In medicine, the term syndrome is the association of several clinically recognizable features, signs, symptoms, phenomena or characteristics which often occur together, so that the presence of one feature alerts the physician to the presence of the others. In recent decades the term has been used outside of medicine to refer to a combination of phenomena seen in association. (courtesy: Wikepedia) Wait a second, this is not about definitions! is’t it? Lets get down to business.. Living in US for the past 8 years (little more actually!), I developed a strange syndrome called ‘patriotism’. A term which can only be felt but not experienced, a feeling which can only be expressed but not conveyed. Sounds strange? for me too, indeed. All these years, an irritating question that pops in my mind quite often is, “Who am I ?”, a very simple question to answer; human being, not that simple though; a male chauvinist tyring to make most of dollars that’s possible and live happily ever after in Bahamas, no, not that complicated even. Simply put, a ‘permanent resident alien’ (thanks to the green card I’ve got, which is yellow) for the citizens of USA, and an ‘filthy rich NRI’ (I have a townhome in Northern Virginia, which makes me filty rich with more than half a million in debt) for my friends back home in India. In reality I am a suspended material between the idealogies of US and India. You think of a thing, when you are most distant, like me thinking about India staying thousands of miles away. Things change though! good or bad, we accept them with refute. Addendum, my torpid imagination about India, make me look like a big fool. Changing times doesn’t get to me easily, specially when it come to the subject of India. You are a real patriotic, when you start feeling proud of what your country is and your services are offered to the country and the poeple with pure ecstacy and selflessness. Probaby I did some of those things in the past in India, but not without selfishness, and definitely not without the expectations of fame. Now I feel possessed about India, I enjoy its success and love to send money for causes like Kargil fiasco. I started noticing this syndrome called patriotism, very recently. When we gather around for parties and occassions, our discussions circle around India. How successful the BPO sector is (of course, we would love to bite a pie of it), how strong the GDP growth is, how good the Delhi Metro is, etc. These things don’t come up from thin air, there is something in our left part of the brain (for me), which constantly reminds us who we are, and where we came from. Having difficulties in ‘assuming’ that we have blended in American culture and living, we are caught in our sleep, reminding us that we have suspended thoughts, un-related ideas and non-coexisting philosopies. We debate on what’s bad in India, bribing, irregularity, uncleanliness, diseases, poverty, blah, blah and blah and end up giving accolades to its achievements, to sides of the coin, you know. We ‘decide’ what is good for it and what is not. All from where? 7000 miles away, wasting our time chatting in the clubhouse rooms and corridors of parties. This is definitely a syndrome, isn’t it. I once went to a local community fiesta, and the dias was decorated with personalities from various parts of North America. If one was a doctor, the other was a scientist. Nothing special! I was told by my friend sitting beside me that there is one doctor from canada, who is a good philanthropist. He sheds money like lint and uses them for good cause. No one remembers his name, no one. He came on to the dias, he did not introduce himself, but he introduced his wife, who incidentally is also a doctor. They both have crossed their late 50’s. He then announced that he will be donating $25,000 to a non-profit health agency in India, who operates on poor for FREE. I said, what the heck? Twenty Five grand, and just in a snap. He must have the heart of gold and soul of God. Some people clapped, while others witnessed with awe, some others were thinking and few more raised their eyebrows. I was jealous! YES! I thought that had God given me some riches I would easily shred Thirty grand (how foolish). Its un-intensional and ivoluntary, what? its my jealousy. To moist my thirst, I added more water to it, what? my jealousy, again. I thought, he had money, and he is giving it, what’s the big deal? He then left the microphone and braced his chair on the dias. Then came a spokesman and almost said with great respect, “the person (alogn with his wife) who just donated 25 grand spends 60 days of each year in India, spending his own sweat and heart to help people personally, who are poor and lend his support to numorous. I was shocked? Its is not that simple task for a naturalized Canadian, spending his daily life in luxuries un-imaginable, who is respected every single minute of his life in the hospital for his dedication and service, to go to the country side of India and spend time. My jealousy was whipped with the kind air that sensed that man’s breath. My jealousy faded, with the clapping resonance in the auditorium, my jealousy died listening to that kind man’s heart beat. Many thanks to that person, who made me realize that my syndrome is not ‘patriotism’. It is just a state of mind that people call un-necessary possessiveness.
Freedom is not different than oneself, when perceived otherwise will look like a distant dream. Recognizing that 'one' is 'free' is freedom