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3 States: To where do I belong?

India is my country. It is a diverse, multi-religious, multi-lingual vibrant democracy. I think I embody this diversity better than anybody. I belong to India’s three different states each of which represent their own colorful culture and way of living. To explain things clearly, I am a Madhya Bhartiya, a Maharashtrian and a Gujarati all at the same time. My roots lie in the land that is the heart of India – Madhya Pradesh. I was born in Jabalpur and my parents belong to M.P. so quite naturally I am able to relate myself well with the place. In summers and during holidays, I travelled to cities like Bhopal, Indore, Dewas and Ujjain. What I like about this land is the earthy feeling, the ancient heritage and the old and classic buildings. These are not developed cities on the lines of metro cities still you can’t escape their charm. If I had option to build up another home for myself, I would choose Bhopal because it is a beautiful city with a quiet, calm feeling and lovely heritage. People tell me that I speak flawless Hindi and I attribute this to the fact that I am a Madhya Bharatiya.

I am a Maharashtrian also and hence adept at speaking Marathi, my mother tongue, of course tinted with a weak MPite accent. I also see myself as following the culture of Maharashtra because that is what most Marathis do and that is where their roots lie.

And I have been living in Gujarat since the past 22 years. So I am a Gujarati too. I speak, understand and read Gujarati fluently and think that Baroda is the best place to live on the earth. I am a Gujju by heart!

Hence, belonging to three varied places can be a wonderful experience. I had a mixed upbringing wherein today I can speak four different languages very comfortably. I can identify with the cultures and customs of three different regions of the country. It is good in a way because you come to know about different perspectives of living, different ways of living. But mixed upbringing comes with its set of disadvantages as well. Sometimes you begin to feel as if you belong to nowhere. Like for example people question me as to how can I belong to M.P. if I am a Maharashtrian? And I am at pains to explain them my roots and the fact that M.P. houses a sizable number of Maharashtrians. It is at times like these that I am zapped and at loss of answers!

So, I still do not know exactly where I belong? I think its better to belong to a place called India that keep thinking about which state I belong to! And believe me belonging to different places can be a culturally rich experience and an identity crisis at the same time!

All those who are like me, do not feel displaced! Be proud of your associations with more than one region and tell that you belong to everywhere!

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