In the throes of Visa renewals again. If some could have their way, I would need a Visa to see the rest room at transit airports. The many delights of being the proud owner of an invaluable hand written Indian passport (Paradox?). Too bad the rest of the world can't appreciate the personal touches of cutely scribbled illegible Name, misspelt and hence non-existent address, random stranger's name for Husband, Mother's name swapped with Father's etc, on an official document of identity. Sloppiness and Cricket are our national sports. Facts that identity is defined by, become a matter of interpretation. In a way it is also a constant reminder of their ineffectiveness. I take no offense at the heaves and sighs of exasperation at passport control, at always slowing down the line. They will fumble, to my perverse pleasure, with my un-scannable passport and then resign begrudgingly to the primitiveness of manual entry.
I see this as a test. The more I travel, the more I am tested. Will I succumb to the ease of European citizenship? Will I submit to the convenience of sailing in and out of countries without any of the ritualistic drama ensuing when I produce proof of indecipherable identity? Oooooh the temptations of a scannable passport! What of National pride and Patriotism? Yes, What about Patriotism? Will I be letting down my country of 1.2 billion if one of me rejected my original Indian identity? I could flatter myself with my self-appointed importance.
Eventually it is not out of love for country and homeland that I cling on to my origins, rather something much more personal. Out of the need to believe in who I am, where I came from and what I am. It is not my nation I would defend and love with my last breath, it is myself.
Bring it on now, the demeaning interrogations and belittling processes, all aimed at determining if A.) I am going to plonk (save yourself the trouble, I already have!) or B.) I am a terrorist (investment here may well be worth the effort). For as long as there is self-mockery, I will be soothed and amused and my Indian handcrafted identity is alas the only one in it's sloppy uniqueness that truly represents me.