I was listening to a book about Henry James. The famous author.
It talked about the love he had for England. He was an American, who lived in England, he didn’t get a British citizenship until late in life,but he had the greatest of affection for this country.
I can identify with this. Why am not sure,but I am and have been in love with this beautiful country from the age of ten or so,or from the time I could make sense of things.
Granted my father had live in the UK , and always spoke with great affection of his life here. I grew up hearing stories of, and reading the British magazines he subscribed to;gave me such a longing to see England.
On the 5th of March this year it will 46 years ,that I arrived in London. I remember as it was last week. It was a shimmering,glistening winters day. There had been a snow storm the day before,and Heathrow had little mounds of snow,cleared away from the path. There was no covered walkway from the aircraft then, you got down from the aircraft,buffeted by icy winds and made your way into the terminal.
Heathrow was not as big,fewer immigration desks and the officers were not stressed as they are now, they smiled and made small talk,which made the new comer feel welcome!
I remember marvelling at the size of the roses,they were perfect, large and plenty,but lacked the heady perfume , the roses in India had. People walked here looked as if they walked with purpose,as if they had to get somewhere,and time mattered. In the India I knew, people looked as if they were loitering! No one ever seemed in a rush to get anywhere. And they dont, hence the phrase of Indian time’, where things are done at leisure.
I fell in love with England,and I still do, I don’t want to live anywhere else in the world. Overtime I go abroad, as we take off and the British land recedes, I get a lump in my throat,and when I return, as the plane starts its descend, my heart never fails to miss a beat.
I have been accused of being a “coconut”! Brown outside but white inside. It is meant to be a derogatory term, but I take it as a compliment.
What is wrong though with loving a country,enjoy living in it? I often feel ,or rather am looked at as someone who most probably just says these things. How can someone love a culture and a country other than the one they were born in?
Listening to Henry James’s thoughts ,expressed in the 18th Century, I realised that am not alone or weird. It is possible to fall in love with your adopted country and culture.
I do, and am not ashamed.