Monday, 30 September 2013

Where are you from ?

Couple of days ago, I had gone for a gathering of friends. My friends, whom I had known for a while now, were there. So were their other friends, people who I met for the first time.

It was all going rather well, fun, banter, food and drinks, till the inevitable question caught up with me.

"Where are you from?" one of them asked.

A perfectly innocuous question. For most people.

Not for me.  As most people who have ever asked me this would attest, I do not have a simple answer for this question. My answer is usually a beating around the bush without a specific answer.

" I was born in _, but I have stayed  in _, _ and _ while growing up. I've been in _ for the last 10 years, on and off, except for 2 years in between. So yeah, pretty much from everywhere"

My usual answer; usually followed by a smile to ease the enquirer and cover up my lack of an answer.

I have tried "India", only it gets you amused looks when you say it to other Indians.

I do not prefer limiting my answer to just my place of birth. Which was much later also a place of stay, ( longest so far in any one place,but won't be after a year!) and where my parents still live . It leads to linear connections to ethnicity which do not apply.

But that is my issue. And not a trivial one at that. It is this seemingly innocuous question that threatens to unlock a Pandora's box of life long conflicts.

It is this question that exposes the vulnerability of the lack of an ethnic identity.

You may assume that ethnic identity is fairly simple.
You were born to parents belonging to a certain ethnicity.
Your official native language is this.
So you belong here.
Pat ! Simple as that !

But only it is not.

Not for someone who has lived in several places, growing up with friends from all ethnic groups [ and not in a 'token ethnic friend' sort of a way].
Not for someone who grew up learning a language other than the official native language in a way that he 'thinks' in that language [ and still cannot spell to save his life in the native language].
Not for someone who would need to fence-sit every time in a new place to be allowed into the 'local' circle.

And how do you belong, if every couple of years you leave all behind to start in a new place ?
[Until when we ended up staying in one place for fairly long because of it was no longer possible for us to move as my sister was about to finish her schooling].

This has been an issue for me. And now I've almost accepted it, my lack of ethnic identity.
Maybe in scale, it is much lesser than a similar loss of identity suffered by armed forces' children or the so called TCK- third culture kids, but it is an absence that has shaped me.

In many ways though, I do have traits that are unmistakeably from my alleged ethnic group.
But you'd be mistaken if you try to ethnic label me based on those.
Ask the people from my alleged ethnic group in Delhi, I am almost always never included when they plan a monoethnic gathering, I simply do not 'fit'.

So there, next time we meet, lets just skip that question, okay ?

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Tour Poster for Big Bang Blues

Tour poster and Facebook page header.

The new style as inspired by the newer and more intense sound of the band.

Friday, 6 September 2013

Gig Posters for Big Bang Blues

Some old and recent posters for the band.

The last poster ( Turquoise cottage) is the one with which I had started a new ‘clean’ look for the band’s gig posters back in 2011.

The first (Zo poster) marks the end of this clean style, as from the next poster onward, I’ll be following a new approach for the band’s posters.