How my privilege to travel is teaching me the meaning of diversity

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You’re different and it is ok. 

It is the season of “Whataboutery!” The country, I live in and represent has been caught in storm, which has created two sections, dividing the secular fabric of its origins. For every one argument, a so-called liberal (often known as ‘sick-ular) makes, there is an equally appealing statement made by the so-called conservatives (In India, they are also often called bhakts). But I digress. This is not a political rant. It is just a thought that has been nagging me, at the back of my mind. I have been a strong propagator of whataboutery as I have been its victim, when it comes to my family, friends and my relationship with them. My understanding, I acknowledge, has been a bit wavy. So, off-course, when I sat to write this post, the first question that came to my mind was “What if this a premature post?” Other questions flanking me:

1. Am I being over-sensitive to everything that’s happening around me?

2. Am I being too presumptuous?

3. Am I being hypocritical, because I think, I will continue to be at logger heads with people around me?

4. Am I acting out of my privilege?

5. Am I being arrogant or worse ignorant?

6. Am I sharing too personal things on my blog? (What if some one is going to use this to influence an election or sell something to me?)

7. Am I going to be judged by my family and friends?

8. Am I exposing myself by being too real?

9. Am I being pretentious?

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With my sisters… same, same yet all different! And that is ok.

I have been having the itch to write this post for long. However, I have been avoiding it like a plague. Thoughts of what if….

But I guess, some times, you do, what you do. You say, what you say. You write, what you believe. Although, I caution anyone of you reading this.

This is NOT a post to say that travel has changed me or my thoughts or my life. All I am saying is that it is, I believe, helping me re-reach, re-connect, re-understand myself, my family, my friends, generally people around me and may be (I am hoping against hope, society at large.)

I often come across articles online, I read accounts of travellers- it’s like an epidemic. It’s everywhere. People talk about how travel is life, travel is bae, travel is changing them, travel has touched them. Some people say- that travel has taken thrash out of life. Travel gives meaning to their life, it gave them meaning and purpose, off-course, almost usually, without realizing that travel is privilege. Not everybody, gets to travel. Not everybody gets a chance to feel a change within themselves or people around them.

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With my best girl pals.. none of us share the same religious thoughts. But it is ok.

On my travels, I have been thinking about these questions a lot. I reflect, I deflect. All through my journeys, I have met people of different castes, different creed, different religions, different nationalities, different ages. I met women of my mother’s age, but from a different country. I met a young guy from a different state, just like my brother. Now off-course, travelling is in my genes. I can recall my earliest journeys in trains, planes and road-trips with my family, grand parents and parents. Then off-course, @Srinistuff, came along and my style of travel changed. I went backpacking, hiking, solo-tripping. But I digress, again. I think, all throughout, what has been happening is that through my conversations with these people and myself, I have begun to believe, that there is more that connects us, instead of disconnecting us. There is something beyond mere words and familial ties that brings me closer to the people than take me away from them. It is patience, understanding different perspectives that binds me to all the people I have met and will meet. I have come to believe that this “Difference of opinions, of thoughts, feelings, religious beliefs, generational attitudes, cultural ethos” that is helping me become less opinionated and more forgiving of my own shortcomings and of those around me. When I meet a man living in my country, questioning, why he should be an Indian, when his roots are so different and varied from others, it brings me closer to the understanding that even in the slightest voice of upper class dissent, there can be a minority. When my friend from another country, questions me of why should she live with her family, it makes me realize, why I want to be with mine! We differ on the reasons of why we should or shouldn’t be with our families and it is ok. We both are are right in our places. When a friend talks to me about why she doesn’t get married, it is ok because her thoughts about marriage don’t reflect the status of mine. It is fine, if you don’t connect with your children, but with the kids of the same age, from another country. I have met so many women of my mother’s age. They don’t get along with their kids. But they do with me. And that is fine. In fact, a lot of times, I have been able to understand what my parents feel, because I met these fine men and women along the way.

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With my family.. 4 faces, 4 thoughts, 4 hearts, 4 brains. All in different directions but connected by love and mutual respect.

I have therefore come to realize, that I don’t need to seek the validation of anyone, not even my parents. I don’t need to cause a rebellion either. I am coming to an understanding that someone is different from me and I am different from you. And that it is ok. We are different, yet we are the same. And that is absolutely fine. We might not necessarily agree, but we can co-exist, peacefully, even if it means living differently or sharing different social, economic, cultural and political values and mores.

You’re beautiful and I am ugly. It is ok.

I am thin, you’re fat. It is ok.

I am married, you’re not. It is ok.

You want kids, I don’t. It is ok.

You are a believer, I am not. And that is ok.

I want this. You want that. It is ok.

We might not agree, but that is ok.

We are just different and that is ok!

Also read:

Where do we belong?

Numbing conversations from the road 

An ode to the ghosts of road

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