"The women in the olden days may not have had much freedom. But what they did have they used with pride." A cynical smile crossed Grandma`s face. "They were proud to be the people they were."
I couldn`t help but be curious. Whatever did she mean?
"It means, my dear, that we revelled in who we were. We were blessed with a free spirit. The women nowadays may not have the British rule them, but they`re not really free."
"How many people in India would be proud to be Indian enough to lead an Indian lifestyle?
And I am not talking about eating meals on the floor or wearing khadi clothes. How many of us so-called independent women keep in touch with our roots, our heritage? Aren`t we all ready to disown everything that is ours? "
"Where is your sense of pride when you blindly ape the west? In lifestyles and in attitudes? What do you know about our spiritual or cultural roots? Don`t you know more about hip hop?"
"Being savvy has nothing to do with being unaware of your identities. Is there something so lacking in being an Indian that you free girls willingly cast your identities away? And revel in becoming aliens to your roots."
"Worse still, we don`t find a need to even be curious or interested in anything truly Indian. Yet if India has a prominent place in the world today, it is because of her spiritual and cultural wealth. Something that the western world appreciates a lot more nowadays."
As I made my way back home, I couldn`t help but wonder at Grandma` words. Speaking for myself, I didn`t know much about my religion. I didn`t know the scriptures. I know nothing about Indian classical music and dance. Indian textiles and crafts played no role in my life. I barely knew their names.
Could I call myself truly Indian then?