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I think a lot about this somewhat forced migration–first from India to Fiji on indenture ships and then from Fiji to the United States by modern aircrafts. There is a real crisis of identity and belonging.
I had an epiphany yesterday that we have been working really hard to change “twice-removed” into “an opportunity to start twice-over.” As Indian kids, we are taught to make the best of every opportunity and a lot of us do just that. The problem is that I cannot find a reason that we had to start “twice over.” I have no idea how my life would have been in India for my great-great grandparents and I have no clue why my parents left Fiji. So “twice-removed” is “twice-removed without reasonable cause.” And that may be the root of all my anger and frustration. And pain.
All my life, we’ve been told to get out of countries where we made our homes. I grew up hearing about how Uganda removed Indians only to experience something similar in Fiji. I hope I get third-time lucky because this time there is definitely a reason: I would no longer need to struggle to make sense of a life and existence I did not choose.
And I can already see my PhD dissertation topic — Postcolonial Indian Disaporic Identities in ____________. I am excited and content with life.