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Being an NRI

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Non-Resident Indian are the Indians who have left India, but still claim allegiance to a country they have never lived in. Every Indian that exists outside India has the feelings of being an NRI. Being an NRI is also a conflict of interest, it is an internal battle and it is a struggle for identity. It is like having one foot in India and the other in the foreign country you live and grew up in. It is a feeling like a bridge that tethers above the deep waters, using tradition and borrowing memories from an unknown land to keep that bridge from falling.

Being an NRI is having other Indian friends who have stories of being called ‘foreign’ or ‘firangi’. It is like you being observed like a specimen in a museum, as if you’re a strange abomination of a human for choosing to dry your wet, washed hands after a meal. It is about encouraging words, when you can sing along to all the prayers. It is about being expected to turn up with gifts for all the relatives you have never met. It is about meeting relatives who say, ”Do you remember me? You were so tiny, when I last saw you! Look how big you’ve become!”

Being an NRI is about fierce, undeterred love. It’s about being smitten by a wonderful country that your parents left for unexplained reasons. It is about the desperate want to return to a land that you have seen more through the eyes of your parents than your own. It is about questions that breed more questions, it is about unexpected and bittersweet answers. It is about being deeply conflicted about whom to support, when India plays against the country you grew up in.

It is about feeling proud when you identify with a country so diverse that dialects of a language change in every 10 kilometres. It is about shedding tears when India wins the cricket World Cup or a medal in the Olympics. It is about landing in India and knowing that it’s one more place in the world you call home too.

Being an NRI is a nostalgia for the NRI, who visits his / her motherland once in a bluemoon. It is the rich heritage and the culture that makes the NRI to visit his / her motherland often. Being an NRI is a proud moment to have human values in life which no other country can boast. Being an NRI is just like the connection of the child to the mother through the umbilical chord.

Proud of being an NRI

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