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Sushmaji Is Everyone’s Behenji :)

June 11, 2017

Some of the petitions before PMO are to:

  • Revoke triple talaq received Via Whatsapp/Skype from husbands employed in Gulf
  • Secure the Hyderabadi women sold off by brokers in UAE or Saudi
  • Release workers held as bonded labour in Middle Eastern countries
  • Very recently government had to intervene and secure an Indian muslim woman who married a Pakistani man in Malaysia. The woman on landing in our neighbouring country belatedly discovered that she had tied the knots with a much married man. A mere 24 hours later she realized the difference between India and Pakistan and decided to return.

Hate to see my Prime Minister and Foreign Minister lose sleep and/or fret over the safety and security of millions of Expat Indian workers stuck in foreign soil awaiting rescue mission. The govt of India already is benevolent with us: our foreign exchange earnings are 100% tax exempt.

It may be hardly an year since I watched ‘Airlift’ starring Akshay Kumar on Kuwait rescue mission by Indian armed forces. The thought that came to my mind then was, this should never again happen to Indian Expats in whatever part of the world.


Not along ago I came across several posts in social media calling for Dravida nation. Dravida is the south Indian race, supposedly the original inhabitants of the vast and diverse Indian subcontinent. Numerous European research scholars have related from time to time as to how the Indo Aryans who arrived at a later date from Europe drove the Dravidians down south. However the DNA mapping of Indians both north and south reveals that our gene composition is one and the same, that debunks in entirety the Aryan Invasion theory put forth by the British for centuries. The Germans’ air of propriety over Sanskrit and Swastika and Hindu cultural heritage must have been with a view to discredit anything Hindu, attributing whatever intellectual property that might have been ours in ancient India to an inferior Indo-Aryan race, the poorer cousins of Aryans from Europe.  While many Indians celebrate Max Mueller, a friend of mine despises the man who she says was intent on proving the German connection to Ancient Hindu in order to stake a claim in all that is legitimately ours and ours only.

The Aryan-Dravidian divide has been played to the hilt by Christian missionaries and evangelists who are in India for their alleged ‘Joshua Project’ of conversion of entire Hindu population to christianity. Again, a friend came up with a link/proof citing the usage of the word ‘Dravida’ for the first time by Shri Adi Shankara in 7th century AD. After a long hiatus, the Dravida terminology was picked up again only in the 19th century by the Baptist church who arrived in India from Europe  to convert the native masses. Rabindranath Tagore mentioned Dravida in our national anthem constituting today’s Seemandhra/Telengana, Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu – or that part of peninsular India south of the Vindhyas. Since then the Dravida ideology became the founding cornerstone of Dravidian political parties who wanted to show themselves different from Hindi speaking North Indians. Thus were born the DMK and ADMK of Tamil Nadu.

Of late there is heard the Dravida rant in our coconut country, I mean Kerala. Especially from Kerala Syrian Christians. By the way, a handful of Syrian christians probably migrated to Kerala seeking refuge from islamists in a bygone century (around the time the Parsis fled Iran). But those who claim to be Kerala christians today are our own Indian converts over 90% to say (just like Goan christians, offsprings of Portuguese bastards, who today pretend as if they are pedigree Portugese descendants).

A general aversion for BJP and RSS and Modi has worsened to paranoia with the recent beef ban and ban on cattle slaughter in Kerala. There is also an increasingly menacing presence of RSS in the state like never before. (Regarding this I was talking to a friend. ‘Why is Amit Shah visiting only Kerala? What about Tamil Nadu?’ I asked and she said, ‘Because Amit Shah says Tamil Nadu is already taken care of, with the state under our (BJP) wings, our control (!) (Shame on you CM Edappadi Palanisamy). Whereas work in Kerala is incomplete!’)

A combination of these factors got our Kerala achchans and chettans agitated and frustrated to the extent that they thought the Dravida Nadu is the only solution to continue eating beef in God’s Own Coundry. (I mean country). Never mind they hardly culled a single local cow in Kerala. The beef came from illegally traded-transported cattle from Tamil Nadu and other neighbouring states that our Mallus took for granted. Even eggs came to Kerala from Tamil Nadu. The south eastern state also has an overwhelming NRI population who earn tax-free foreign exchange chiefly in Middle East. Kerala nursing staff are in high demand in US, UK, Canada and Australia. Flush with funds, Keralites zoom about in BMWs and Merc Benzes in the eastern Coromandel coast where anything and everything can be on your plate for a price.

A local Keralite was complaining how before demonetization, an entire load of fish basket would vanish from the market either with the Gulf money or with Black money. Those middle class keralites left remaining in the state to eke out a living working in government department and private sector never got anything substantial on their vaazhai ilai (banana leaf that serves as eating plate in the south). Come demonetization: things changed overnight. Black money disappeared from the scene and from the communists’ pockets. Fish in the market was there available for everyone to get his/her fair share at affordable rate.

However, this has not gone down well with NRI keralites and Communists in power in the state. Dravida in the state that celebrates Mahabali during Onam is not altogether out of place. Dravida started echoing in social media.

Five days back, Dravida chants quietened on their own in Middle East.

Time arrived for reality check for our Kerala christians and Kerala muslims for whom Gulf states are like second home. Berating, degrading, abusing India is like breakfast, lunch and dinner for them without which they cannot live.

What a stroke of fate to humble the arrogant. I see it no other way.

Sushmaji is now everyone’s cup of tea. Toast of the day. Our keralite achchans and chettans no more talk of Dravida ideology. Bharat army is the need of the hour. Hopefully things won’t get that bad, let’s pray.

Even the kerala christians and kerala muslims are aware, how useless their communist state government is. A Kerala christian preacher had to be rescued by Indian government not very long ago from dreaded Yemen. How our government pulled the feat is unbelievable. A christian preacher stuck in Afghanistan was similarly rescued by Sushmaji from his abductors last year.

No Dravida ideology came to help here. Hindutva guys are the ones who came rushing to our help. Two Christian preachers from two terror and war zones. Why should we even bother.

Another harsh reality is : Where is there any job at all in Kerala. If Keralites are not employed in Gulf, they are working in other parts of India or the world. There is simply no job for them in Dravida Pradesh. Work beckons from Bihar and Bengal and Madhya Pradesh rather.

Ex-pat Indians have a tough time settling down in India even under normal circumstances. My husband left home for the first time for a foreign job in 1997. It is exactly 20 years since he has been in Chennai for over a month or so at a time. The longest break was in 2006 when he resigned his job in Oman to report for work in Qatar. He husband was home in Chennai for a continuous 2 months which is a record.

In the brief time my NRI husband visits home, he is never comfortable with the city or even our own place. Used to or perhaps addicted to perfection, discipline and punctuality in everything, even driving in the city is a nightmare for him. Within 2-3 days, the initial exuberance about visiting home would vanish and a restlessness would set in. By the 10th or 15th day he would be raring to return to work!!!

I don’t blame him. NRIs find it extremely tough to adjust back to India which can test your patience and get on your nerves. Nothing is streamlined in India. Nobody even regrets a deliberate error and nobody apologizes.

(Only today my husband said when he queued up in a bank, a Kerala man next to him asked him whether he was there to send money to UAE! Says my husband, ‘don’t our guys have a sense of decency? barging into others’ privacy without a care is in our blood!’ The man in all probability never thought anything was amiss with his questioning!)

Mercifully I still cannot have enough of India with all its ups and downs. Not that I am homesick. I have gone on for 1.5 years at a time without visiting India when we lived in Malaysia. But Malaysia is a different story. The freedom of speech and independence we had there like in India made a huge difference.

So I have to necessarily touch my base in Chennai every three months to retain my sanity these days. Going to temple, attending Bharat Natyam performances and Carnatic music concerts, shopping in crowded markets… even laughing aloud in public places  … these are like the very breathing air to me. I don’t drive anymore but my autowala is at my beck and call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I am completely independent: so that’s what I love India most for.

Most NRIs however cannot fit in like me in India but stand out like a sore thumb. My husband for one.

I cannot even imagine the plight of my fellow countrymen especially Keralites with their kids born and brought up in Gulf, adjusting readily to local environs. To the noise pollution of India first over the general water and air and soil pollution !

Even from out of worst developments sometimes there could be a good and positive outcome.

The instability of the Middle East has closed the lid on the Dravida debate once for all in the Gulf Kerala expat community as I can see now. How many times our blood has boiled when we came across pro-Paki, pro-Zakir Naik posts in Facebook posted by Mallu muslims. Now all that is over.

The Middle East in an illusion that many fail to realize. I for one, saw the mirage for what it is right at the start when my husband took his first flight here. I refused to move my son from his Chennai school and stayed put in India establishing my base. I stay connected thoroughly to my base all the time. Since we lived in reality unlike many other Indian expats in Gulf, I think we are far better shock-absorbent. We also have lived through the South East Asia’s worst economic crisis in 1997. My husband was one rare expat Indian engineer who did not lose his job in the havoc wrecked in the Asian Tiger economies. We saw the exchange plummet but we held on. We incurred a heavy loss, but Malaysia experience was worth it all.

Personally I have been through far worst crises in life. I no more attach significance to superficial issues that cannot still affect you the way the well being and happiness of your family can. I refuse to let things out of the circle of my concern affect me or influence me in a negative way. Sometimes all we may need to do is, walk out of a situation. As simple as that. I am adaptable, accommodating, flexible thanks to my civil engineering husband. Even last year he was about to hand over his resignation letter. He had asked me to pack my bags and be ready to leave in 2 days’ time. Which is why we have ZERO loan commitments. I wanted to give that leverage to my husband to quit at will. We have some paltry EMIs pending in India which we can liquidate anytime. Nothing outstanding in Middle East.

There was an elderly French lady here attending Zumba with me for a few months. She was in Middle East for over 4-5 years. I was surprised to learn that the couple never bought a car and hired a private cab for their travels. They lived in apartment-hotel (which we call service apartment in Chennai). ‘I want to leave at short notice and don’t want anything to stop me for over 24 hours’ she would say. She had no fixed landline phone connection. I and my husband always thought whether we should switch over to such a wise lifestyle in future.

There is something that my husband keeps drumming into my ears always: NOT TO DEVELOP MATERIAL ATTACHMENT WITH PLACES. ‘Instead buy clothes and jewelry’ he insists. ‘Practise ATTACHMENT IN DETACHMENT.’ Today this is what helps me in staving off depression on sending my only son abroad for higher studies. As we lived in different places, I lost my material attachment to things slowly and these days I try to substitute it with clothes and jewelry which are movable. In the event of a loss, we can still pick up our pieces and move on.

The day my son left for America, I stopped decorating my home. It could be psychological. I no more spend on sofas, cutlery etc., that I used to obsess about until very recently. Even our wall mounted TV in Chennai is very old that we have not bothered to replace. I don’t long for a spacious kitchen or a big home anymore. All that no more matters. Home is where my heart is, where my son is, where my husband is. Chennai is where I home in but I can still live on any spot in the world. I can detach very easily and resume again in a totally different environment at short notice. Finally I see the truth in my husband’s words. A few months back my husband was asking me if I was game for Tanzania!

But wherever we are, one thing we do is STAY CONNECTED with Indian community and embassy/ministry. It gives one a sense of security and belonging. There are many expat Indian wives clubs that I prefer to stay away from. However, overall we stay in connection with NRI Indian community and cultural centre which are like hub for us expat Indians. The connections may help you even in India if you decide to resettle. Friendships last a lifetime.

The strength and reliability and solid support of a vast and powerful nation called India emerges to the fore in unforeseen circumstances that are beyond our control. The very fact of belonging to India, coming from India, sets you apart from those coming from small and insignificant nations. Our bargaining capacity is tremendous. We are respected and even feared at times. Way is clear for India and Indians everywhere. The reputation that is India. The voice that is India. The confidence that is India. That can redeem my fellow Indians even from Mars as Sushmaji recently joked.

The relevance of India and the banality of Dravida cannot be more explained. And my god, what a perfect timing.

I was amazed when a friend of mine mentioned that even if she would have to pull her son out of Class 10 (board exam year) (God forbid) in mid term (in future) owing to circumstances beyond our control , Sushmaji would find school admission on war footing basis for her kid in a good CBSE school in Chennai!!! (As if Sushma Swaraj is her next door neighbour who enjoys a personal rapport with the local high school principal !) Normally admissions are closed for class 9 to 12 in all Indian schools in view of preparing the roll for Board exams. Not only mid term admissions, even transfers at the start of the academic year in these classes are not generally encouraged. Rare exceptions can be made.

Developments in Middle East have opened many an Indian eye in ways previously thought of as impossible. We Indians have a HOME at least to return to. Many don’t. You take the case of Syrians, Iraqis, Libyans, Egyptians etc., among expats…. they don’t even go for annual vacations from here. There are working professionals among them who have nowhere to go with their families from the host country. Sri Lankans are returning home only in last couple of years. Pakistanis avoid going home as well.

Only Europeans, Americans, Filipinos and Indians go home for vacations year after year from Middle East. Once someone said I was lucky for this reason.

We never appreciate the value of gifts we are bestowed with unless and until there is a contingency.

Where is Dravida in front of Bharat Army? Today I feel safe and secure sitting in a hotspot only because I put my faith and trust in India, Indian government, BJP government, PM Modi and Sushmaji. Not because I trust anyone or anything else here. Still this is an unwanted headache for Indian government who may wish and pray for nothing but peace. The neutrality and cautious biding by Indian government is praiseworthy. They are handling things remarkably mature . No loose talks, no exaggerations. But staying alert nevertheless.

I hope and pray sincerely for peace. Let sanity prevail. Let patience hold. Let tolerance be cultivated. Let us all live and let us let others live.


From → Dilli Durbar

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