Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Oneness

I could not help considering the irony of the sight that greeted me at the fitness center in my community when I went there last evening.

There were a couple of somber looking desi bros and two Chinese kids and then there was me. The TV was tuned to TV One Live - everyone was watching the DNC being telecast live. For a minute, I wondered if I was still in my neighborhood - where had everyone disappeared.

On most days, I feel like a dot of color in an expanse of white where I live. I have grown used to parents of white kids in J's class being unfailing polite and unflinchingly distant at the same time, having cashiers the grocery stores greet everyone else but look through sub-continental people like we did not quite exist. I figure, since I am here in this country on my own free will I have no excuse to whine about the parochial attitudes of my neighbors. I am always free to leave if I cannot stomach being reminded that I am a minority and don't really belong.

A couple of African American anchors were ruminating on what this historical event meant for their community and America overall. The desi bros were taking it all in with due seriousness as they went through their treadmill and weights routine. The Chinese kids were paying attention too. Here we were in a bunch of immigrants gathered about a TV sharing a moment of great significance in a country that has either been our home for a while, or became so by accident of birth. The sharing became so much more poignant because no one said anything but there was a sudden sense of oneness that comes from being thrown together by chance.

1 comment:

Sachinky said...

Where in god's name do you live? Podunk, USA, I'm guessing? That sucks, man.

I have been in this country for 7 years and have never NOT been greeted at check out counters with a smile and I would never describe my white peers and friends as "distant."