A bit uneasy at home

DISTANT GOALS

A bit uneasy at home

 City-based colleges have become second homes to the students from the North-East.

Home is, at least, 3,000 kilometres away for all the North-Easterners, who make their way to Bangalore with shy smiles firmly in place. These kids make their journey here in search of a better life.

Colleges across the City have become second homes for these students. Most of them come here because they have relatives who are already settled in the City, like Clinton  Luwang, a Manipuri, who followed his brother here. Some come for reasons that are more interesting, like Mangal Ngariyambam, “I thought it was cool. A lot of international rock bands used to come to Bangalore, so I thought it’s cool to come here.”

When asked what they think about the City, they sing in unison, “The weather is wonderful.” Dig a little deeper and they’ll tell you they are glad about the opportunities the City provides them with and the friends they’ve made. Tula Longchar, a Naga, elaborates, “The education here is good. Bangalore is nice place. I have a lots of local friends here. I had plans of leaving Bangalore but I just can’t.”

Luwang added an economic angle to this sentiment, saying, “It has many opportunities for people who want to do software. I hope to do software.”

All this sounds utterly harmonious but there is a darker side to the story. “Other than my local friends, the rest call us Chinese, Chinky or Chingchongchu and utter some words. That’s one thing that pisses me off,” says Longchar. Ngariyambam adds, “Some people look down upon us. They think the girls are cheap and the boys party a lot. My old owners always had this look of disapproval on her face.”

Dealing with this must be a hard proposition. So what do they do? “Sometimes you feel like kicking their face or calling them names. Sometimes you ignore them. This racial thing will be there anywhere. There are ignorant people everywhere. I don’t judge people,” says Ngariyambam.

He pauses, thinks for a bit and continues, “I know Bangalore pretty well. I speak a little Kannada. I understand a little, but I can tell what they are saying by observing their body language. Like when I speak to an auto driver and he’s talking to another auto driver and they are talking about cheating me, I can tell by looking at them. I eat at a lot of local places. Once I start talking to the locals in Hindi, they become interested in me and start talking to me. That’s alright.”

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