Friday, February 10, 2017

Home, Identity and Citizenship - Thoughts on the day I accept Australian citizenship

This article was first published in The Big Smoke on August 24, 2015

Filling out official documents for the last eight years has been a pain for me. Between my country of birth (Zambia), my nationality (Indian) and my country of residence (Australia), something invariably goes awry. Last Thursday, I made my life easier. I bumped off India out of the equation by taking up Australian citizenship.
Do a new passport and voting rights make me more Australian and less Indian? What about Zambia? Where does it fit in into my view of myself?
Zambia is just a distant memory to me. I was born there while my Dad, an Indian doctor specialising in communicable diseases, was on a mosquito-killing jaunt. He would travel deep into the bush and build malaria prevention plans for hyena-eating tribes. Seriously. Somewhere in between, he and my Mum produced me.
I was five when I moved to India. Relief was my chief emotion. Through the last five years, the running joke in my house had been that since I was Zambian, I would have to be left behind when my family moved back to India. I am not exactly sure why they found it funny (early childhood psychology was not their strength). I found it terrifying and it made me hate Zambia, a rain-drenched, leafy country overrun with mosquitoes.
Read more on The Big Smoke.

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