Archive | 12:03 pm

Minority Report

28 Sep

The folks who love me tell me I matter. And yet, because of who I am, I know I don’t. Having lived my life as multiple forms of a minority group (mainly religious, cultural, geographic, socio-economic and political), I am aware that mine is the smallest voice, not less powerful as much as less relevant.

My views on public celebrations are mere squeaks amid the roar of the disco-dancing revelers. My thoughts on enforced religious practice matter squat because I am one of only 69,000 in the world. A Parsi is not a votebank, only a good-hearted crank, easily missed by even a microscope.

Culturally, I’m the oddball who knows her Brahms but not Bally Sagoo, who learned about “muthias” only yesterday but grew up slurping porridge, and who believes marriage before 30 is detrimental to sanity. At the NCPA one evening, the Symphony Orchestra of India played Liszt, to the nodding-swaying enjoyment of the audience. When this mostly European group of musicians swiftly changed to Dhoom Macha Le as a surprise, they were met with blank faces and silence. I knew I was among the 3 ½ people who even recognized it.

Geographically, I am surrounded by friends and family who think Bandra is the end of the world, while the rest of the city jostles and rushes by without a thought to daily commuting. Even among my own, I am the minority for trekking to Powai while they remain south of Worli and fear for my health and sanity.

Socio-economically, I’m a teeny-tiny sliver of people who aren’t a business community, aren’t nouveau riche, aren’t aristocracy, aren’t old money, but have impeccable accents and know how to work the silverware at the Sea Lounge. The middle class spread is like a middle-aged man’s girth, but as upper middle, I’m somewhere near the lower abdomen.

Politically, I’m mid-left on social issues and middle-path on economic ones, while my milieu resembles the Indian version of Republican senators. That I continue to hope and vote and believe in grassroots work isolates me further.

Amid a billion and then some people in this nation, my life choices, my beliefs and the strength I feel them with have no significance in the scheme of things, because I am a lone number amid majority hordes and the statistics always win.

There will be resentment toward my “snobby life”, all the “what do you know” questions hurled at me, and this is not about garnering sympathy. It is about the life I live, as real as anybody else’s, but not counted or taken seriously because it is a rarer existence. It rankles, sure, but I’ve lived with it long enough to know it’s here to stay. (And yes, people have worse afflictions.)

So I write. In the hope that I can escape leave my labels at the door, divorce my history, blur my “identity” and be just me. But if you were to ask whether I’d be willing to trade any of this—and I know you will—my answer is: Not on your life.