Saturday, January 17, 2015

Diminishing Returns

The Battle to Belong

लेखकाच्या साऊथ आफ्रिकेत वाढलेल्या आईवर जेंव्हा कायमचं इंग्लंडमध्ये राहायची पाळी आली तेंव्हा त्याचा तिच्यावर काय परिणाम झाला त्याचं हृदयस्पर्शी वर्णन वरील लेखात आहे.

"Although the word was never uttered we were immigrants. Our priority was assimilation into Englishness.... As immigrants our gaze was to be forward-looking...But the shock of upheaval can prove too much for some people. The project of starting anew collapses; its foundations are too weak".

परदेशात स्थायिक झाल्यानंतर पहिल्या, दुसऱ्या, तिसऱ्या पिढीत काय मानसिक आणि शरीरिक बदल होतील ह्या विषयी मला फार कुतुहूल वाटतं. बदल होणार हे तर नक्की. सगळेच बदल चांगले असतील?

"The study of epigenetics is a relatively new one that seeks to explore how something in the external environment can affect the internal environment, and before you know a gene is functioning in a different way. Evidence is growing of such trauma induced changes".

सर्वसाधारणपणे असं गृहीत धरलं जातं कि परदेशी स्थलांतर केल्यावर आपण आधी जिथे होतो त्याच्या पेक्षा काही पायऱ्या वर चढतो किंवा वर चढण्याची संधी आपल्याला मिळते. काही बाबतीत आणि सुरवातीची काही वर्ष ते खरंही असेल. सुरवातीची काही वर्ष नव-नविन अनुभवांनी आयुष्य सर्वतोपरीनं समृध्द होत असेल. पण स्थलांतर जरी पूर्णपणे स्वेच्छेने, खुशीत केलेलं असलं तरी जशी वर्ष जातात तसं मला वाटतं, law of diminishing returns लागू होत असावा.

"The strain of burying the past, losing one identity and embracing another, can be overwhelming. Home is an indelible place. It is the landscape of unfiltered experiences, of things felt rather than thought through, of the world in its beauty absorbed before it is understood, of patterns and sounds that lodge themselves in the psyche and call out across the years. When home is left behind, or shattered, an immense struggle often ensues to fill the void".

Jhumpa Lahiri, the Pulitzer prize winning author, who was born in London and raised in the US, said this about "belonging" in one of her interviews about a year ago:

"Language, identity, place, home are all of a piece - just different elements of belonging and not-belonging. The essential dilemma of my life is between my deep desire to belong and my suspicion of belonging.  (My parents ) leave India, they feel ambivalent for the rest of their lives about the choices they have made, they are always looking over their  shoulders. Those are the people who raised me."

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