Hyphenated Identities: Roopali Sircar Gaur

Roopali Sircar Gaur
Roopali Sircar Gaur, Ph.D. is a retired English professor (Sri Venkateswara college, University of Delhi), and Founder President of YUVATI, a nonprofit organisation working for adolescent girls and boys across India.  Sircar Gaur also works with children from underserved communities in what she calls Mera Kitab Ghar: The Backyard Book Club she established as a pop-up book club. She also taught Creative Writing at IGNOU for many years. Sircar Gaur is a widely published columnist and writer, who has written for peer-reviewed journals, and presented papers and served on academic conference panels at Universities in the United Kingdom, Europe, the United States, Canada and India. Her book The Twice Colonised: Women in African Literature is a seminal text on those subjects. She is also the co-editor (with Anita Nahal) of the anthology, In All The Spaces-Diverse Voices In Global Women’s Poetry (2020). Sircar Gaur has traveled the world, and now lives in Meerut, India with her retired military spouse and their three dogs.

Travelling Tales 1

I am Janus...The Roman God. Like the month of January named after me I look back and I look ahead. Journeys are like that. They begin in memories of other places and other times. Somewhere on our journeys, we catch up with places and people who had journeyed ahead of you.

In South Florida I caught up on one such friend who had left the adjoining village to the shores of the United States of America. How deep and beautiful that connection, unravelled itself in memories of each and every word we had once exchanged. He was the young physician next door who was aspiring to go to the US: Those were heady days and he left one day.

But before he did, we friends got together to bid him farewell. After all the dancing and singing was over he sang a most poignant song…a song about never saying goodbye. The song  echoed over the decades that we did not and could not meet.
Last night as I walked into his incredibly palatial home, a movie star home with the who’s who in the neighborhood, I knew my friend had arrived. His long journey from next door physician to reputed celebrity cardiologist had happened.

My heart swelled with pride. The chandeliers twinkled and tinkled with the wine glasses as we raised a toast to this eventful journey. His and mine. To sit and talk about my father and my family and my father’s home where we all hung out was incredibly satisfying.

The dinner was thoughtfully curated. It was all Hyderabadi cuisine. We Hyderabadis just sat down and ate, swallowing our tears and our memories.

We forgot Florida.

When it was time to go, the cardiologist broke my heart. ❤️

He picked up the karaoke mic and sang the song he sang in 1977 before he left home...
Kabhi alvida na kehena
Never say goodbye.
The heart travels too.

Travelling Tales 2

Travelling is not always about places it is about people who live in those places. I am particularly interested in human behaviour especially of people known and unknown.  Coming from environs where the neighbour hood is no longer neighbourly I am charmed by the friendly hi and hello from anybody and everybody I encounter. Be it the postman, the janitor, the dog walking neighbour or the helmet wearing young cyclist. It has made me a friendly person too. I feel less conscious about the exotic ethnicity that I think I exude. 

The super expensive only high end shopping mall called Tyson Galleria with its quietly boasting Omega, Yeves St Lauren's, Gucchi, Saks of Fifth Avenue, Chanel, Armani, Michael Kors , and the shining sleek  Maserati  cars , Calvin Klein , Ralph Lauren had  just a handful of people window shopping. If I were to buy these I would have to move into a mansion in a new neighbour hood. The neighbours may not be as friendly.
What kind of people bought a handbag that cost $3000? Or a suit that cost seven thousand! Or a man perfume for $ 2,350!!!  Couldn't be very nice people.

Thinking my thoughts, I headed towards the exit. A huge glass door barred my way and a gentleman with salt and pepper hair, dressed immaculately in a suit (Armani?) stepped aside holding the door ajar for me, as I stepped out, he ran and opened the second huge glass door smiling. I was overwhelmed. "Thank you thank you " I gushed. " i have not met anybody like you!"  He smiled the handsomest smile I had seen! "I am the last of the American gentlemen left! " he laughed "oh I am joking". " you deserve a hug" I said. It was followed by a big hug, a kiss on my cheek and a, “I am always ready to hug a beautiful woman". I saw the flash of an Omega watch and smelt the whiff of Clive Christian no 1…

People who shop here aren't bad at all. Just different. The heart travels everywhere.

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