Bangali is the name given to me by my friends. It is because my mother tongue is Bengali language. Nobody would have called me Bangali in Bengal because everybody is Bangali there. Only because I was born and brought up on Orissa and I am not a Oriya that is the reason I was different from others. I always liked to be identified as somebody different so I liked this name. I used to introduce myself as Bangali because I loved it. I never felt bad nor anybody called me Bangali because they were discriminating. All my friends call me Bangali with love and affection. I have great affinity towards Oriya language and literature. Many a times I proudly claim that I can speak, write and think better oriya than any of my Oriya friends.
Then after my engineering I moved to Calcutta with the expectation to get better opportunity (Not because it is Bengal but because Calcutta is the closest big city) and I joined a software course there. I made many new friends although no as soon as I reached but over the months. Once they became close to me they started calling me Oodey, that is because I am from the state Orissa. I somewhat did not like that because I loved to be called as Bangali because my best friends used to call me that since childhood. But I hardly had any say. I developed great interest to Bengali language, songs and books.
Then I moved to Bangalore in search of job. There I realized that I have been tagged as North Indian. Although nobody called me as Northy or something like that but I had been grouped separately. This time I was not tagged as a person from one specific state of India rather as part of a group of states. I purchased a flat there and that address became my permanent residence. My daughter was boen there and has a Birth Certificate in Kannada language. I used to claim I am a Kannadiga but this time I could not learn the language much but I love Kannada food and dicipline of Kannadigas’ a lot.
Then I moved to Vadodara which is in the state of Gujarat. More than 3 years since passed and I had not been tagged so far but here comes the real confusion. When somebody asks me where as you from, the answer is bit lengthy. I answer this questions “Bengali, born and brought up in Orissa and have a permanent reseidence at Bangalore (Karnataka) now a Vadodarian since last 3 years”. Now it is up to the person who asked the question to decide whether I am a Bangali, Ooodey, Northy, Kannadiga or Vadodarian. I really do not mind being any of the above now.
Now I am sitting in the Frankfurt airport. I am sure none of my previous identities hold good any more. People must me looking at me and tagging me as South Asian.
– Stray Dog