2009 was a big year for me. I went off the proverbial radar for a while to take stock of my life, had a good think about where I wanted to be, what I wanted to do and most importantly exploring the person that I am at this point in my life. I had some damning lows but it was the highs that made 2009 truly my year to shine. Without digressing too much from the point of this post, I’m just grateful for the growth, insight and well-being that has come of my experiences thus far.
In February last year, I wrote about a movie that inspired me to connect with my Indian-ness and it coerced me to consider visiting India to explore and connect with my ancestral heritage. I’m glad that I did because my first trip to India was my almost a right of passage in some respects. I discovered my link to India as the motherland and feel more enriched now that I have come to understand and accept my Indian heritage. it’s funny that whilst growing up in South Africa for the past 26 years, I have always never fully understood why I was categorised as being ‘Indian’. t always felt like a stereotypically offensive classification that I could never accept or belong to because I personally could never identify with the ‘India’ that was so dear to the generations that came before me.
Don’t get me wrong, I celebrate the fact that my parents and their parents’ parents all could relate and identify with what they taught me was to be my distinguished Indian-ness, but never one to take anything lying down – I always questioned why we had to wear certain clothes or speak differently or eat really spicy food all the time…
To cut a long story short. Whilst in India, I was able to piece together why I at times have felt a certain uncomfortableness with my religion and cultural beliefs, and I, in turn also managed to come back home with a great deal of understanding for the rich culture and part of the world from which my ancestry hails.
I identified and relished in the fact that I got to experience a rich and fulfilling side of my Indian heritage as I had never before been able to, and I’m glad to say that it was a wonderful and moving experience. I am deeply grateful for my forefathers for deciding to take up residence in South Africa Leaving the only home you had to start a new life somewhere completely alien to one’s experience must not have been an easy decision to make, and I appreciate the sacrifices they made almost 150 years ago. If it was not for my forefathers whom I assume came to Natal, South Africa as indentured labourers, I would not be afforded the opportunities and freedoms of which I partake and am privy to in this day and age.
So for me, India was the best encounter I could have had as it not only opened doors for me to parts of my history that I thought was lost to me forever, but it also set me off on a new journey of self-discovery too. And this new start is one that I’m lucky and honoured enough to be sharing with my life partner and soul mate; one which all started very majestically in a village called Anjuna in Goa, India 🙂