend over left shoulder looking for seatbelt. In closing please allow me to add, bonnet, hood, wing mirror, side view, glove box, overpass, turnpike, flyover, squeeze right and filter left.
Yes…it can be frustrating, but in all honesty, it’s the voices in my head that keep my life spicy. I live with and love these choices every day. After all, they define me, make up my very being and as Eleanor Roosevelt so aptly pointed out,
“We shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.”