Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Rediscovery & Remaking

I just finished reading India Calling by Anand Giridharadas, an Indian native who as a youth moves to America with his parents and later decides to relocate back to his homeland, I suppose, to rediscover his roots. He writes about India's transformation in its social castes & the relationships in-between and its values towards success in life, towards family & marriage. It depicts each new definition through various characters he recalls through his family lineage such as his parents and their parents as well as those he encounters who each represent the old and the new India and the tensions therein.

You can read a review as well as an excerpt of this book here by NPR--it also includes an interview with the author as he talks about changes he witnessed.

And now I'm thinking about my own place in my country: a dwelling place where social ties and fond memories reside, a marketplace of making a living and pursuing aspirations, and a place of belonging where my loyalty is demanded.

One can lament some things, yet one can also be grateful--for those same things and also for others. Perhaps the crux of our identity lies in how we choose to make a place: Do you choose to belong and to contribute to shaping it? And if you do nothing, you either shape the status quo or you allow others to shape it along with you in it.

Questions that are being asked today: Where do we want to head and at what cost? Who should bear responsibility for each aspect of the systems we're building? Should we allow age-old institutions to adapt to modern lifestyles?

As a friend recently responded to my suggestion for him to join the national conversation even while he's abroad, how can I who am currently out of the system voice out for a matter which the local actors have the say and probably already had theirs?

In short: First, choose to be a stakeholder. Then, choose how you want to remake your place.

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