Born to the Enemy – Akshat Jain, Rajasthan

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‘What is your problem with your parents? Why can’t you just be nice and listen to them?’
‘They are upper caste and I hate them. They are the enemy.’
‘But you are upper caste yourself.’
‘Yeah and I hate myself as well.’
‘But how can you hate yourself?’
‘Comes naturally to some I guess.’
‘You know, I am upper caste too.’
‘Yeah, I hate you too.’
‘You don’t hate me.’
‘Yes I do.’

She didn’t think it fit to stick around longer.

***

‘What is your problem with India? Why can’t you be a good man and love your country?’
‘It’s a shitty country. I see no reason to love it.’
‘Why don’t you go abroad then?’
‘Why would I do that?’
‘Well go to a nice place if you hate India so much.’
‘All of them are shitty, at least out here I can bitch about it and no one can throw me out. Out there no one will even listen to me, they will say alien and shoot, or worse, send me back to India.’
‘All of them can’t be shitty right. Some of them have to be good.’
‘Yeah, like which?’
‘America, how about America, han, buy a nice suburban house, live your life out.’
‘Yeah and go to Guantanamo and eat jail dick every time a brown man blasts a bomb. I can’t grow a fuckin beard in America without being scared. America, why the fuck would I go there and become one of the uprooted natives trying to suck up to the bourgeois masters to allow them to live outside prison and away from their crazy poor?’
‘All right all right, calm down, so this cuts out Europe as well, and Australia, all White people lands.’
‘Yeah.’
‘The Muslim countries are absolutely out of the question?’
‘Oh yeah, I wouldn’t set foot in most of them, weed and alcohol are not really popular there last I heard.’
‘Maybe take a country house in South America or Africa, somewhere peaceful, somewhere safe.’
‘And do what there exactly. Live cooped up in a luxury tower unable to talk to anybody, hated around town, afraid to set out on the street after dark.’

We sat around and smoked a few more joints. At some point we got bored of our pointless conversations and started watching Rick and Morty.

***

‘Aren’t you happy?’
‘Not really.’
‘What, Why? I am so happy for him.’
‘I don’t know how I feel about you being happy for him but I certainly have no such notions in my head about his 75th birthday.’
‘But why not? Look at everybody having fun, you are always so negative.’
‘Yes look at everybody but also look at him. He is not enjoying himself one bit. I don’t think I have seen him smile once this evening, except when he was smiling in embarrassment on the stage.’
‘What, you think just because he is not smiling, he is not happy? He is just being a man.’
‘Then he is an idiot, but I don’t think he is being a man.’
‘Did you just call your grandfather an idiot? What is wrong with you? Why can’t you speak properly?’
‘I didn’t call him an idiot if you heard me correctly.’
‘What’s wrong in being a man? Your father is a man, your brother is a man, you are a man. I have never seen you smiling either.’
‘That’s because I am hating it, it’s not because I am being a man.’
‘It’s the same thing.’
‘What hating it and being a man?’
‘Not smiling and being a man.’
‘Aright, then if I am being a man, I am being an idiot as well.’
‘Is it idiotic to be a man?’
‘Yes.’
‘Would you rather be a woman?’
‘No, that’s idiotic as well.’
‘Then what else is there.’
‘Everything else is idiotic as well.’
‘According to you everything is idiotic, have you ever considered that you might be wrong, that things might be better if you just make a little effort to be happy.’
‘Yes I have and I came to conclusion that it is the easiest thing to be happy, which, incidentally, is why it sells so much. It’s much more difficult to be unhappy, now that requires actual effort and that’s what I am doing.’
‘By saying everything is idiotic.’
‘I didn’t say everything, we were talking about being a man, woman, etc. That’s idiotic, identifying as a word.’
‘I don’t know what you are talking about? We have to be something right. If I ask you, what are you, a man or a woman, what will you say?’
‘Neither.’
‘So you are a transvestite.’
‘No.’
‘Then what are you?’
‘I don’t know but you can’t get at me through the word.’
‘You are not making sense anymore.’
‘Possibly not.’

‘It is so difficult to talk to you sometimes Can you just put a smile on your face and talk to a few people, thank you. I am gonna go join your father at the stage now.’

***

‘How can you have a problem with Jainism? It’s vegetarian, it’s non-violent, and it doesn’t hurt anybody.’
‘It is self-righteous and corrupt, cares only about money and a caste ridden pureness, it’s the embodiment of the worst tendencies of Indian life, including the fact that it outsources its violence, thus keeping its hands physically clean but by showing an incredible lack of imagination.’
‘It’s still better than the other religions.’
‘As bad; or as good I guess.’
‘So what are you then, an atheist?’
‘No.’
‘Agnostic.’
‘Sure, but no.’

‘I don’t understand.’

***

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