The Promise of Return
I have learnt it is different being a migrant in one's one imperial country than in any other. One does not get over colonialism easily, not in one generation anyway. Depending on how I see it, I am first generation post-colonial (my father was born in 1944, before India's independence) and surely I am not fully out of the colonial mindset, which always holds the imperial culture to be superior to one's own. So, I am forever trying to take the 'best of both cultures', forever marvelling at the 'British politeness' and most of the time trying to adopt to the accent and ways of life. This has, I must admit, nothing to do with being Global - this seemingly eclectic behaviour is all about fitting into my own post-colonial frame of reference.
Also, this is a two-way thing: Not just my post-colonial mindset holds the host culture in high esteem, the host country seems to confer an identity to me which is hard to get out of. It is not discrimination, but a role expectation, that can sometime work in favour of the migrant: The Indians like me are expected to be Accountants, IT Professionals or Doctors, and it is easy to fit into these patterns quite easily. I, with my mix of different skills and experiences, and ambitions to be in charge of my own life, had to find a way, not always obvious, through this architecture of set expectations; it is only after I learnt what these expectations were, and learnt to use them in my favour, I could make the country work for me.
But, then, once I learnt the steps and ways of life, and became conscious of my assumptions and constructs, my desire to be free again has become paramount. After all, this journey was about being free: Free from the identity I was born into, free from the social expectations I was born with, free from the constrained parochial existence to which I would have been otherwise consigned to. Knowing one's assumptions is like holding a mirror - the evidence is instantaneous and rather undeniable - but this freedom must be followed up with the freedom to act and change. In my migrant experience, therefore, I tried to push the boundaries and test my ideas of a flat world shaped by technology and enabled by human connections, only to, to quote Eliot, 'come back where I started and know the place for the first time'.
So, this returns me to the point of start, just as I wanted. A return to the base, with a promise of re-evaluation and restart, in some form, is in the offing. Such reflections forever hold the promise of a springboard, may be time to push my ideas of a global institution to the next step, and may be, just may be, this is the start of that promised journey of return.