"It must have been so much easier when there was a common enemy, and the vision of a hypothetical, perfect country", she said. "It's just so hard to accept the reality of it. With all the lying, cheating, in-fighting, back-biting. And keep loving it, and wanting to be a part of it." She looked guilty. She wished more than anything that he would argue. Give her examples of the glory, the pride, the beauty. She hoped he'd give her a brief lecture on Indian history (the sort she used to abhor), complete with the chronology and the main players, like he'd done so often. She wanted to believe. She wanted to love. She wanted to be proud. She just didn't see how she could be. Everywhere she looked she saw reasons to despair, people to cry for, some to be enraged at, but mostly to be pitied. And she felt guilty. An accident of birth, and she could take for granted the sort of amenities that more than half the population couldn't even dream of. She didn't deserve it. Everytime she read about a fresh riot, a protest, a strike, a scandal, everytime she responded with anger and frustration, a little voice reminded her that she had left the country. She had fled. She had deserted. She had no right to criticise that which didn't affect her anymore, that which she wasn't a part of. It wasn't like that, she could argue. She was going to return, she would insist. She would always be Indian and because of that she wanted to believe, to see the light, to embrace the country that she belonged to. But she wanted him to make her, because what she saw didn't fill her with confidence. "Seeing, contrary to popular wisdom, is not believing. When sight steps in, belief has no purpose." I read that in a Terry Pratchett, he confessed sheepishly. "A lot of hope has gone into this country, it's sand is steeped in the blind, optimistic-against-all-odds belief of millions. We're survivors. Time brings change. Believe." He had said the right thing. She felt happier. There was hope.
Happy Republic Day, you guys.
Cautionary Note: Was feeling soppy. And it is Republic Day. And I do love India :D