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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Saturday, June 15, 2024

Where is home, actually?

"Is it really home when those in power don’t really want you here?"

All articles featured in The Beet are creative, satirical and/or entirely fictional pieces. They are fully intended as such and should not be taken seriously as news.

They say an apple doesn’t fall far from the tree

I wonder what they would say about me

Born in a town in the east of India

I barely ever spent any time there

Is it really home if every visit makes me feel like a tourist?

Cautious at every twist and turn, beaten in enthusiasm by the yoga-peddling white cultural colonialist? 

It was only a matter of months and I was headed to Dubai 

Most commemorate flying, while I can’t even remember my first flight

Opportunity beckoned in the golden sands 

I soon found myself crawling with knees and hands

Crawl turned to walk and I started to talk 

Not in Hindi, not even in my mother tongue

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Rather in English, as I had been conditioned

I grew older and spent time around the elders

They disapproved of my illiteracy in my mother tongue. Don’t they always know better?

Cartoons from the US and sports from the UK. What about my roots?

I wasn’t born American. I wasn’t born British. 

Is it really home if I never lived there?

So I was immersed in conversations with elders, my patchy Odia today a result of these efforts 

My schooling took shape as well

English was the primary language, but Hindi and Arabic wanted a piece of the pie

While Hindi took grip and brought Urdu along, my Arabic was nowhere near as strong

It didn’t matter as I belted out both songs

Jana Gana Mana and Ishi Biladi

Singing praises for my motherland and also the place I could most reasonably call home 

But is it really home when you’re an expat forever?

I lived for 18 continuous years, but it could’ve been 58 and it wouldn’t matter 

I now find myself, twenty years into life, in beautiful Madison, Wisconsin 

In the United States, the land that gave me cartoons and songs 

But even before setting foot, I knew I wouldn’t belong 

The stamp in my passport made that very clear 

There do exist paths, the roads often taken

The roads that have shaped Asians in the United States 

But for all intents and purposes, once I’m done, I must be gone 

For I’m an “alien”

Madison may very well feel like home 

But is it really home when those in power don’t really want you here?

And those who do are left largely powerless?

In a journey to find myself, I could be called many things

Perhaps most disparagingly a coconut

Darker-skinned on the outside and white on the inside

But all I seek is greater insight 

I don’t feel fully Indian, I don’t feel Emirati 

I’m certainly no Brit and certainly not a Yankee 

I guess this leaves me with one single question

Where is home, actually?

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Anupras Mohapatra

Anupras Mohapatra is a former opinion editor for The Daily Cardinal and currently serves on the Editorial Board. He is a senior double majoring in Computer Science and Journalism. 

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