A month is quite a long time to get feel of a country . Especially when one is roaming around in pubs , attending new year at opera theater in Sydney and relishing Sydney festival at Hyde park . Not to mention the countless walks on the
street and activities alike .
Australia is a country which surely makes you feel fresh or may be its the commonwealth connection that , being an Indian makes me comfortable . And thats something which really contrast with the year long flood of news of attack on indians in Australia i am used to hear about .
Hearing all that on shore is quite a diff experience . It wasn’t yesterday when an indian was burnt alive in Melbourne that this issue struck my mind . Neither was it the countless precautions that my dear ones gave me before leaving for Australia . In fact being in pune , at the heart of sena movement and being a Marathi , i happen to see the other side of this threat .
It was the drive from the cab i took on 2nd January, from Sussex street to north Sydney . As he started reassuring me on the attack in Australia , my first reaction was to see outside the cab window to make sure that he is not leading me in any wrong road . I smiled the next moment when i realized where this precaution came from . And started actually listening to him .
He spoke a very common manly English which made me follow his accent easily 🙂 … along the 10 min drive he elaborated how this is a non racial country and how its some goons actually attacking Indians which is what is a stray incident happening in parammatta . I smiled with a neutral gaze and said him bye . Somehow , by this time the spark in Sydney air had made me aware of this fact , unconsciously though .
It was …the lady , today at the signal . Some 70 plus she must be . Dressed in a pink gown as she approached us at north Sydney station , she reminded me of my mother .
“Are you Indian?”, she asked shreekant , my college who was unaware of what had happened in Melbourne yesterday .
“I wanted to tell you that this is not a racial country . Indians are welcomed here …”
“we are worried about what is happening these days in here” …. she spoke very earnestly … catching hear breath in the chilly Sydney summer .. and i listened very attentively … something inside told me that this is not going to be formality’s sake – talk …
“We discuss these things daily at our meetings and feel sad that such things are happening in our country ” she said looking at me , finally ….. Looking into my eyes actually .Her wrinkles shrinking in the pain , the pain that a sincere person feels … I noticed them .. actually i remember them still … while the though of the whole thing being “masala fried” by media flashed in my mind …
“Yeah , its concerning ” , my manager said , dry as i had expected him to be … i wanted to say something better to that lady and i started thing what to …
“I am sorry for what is happening in Australia these days and what happened yesterday”
oh , i missed my heart beat , like i missed it on every “Jai Hind” scream after 15th august anthem prayer in my school days . There was nothing apart from “thanks and good night” that i could say .
routine words to say , i felt … and realized that i was touched , startled and shocked at the same time .
Was it her compassion … or was it the sincerity in her eyes … or was it the thought that in India we would not have seen an Indian say sorry to a foreigner for something like this … was i ashamed or angry by the time this thought touched my conscience … or may be it was realization of what it means to be a citizen …. I don’t know .
But a citizen saying sorry for something happening in her country to complete stranger …… it has shaken me …
I sit silent at my chair tonight , trying to figure out what exactly i felt today .. oh the racism in Australia … haven’t smelled the trace of it yet …. or may be there is THE truth in the attack that are happening …
I doubt whether i would be able to intellectually analyze it today … … the “I am sorry” is too strong ..
and for some reason unknown … i remembered Gandhi … and how i felt when i saw that move for the first time …
thoughts …people… emotions …nationalism
wrapped in a web of all this .
From Racist ? Australia ,