Sheena was frustrated. She wanted to pursue her studies abroad. A fiercely liberated soul, she wanted to explore the world and carve a niche for herself. Like her younger brother, she too wanted exposure to the world. Coming from a conservative business family, her grandparents were overpowering. They insisted that a girl must marry before she is twenty-one. Her Rajasthani background worsens it more. Yet Sheena wouldn’t give up. She tried everything she could and convinced her father, who finally gave in, much to the chagrin of her grandfather.
Sheena opted for her favorite subject, Anthropology at the University of Barcelona. Her happiness knew no bounds when the call letter arrived. Overjoyed, she went berserk with revamping her wardrobe. The intervening days were difficult to mitigate.
On the final day, as she left for the airport, she was overcome with an uncanny sense of liberation. She was going to unleash her childhood dream of making the world her home!
The first whiff of the foreign air felt so welcoming.
Almost instantly she realized, she would need to be fluent in the native tongue. All the more happiness!
Exploring her new home away from home she felt awesome. Secretly she resolved to earn herself a scholarship by outshining in her academics. If she could bag a good internship, she would then get to visit the rest of Europe. But Barcelona was so beautiful, she was already loving it.
The next few weeks, she was absorbed in the orientation programme. Meanwhile, she had made a lot of acquaintances and was amazed to learn that certain things were so integral to the entire human race. Especially the initial phase of apprehension.
Her roommate, Maria, was from ‘La Ventas’ and over a weekend she took her to her home.
Sheen was astonished when they served her the typical Spanish dish, ‘Paila’. “Oh, my!” Sheena blurted out. “This is exactly like our Kichdi“. She explained how it was like the commonest of the Indian dish.
During a fest night, she saw Maria’s Flamenco and her jaw dropped. It was exactly like ‘Kalbeliya’, the folk dance of Rajasthan.
In her second semester, she befriended Frank. Dating him, Sheena was on cloud nine. Her eternal fantasy of marrying a foreigner seemed to be coming true soon.
One evening when the young couple was out on a date, Frank told her they were Romanis. Those stories of the gypsies, their famous folklores, were all about his ancestors and their clan. He spoke about their culture, which sounded so similar, even their language. Some words were alarmingly the same! “You seem different. But I must say we are the same!”
Sheena returned and Googled about Romanis and discovered that they had migrated from The West of India, in the first century. Oh, God! And she thought she would run away from her tradition and culture! Destiny is strange, there too in Spain, she found her clan. After all the world is one.️
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