Thursday, November 06, 2008

America!



It's here in New Delhi, of all places, that for the first time in my adult life, I am proud to be an American.  So much has gone wrong in these past eight years and, though its hard to say, its probably why I write this from abroad, in a state of self imposed exile.  But now I feel different.  I want to go back to what feels like, my people.  Being of Indian descent and growing up in New York City has always left me feeling cold to America, the mainland as I like to call it, with its weird and strange ways.  The beer pong, the football, the strip malls and driving.  I was done with it.  I never wanted to see it again.  

I tried to come to terms with it, back in 2000, when I worked on a presidential campaign, public interest and grassroots campaigns that took me throughout 40 states.  Many long nights riding in my car, listening to Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska, eating beef jerky, drinking black coffee and chewing bubble gum, looking for America.  Through the purple mountain mesa tops in Utah, the star filled mountain nights in Colorado, the Ozarks, Oklahoma City, Birmingham, Louisville, I realized how beautiful being American can be.  But I still felt out of place.  Though people came from all over to join us and fight against the numerous injustices in our society, I still felt a distant sense of alienation.  As if I was on Mars.  

But today, in New Delhi, an elderly gentleman, got out his guitar during our victory party and sang "The times they are changin" and then "we shall over come" and I saw all those who had been there in the 50s and 60s, who lived through assassination after assassination, and riots and maddness, see the day they never dreamed was possible and in India!  Who knows what they were doing here, perhaps they were beatniks, or hippies, or in this day and age, software developers or social entrepreneurs.  But we were all together, in India, with everyone, singing and knowing a new day had arrived for the country we all loved at one time, in some way.  And now we're back, and it's a healthy and humble patriotism, one that acknowledges the tremendous responsibility and humility that comes with power.  For I agree with Obama, we are not great for our arms and wealth alone, it is our ideals, of democracy, and liberty and opportunity that truly make us shine and will make us shine on for years to come.  

We shall re-invent, we shall always change, we will always right our wrongs eventually, because we constantly surge towards a more perfect union.  There are miles to go before we sleep, but being awake has never felt better and never more sweeter.  I look forward to dealing with the likely perils of the future with courage and dignity.  Thank you Obama.  Thank you for taking the  tougher road instead of the easy, comfortable path of privilege and showing us what we can be in this great country of ours, America.  

I have decided from this day on, I will no longer be a hyphenated American.  In no disrespect to my motherland, or ancestry, but today I have become whole, I go from Indian-American to just American.  Not from the republic of New York, or New Yorker, today I embrace all of me through this great nation of ours, as imperfect and treacherous as it can be, I know it will consistently strive to perfect itself, if not in my lifetime, in the generations to come, we will get there, I know.  This is Gabo Arora, American, sending you his love from the motherland.        

1 comment:

Shivindra Pratap said...

Way to go bro!! I appreciate your optimism and look forward to the future with some hope.