Tag Archives: personal

At Home In My Heritage

The sweet humid air surrounded my body with the first step I took on the soil of my parent’s birthplace. It was an odd sensation being in a country new to me yet feeling so at home. I was 12 and had taken my first plane ride (a 13 hour one) with my parents to the place where they, their parents and grandparents were born, the Fiji Islands. I had cried before boarding the Air Pacific plane at SFO, not wanting to leave my cousin/best friend for an entire month for an island which shaped so much of my childhood, yet had never been. I had never traveled this far out of my world and was scared and naive of what was waiting on the other side of the world.

I was born in the Bay Area, California, but 90% of my family is from the Fiji Islands. I grew up with dual cultures, like any first generation American or immigrant child will tell you. It was a battle straddling the line between being American in front of your friends while remaining traditional, cultured and tied to your roots with your family. In this country I was born in I was constantly made to feel other. “Where do you come from?” “What are you?” While for my friends born from immigrant parents from India, I was never entirely Indian enough. Where did I fit?

It was that first breath of humid air, the hugs of my aunt and cousins at the Nadi airport, and the ride to her home through the sugarcane fields along the Sleeping Giant mountain that made me realize where I belonged. All of the stories I grew up hearing from my parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents had told me melted into realization. This is where I came from. It’s the place that shaped my parents, who in turn shaped me. I didn’t feel other. Sure, I was the kid from America, but I spoke the same language, ate the same food growing up and had the same values passed on to me. I learned more about myself than I ever could have imagined. I felt a point of pride in my heritage that until then had never fully understood.

Those four weeks were a catalyst for my future. It gave birth to my commitment not just to human rights and equality but gave me a piece of my identity that wasn’t fully actualized. This was my heritage. This was me. I was no longer the other in Fiji. The islands had wrapped me in its arms in a way that America never fully had.

I cried again as I left the airport in Fiji. Shedding tears leaving behind my cousins and aunt that I had grown so attached to. The aunt who lovingly called me Radha Rani, fed me and told me stories about my dad when he was a child that I had never heard before. She made my ties to Fiji palpable. The hurt I felt leaving her and Fiji behind as a 12 year old much more immense than I would have thought. The pain of leaving this home that I became so attached to. This place that I had such a deep connection to. That connection which still lives in me in California.

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My Notebook

Late night fantasies. Those are always the best. Why is my mind so full of clarity? Or is it hazy and these thoughts are sleep-deprived delusions? It’s a trail of thoughts that run so far and so clear. No distractions. When the world around me sleeps, my brain urges me to write. The electronics beside me try to tempt me, but you always win. How can I make sure you win every day? Not just when the clarity of creativity strikes? Carry you with me? Not let my mind drift? I must. I must. I must. I will.

Photo by: Radhika Jit

Because it Takes Me Home

photo

Sometimes I just have a desire to write. To see where my thoughts and pen take me. Often it’s to my deepest secrets – the ones I don’t share with anyone. The ones I am afraid to admit to myself, and there is a beauty there that is unmatched.

My cousin once asked incredulously, “wow, so you really love writing that much?” when I told her I write regularly for myself. I do. I love writing; but it’s also that I often feel a need to do so. I writer will often tell you that. I believe that writers are the most mis-understood bunch. She couldn’t fathom that I enjoyed it so much that I would take my unpaid time out to do this for fun. Yet, that’s just what it is for me.

At times it’s fun. Sometimes it’s cathartic. Others it’s for a purpose, and sometimes it’s just like this – just a need to put pen to paper and release the thoughts. Perhaps that is what it is the most – a release. A release of all that’s inside that doesn’t get uttered into the air and landed upon ears.

It’s where I feel most comfortable. As a child and pre-teen, I would write letters to my parents when I had a problem, because writing it down felt more natural than saying it out loud. Time and age has made me comfortable with the saying it out loud aspect, but my inner most thoughts are still reserved for this medium.

Writing about a love of writing may seems cliched, but everything I’ve said is quite true to me. No matter what other aspect in my life I feel inadequate in, I know I can always come home to where I feel the most comfortable. Home is my pen, paper, and thoughts.

Getting Personal: Life Changes

The origins of this blog have evolved vastly since its existance. Originally it was simply a placeholder – a project for a senior project class during my undergrad communications years. When I overhauled it, I decided to turn it into an online diary of sorts. A collection of writing about whatever I fancied. I have been absent from this blog for over a week – something that is rare for me, but with good reason.

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