Once in Jabalpur,I threw my cousin out of our house for cheering for the Pakistani cricket team.
Once in Mumbai,an estate broker threw me out of his office after discovering that my last name is Khan.
Once in Dubai,a doctor said my country is calling me back,he resigned and went back to India with his beloved Mercedes.
I heard a very nice dialogue recently in a film that fiction has to make sense,not life. That statement really amazed me because it was such an obvious truth but we never somehow articulated it that way. After being amazed,it actually saddened me a little bit too; to think that why does it has to be this way.
But it is,I guess.
I spent my entire childhood outside India,listening to my father say that he will not die anywhere except his country.
The Babri masjid went down and my father came under tremendous pressure to sell his beloved car as that was,according to his friends,getting us under the scanner. So he did what he had to. He sold it over night. That day his heart broke so badly that I could actually physically hear it. And I knew it was not for the car. It was for the India he had come back to. He felt betrayed,maybe by himself and his own beliefs.
That incident introduced the word complicated to me with great simplicity.
Its complicated that I dont get a house in this country due to my surname but its simple that this country is my home.
Its complicated that my husband is a Hindu but its simple that I am married to him.
Its complicated that we shoot people in fake encounters but its also simple that someone is investigating it.
Its complicated that we brand Muslims as terrorists but its simple that we also make presidents out of them.
When I wanted to sell Qubool Hai (for most of you who dont know what that is,Qubool Hai is a daily soap aired on Zee TV. And much to my delight,its doing very well),I took it to various broadcasters and was not getting a buyer.
Though I never showed it to anyone very openly,it was scaring me internally as I could sense an apprehension on most peoples part to put it on air. I could feel that there is an apparent reason to believe that a Muslim show will not be well received,given the countrys climate of polarisation.
I always remembered what my father had told me. He had said that a car doesnt matter but what matters is your faith. Dont let anyone take that away from you and you must always believe. And I wanted to believe,but this time I was preparing to hear my own heartbreak aloud.
But thankfully Zee TV bought it. And then I was scared that nobody would watch it and my heart would break eventually.
But Qubool Hai went on to become the No 1 show. And I thought to myself that how easily we give in to our thoughts and how easily we doubt beliefs.
When Qubool Hai became successful,I was not just happy as a director or producer,it actually meant something much greater to me,as a person and as an Indian.
I realised,and I was so happy to realise this,that a 3.4 rating meant almost the whole country is actually watching it.
And I realised that we might be polarised and there might be boundaries and borders around us,but they have definitely not reached our hearts yet. And deep inside us,before we are anything else,we all are still Indians first.
And thats why this particular Independence Day means a little more to me than the previous ones.
Its a small thing but its also a big thing. You see its complicated but its also very simple. So Happy Independence Day to all of us.