i remember when, for years, my life felt like a permanent exile. whither i would go, whither i would do, i was a kind of camusian meursault, not belonging to the world i live in. a world where nothing filled the bustling streets i would walk on to ‘know’ where i was standing.
integrating into a different society bred the uncomfortableness of imposed solitude.
changing my life’s location and national affiliation created a painful discontinuity. i was caught between the desire to belong, yet not belonging became the essence of an identity crisis. an unsatisfiable fantasy.
writing has been and is the only thing to give solace to a weary soul, but writing, along with naming become mirrors of identity.
at times, this assimilation process can kill. and it does. but if it doesn’t, then it leaves irreversible scars, social confusion and exclusion. but confronted with self, also fortitude.
while i no longer straddle that familiar solitude, i know those who always have their suitcases ready to ‘go back home’, yet they were born in that country where they lay their suitcases and restless heads; that country which tells them they don’t belong. that country which tells them they are ‘etranger’. they are all meursaults, imprisoned within the walls of unfamiliarity.
where is home for these ‘etrangers’?
is it that place like rushdie’s “indias of the mind”, an india that rushdie no longer knows, but imagines to be the way he left it after being in permanent exile?
where is the ‘indias of the mind’ for those who still feel like ‘exclus’ in a place they were born in, or choose to live in?
is it a figment of the mind and as a result, never findable?