With Irreverence Towards All – A monthly column on the musings and rants from a Bay Area Indian American about all that ails, affects, or matters to Desis here and across these fine United States. Many will disagree, and sometimes aggressively.
I know this column often takes on a tough position about some of our life experiences but this time I’ll try and not go on a rant — it’s Thanksgiving after all! As I reflect on the year since last Thanksgiving, there is a lot to be thankful for. In 2020, we were still in the grip of a deadly pandemic facing a largely uncertain future. The year had seen unrest and unpleasantness aplenty, and the COVID-deniers were still about (I know some of them are still shouting themselves hoarse).
So, let us start with the number one thing we should all be grateful for (even the anti-vaxxers, because they benefit from this) – the health care professionals who have been doing incredible work for all of us, and yes, the vaccines. It is absolutely indisputable that without tremendous vaccinations efforts here and abroad our entire species would be in a much worse state. I know some of you who are die-hard anti-vaxxers or doubters will want to argue, but please take that somewhere else, and if in a rare moment of good sense, you see the light, then please get yourself and your families vaccinated. Period.
I am proud to note that a number of Gurdwaras have opened their doors – like they often do – to serve their communities with vaccination drives and campaigns. They have shown the world what the Sikh faith asks of its practitioners and what it means for making the world a better place. I’m grateful for this demonstration of service and devotion, and hopeful that this is what people will remember and not some crazed fundamentalist separatist group’s depraved and deranged activity. I’m grateful that this community service is a shining example for the desi community.
I’m grateful for the “atmospheric rivers” in October that put an end to that horrific season of forest fires. For those who blame forest fires on poor forest management alone, I’d like them to understand that nature doesn’t like what we’ve done to our planet. While better forest management is definitely a core need, we have to acknowledge that climate change is making things so much harder. That annoying discipline called “science” makes it very clear that we need a comprehensive approach. A discussion for another day perhaps? We need more rain, but I’m grateful for what we have already received.
For those of us who live in the SF Bay area, we should be thankful that we have the good fortune of not depending upon the land for our livelihood and that our essential workers have given us the space to rest assured that there will be food on the table. I was in the northeastern part of California a couple of weeks ago and experienced the desperation of the ranchers and the farming community that must depend upon water for their prosperity and, perhaps, existence. With depleting water tables, their old way of life is on life support…
I am incredibly grateful for the good sense that has prevailed in the family of a close friend when his brother came out. While for years there has been speculation that he was gay, it was always one of those things that desi families pretend is not happening. The reactions to his act of courage ranged from uplifting to emotionally crushing. The negative reactions were largely based on “what will people say” or “how will we explain this.” In 21st century America, this is shocking. Or, is it? Observing from the sidelines, it occurs to me that homophobia is, unfortunately, alive and well in the desi community. In the meantime, it was good to know that at least one of his parents was genuinely supportive, and I am optimistic that my friend’s brother will settle into this new chapter of his life without too much further acrimony.
I am also thankful for global role models like Rafael Nadal – one of the all-time tennis greats. Speaking in an interview recently, he said that those who do not want to get vaccinated against Covid-19 are a bit selfish. This Thanksgiving let us work extra hard at not being selfish. Let’s do the right thing for everyone. Get vaccinated (I got my booster shot recently), then hold your family close and enjoy a safe Thanksgiving!
Still quite irreverently yours,
Darpan is a Bay Area artiste with a background in technology and finance. He shares his unfiltered views on a broad range of topics. He agrees to be restrained only by editorial diktat.