London- the capital of England where two out of every five global companies in the world has its headquarters, it's hard to imagine being subjected to racism. But it happens and happened to me or rather us.
According to University Guide, the average number of international students in the UK is more than 430,000 per year.
I, along with some of my new friends decided to try the cuisines of each other's country thereby getting an opportunity to learn more about various cultures. We started by visiting an Indian restaurant in New Cross. After the dinner, we were having a little chinwag about the experience, while also figuring out the way to home for those new students who consider train journeys as walking through a maze.
I was talking to one of my classmates, a Muslim girl, born and brought up in the UK whose parents migrated from Bangladesh. As we were sharing how amazing it was to dive into the culture of different countries, a car slowly moved past us. The speed of the car was nugatory. A head pops out of the window and a voice draws my attention to the face. "Brexit..Brexit..Go Away..'' shouted the man while holding the steering with one hand and showing us the sign of 'out' with the other. I was stunned. It felt like a rain of needles.
I mean, I was nearly killed during an election in India, but this was different. This was an attempt to assault the soul. My brain stopped functioning for a while as if it was asking me how to respond and I had no answer to it. In fact all of us looked at each other as if we were trying convincing ourselves that it didn't happen. I felt like stranded in an island with no signs of life and no hope of getting back home. Every movement around me all of a sudden became slow and the voices distorted.
After shouting gracefully and showing the exit sign generously the gentleman sat back on his seat, revved the engine and zoomed. What stopped was me. I was walking but was not able to move out of that scene. Those ten seconds became like the montage of the evening experience show.
Now the question is what was the man trying to do? Do I have any respect here? How are people like me seen here? That night was soaked in sombre. But finally I think I have an answer for the first aforementioned question i.e. what was the man trying to do by suggesting us to leave the country? The answer is simple. He was trying to hide his complex of being unable to compete fairly with his own people and therefore letting his frustration out in the form of verbal aversion. He was trying to paint a jerkwater image of this city which has a history of welcoming international community since centuries. He was trying to be the face of dissatisfaction fomented by those human beings who envy the glory of unity in diversity. He was trying to tell me that the world has people like him which might bump into me anywhere any time and all I need to do is show compassion for them by considering politically disturbed.
I understand that these worshippers of bellicose jingoism have found a few derailed, detached and detrimental deities on both sides of Atlantic or even my home country, India for that matter, but won't survive long. The wrong of right has tried and failed consistently in the world and would not change the norm. What we need to do is to recognize these people as anti-national. Because any cantankerous bigot should not be given the license to represent the country's view be it a common man or the leader of the free world himself.