When i first decided to come here, among several other things, someone close to me was very worried that I would be “termed” as not Israeli or Jewish (fair or white whatever you may want to term it). Maybe they would think of me as one of our ‘dear cousins’, the Arabs (Muslims) because of my colour that is. It really didnt bother me as much but somewhere deep in the pores of my nightly skin something did tingle.
Well, cant change the colour and absolutely did not want to change my resolve to come here, so I did. And guess what, no matter what I do or wear, I am and always will be Indian. I am that one exotic colourful being amongst the sea of black and/or white here and yyiippee yyeeaa it makes me exotically joyous. People smile and ask me whether I am Indian and my eyes light up brighter and so do theirs. And then the stories of all those beautiful Indian places they have visited begin. I am as mesmerised as they are.
When we call out to strangers there are a hundred ways by which we try and get their attention. You know how they get my attention? By calling out ‘Hodu’ which means ‘India’ in Hebrew. Oh wait. It also means ‘Turkey’ in Hebrew. Oh darn. Oh well. Anyway, I gladly turn around and give them my loveliest smile. And yes I do melt their heart (wink wink).
Israelis in general LOVE India and why not? Most of them have travelled there after their army or for a vacation and who has not watched Indian movies. They usually travel up north and love sarees and the colours and oh the food. I have had strangers sing “Eechak dana beechak dana” or “Mera joota hai Japani” to me.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE to wear sarees and I HATE HATE HATE the fact that I have fewer excuses to wear one. But believe me when I do, I DO. And that’s a complete ice breaker. Everyone wants to see how you draped one, touch it, feel it (I have to be careful at such times and have to be sure its ONLY the saree they touching. wink wink, again). I am and feel like the MOST glamorous person at that point.
I feel wonderful being an Indian and recognised as one. They know we Indians are beautiful and smart and hard working and awesome and great friends of Israel, so that helps too.
I cant wait to get back to India and stock up on some ethnic kurtis and pyjamas and duppattas (stoles) and jewellery and what not. Hey I cant change the fact that I am Indian (I absolutely dont want to) so why not envelope myself in that cocoon and rub it in… Rub it in, in my exotic dusky skin, huh?