It took a while for me to accept my identity. Not that I am talking like a NRI who is pulled by the native roots of India on the one hand, while on the other by the new-found liberalism of the foreign country. My identity crisis can be located within India, which is a confederation of different cultures united beyond any logic, through Indian constitution! History played a major role in this confused identity under the umbrella term “India”- an idea which existed only in the administrative convenience of Britishers, and helped in a great way by that ubiquitous social immobility institutionalized by casteism. Be that may, which i will visit later, my immediate rambling is how on many occasions i had to add many qualifications just to answer the question Where are you from? If in Chennai, it was easy to say I am from Kerala, but if in Bangalore or in Delhi, the qualifications becomes a necessity more to do with my non acceptance of where I belong
Not any more, I have finally reconciled to the fact that I am a Malayalee but not a Keralite or more specifically a Chennaite whose mother tongue is Malayalam. Being a Chennai vaasi for 35 years albeit interrupted for few years in between, it is but natural to accept your identity in such a way. So that makes me practically a Tamilian in every which way, except that my marriage happened to a Malayalee, as per Keralite tradition, celebrating Malayalee festivals, apart from the Tamil festivals and the like. Otherwise, my cultural outlook and upbringing happened in a typical Tamil environment. I realised it quite recently when I could relate to songs or literature of Tamil than Malayalam. A simple act of liking a piece of art is so much conditioned by your upbringing did bring in profound realisation about myself is something that I would cherish and regret at the same time.