A Heart Here and There
Back home, I find myself missing India every day. Don’t get me wrong – I love my country, and I love Austin. I enjoy the conveniences and the comfort of my home; my daughter and family and friends. I live in a great eclectic town, with a thriving creative community of musicians and artists, and full of socially conscious people. But the world here seems so quiet, bland and somehow lacking without the constant in-your-face life of India. The incredible, rich, exotic beauty that is side by side, every moment, with poverty and chaos and need.
I miss those constant reminders – the ones we so rarely have to confront in this world – of the fact that we are blessed, in ways far more than we have earned. That ours is a life of ease, of luxury and amenity, while so many in the world endure so much, suffer so much. The United States is an insular land and an arrogant one – it’s so easy here to accept a life of plenty and turn a cheek to the simple, unfair fact of life that we have done nothing to deserve our incredible lot in life over someone else who lacks basic food and water, who lives on less than a dollar a day.
The children that I have met and spent time with, grown to know and love over the past two years – they are as deserving, as bright and lovely and hopeful, as any child in the U.S. who has far too much, more than could ever be needed when millions don’t have even the basic necessities of life. Sometimes at home I wonder, when will it matter enough? My heart breaks daily for the people whom no one stops to see, whom few care about and fewer still even think about.
Meanwhile we go on our way, leading our wasteful lives, living without true meaning to the world outside our own comfortable enclaves. Days pass, years pass, and still we have not lived.
I look around me back home and I wonder how it is possible that people can drive their eight-mile-per-gallon SUVs and buy their 5,000 square-foot homes for a family of four. Consuming our 80% of the world’s resources as if we alone are entitled to them and they are never-ending. Don’t they know that much of the world is counting on us for their very survival? Our resources are not ours alone. How can we pretend that they don’t exist?
And so I wait, and hope for the day when we will realize that it’s up to us. Every one of us. No one is exempt, every one has their part to play. We owe it to the world. And ultimately, we owe it to ourselves.