'Identity Crisis'- Roshni Raheja's views on 'India and Independence' - ATKT.in

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‘Identity Crisis’- Roshni Raheja’s views on ‘India and Independence’

The ATKT.in Cypher is an exclusive community of some of our favourite artists and talent across categories of artforms. 

For the first theme of August, here’s the submission of Roshni Raheja from Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts Pune, a member of the ATKT.in (Writers) Cypher on the topic – ‘India and Independence- what it means to you, personally in today’s day and age’.   

 

Identity Crisis

I come from the land of dichotomies

And a dichotomy of lands

Deciding which to pledge allegiance to

Becomes increasingly like a thriller scene-

navigating through

A burning house, blindfolded,

But with sixteen different voices speaking

Into my earpiece at the same time

A terrifying cacophony of conflicting directions

Where a single misstep ends in explosion

 

I come from a tie-dyed linguistic map of survival –

My tongue twirls in the hard, crisp lines of the

Red, White and Blue, I learned to speak in,

That delicately attempts plucking the strings of

The lilting language my ancestors carried in their throats

Ancestors from a land once colourful, but now washed green

With the hostilities of a border drawn in “seven weeks

The frontiers decided, a continent, for better or for worse, divided”

My bloodline tracing the bloody line trailed across the sand

 

I come from an amalgamation

Of violent slurs, casual commands, contradictory stereotypes

Thrown in equal measure- my favourites being

“Curry-scented Bitch”

“How do you speak such good English?”

“Job-stealer’s daughter”

“You call yourself Indian? LOL.”

“Go back to Pakistan”

“Bloody brain-drain-causing NRI”

The irony lying in the fact

That not a single one of these

Begins to cover my own affiliations

 

But they often seem to forget that

I come from a line of resilience

Headstrong women

Men who innovated to survive

Each of the last three generations

Drawing their own crossings

Right across the traffic of new foreign lands

Fighting different foes each time

But battling it out all the same

Pure strength lies tucked into

The intermolecular spaces of each DNA strand

In every gene in every chromosome

In every single cell of this living breathing shell

Of this miracle of nature I call a body

 

I do not know what colour of soil I will

Return into, when I have had my fill of the world

Or if a global epidemic of historical amnesia

Will ever occur, and give millions like me

A greater chance to survive

But I do know

And I can assure you

That I will not go down

Without a fight.