Immigrant, I

3 Aug

I am an immigrant. I’ve lost my way of life so many times over, there is no one pattern for me anymore. With no fixed path, or state of being, I swim in cultures as fluid as quicksilver, flow downstream with grace and ease. I switch, transform and blend into the bushes. The color of varied greens seeps into my skin, the odd greyness of new skies reflects in my wide open irises, and I soak, I suck, I imbibe. Not for me are known ways of being, familiar stones of aged houses, the reflection of neighbors down the street, ones who saw me as a mere bump in a young, taut belly. I spin in tongues, accents tumble off my shoulders. Seascapes and strange fish, I look at anew. Fresh pictures I put up of untrammeled spaces, as intimate as the montage I’ve left far behind.

I am an immigrant. I’ve known (far too) many homes. Countries, borders, hedges, airline terminals, they all nod in tandem to greet me. Acceptance, rejection, bewilderment and belonging melt into the dense, sticky core of energy that is my life. And you, settled soul who has never be-housed new shores, can only wonder at these alternative ways of grab-a-day living, where roots are replaced by peregrinating feet. There are losses, yes, and gains a-plenty. But both slip through my fingers even as I speak and my next new patch of earth awaits me.

I am an immigrant. Respectfully anointed. I may come home to old crannies, but I’ll never be wholly back. And my eyes, they’ll always be gazing into the distance. And I bear my cross willingly.

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9 Responses to “Immigrant, I”

  1. Sue August 3, 2009 at 3:51 pm #

    When I went to Madras two weekends ago, I stepped off the aeroplane and just breathed for a few moments. It wasn’t Calcutta and that was good enough for me.

    I don’t think I can stay in one place all my life at a stretch any more. Travelling’s gone into my blood.

  2. richajn August 3, 2009 at 4:36 pm #

    me fellow immigrant. always on the move. no roots to call my own. but i love the wind. the freedom it brings.

    maybe that’s what makes me find my way so effortlessly at strange airport terminals I’ve never been to before. haha.

  3. shilpadesh August 3, 2009 at 7:11 pm #

    Ahh well said. I am an immigrant who is losing a little bit of her old way of life everyday.

  4. sukanya August 3, 2009 at 7:24 pm #

    wow OJ..i felt as if i was reading about myself..
    as always…a great piece.

  5. dipali August 3, 2009 at 11:24 pm #

    As for all of us immigrants, a line to share:

    Jahaan par savera ho, basera wahin hai.

  6. Broom August 4, 2009 at 1:54 am #

    Lovely, OJ.

    It IS hard to be an immigrant and there are times when I look at people who’ve lived in one place all their lives and have all their childhood friends and family near them and feel a fleeting envy. But I wouldn’t trade the life of an immigrant for any other life.

  7. Orange Jammies August 5, 2009 at 9:38 am #

    Sue: I know just what you mean about the itch for someplace, anyplace else.

    richajn: Valid point about airline terminals. 🙂

    shilpadesh: And gaining so much else, I hope? 🙂

    sukanya: Oh we’re all the same in some way or another, really. 😉

    dipali: So true!

    Broom: I’ve been lucky enough to have both, but fail to fathom how some people can be so happy being frogs in their microscopic wells. I see it all around me and marvel at their ability to stay put.

  8. Sunshine August 5, 2009 at 12:01 pm #

    lovely peice and so aptly put! 🙂

  9. Orange Jammies August 7, 2009 at 3:31 pm #

    Sunshine: Thanks, Sunshine!

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