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On Love: The dilemma of falling hard for a country

"This love was intoxicating"

Born in Delhi, Aditya moved to Australia in his 20s. Ha is a multi-talented human -  a published author who now works as a content marketing manager, studies screenwriting and tries being funny whenever he can. For this week’s ‘On Love’, I speak to him about the kind of love we barely talk about - the love for one’s country. The all-consuming emotion of wanting to go above and beyond for the motherland is common in post-colonial countries.


So, how does it feel when you fall out of love with home?

I fall in and out of love all the time. I see love as a fleeting, changing feeling.


What’s the last thing I fell out of love with?


This is a weird answer, but - let's go with it.


So some years ago, a new political party started in Delhi - when they began, it felt like they were going to fix politics and do everything right. I was so inspired by them that I moved to India from Australia just to work for them. I thought it’d change the country.


I moved there as a volunteer. We were all volunteers working without pay - the driving force was this feeling we all felt, a deep love for our country. It was such a powerful feeling, way more potent than any intimate relationship I’d had. And some of those were powerful.


This love was intoxicating. It drove me to work for free for two years and thousands of volunteers to work insane hours. I’d work 18, 20 hours a day without thinking twice. I loved every second of it, and I didn’t want anything in return—that feeling, that collective force of love - what a driver it was. And the political party cultivated that by reminding us that you’re doing this for your country!


I didn’t wake up one day and fall out of love with the political party, but eventually, I was so broke that I had to return. They started to win some elections - the more they won, the more they began to look like all the other political parties around.


When I look back on that intense love of country - I don’t feel that anymore. The idea of a country itself - any country - is absurd when you think about it. Someone once decided that this piece of land is called this.  It’s not that I don’t love India; I just don’t feel that strong, intense feeling borne from the collective force of everyone I worked with.


I get it when I see insane nationalism worldwide - like all that madness with Trump in the States. It’s powerful - a bunch of people firmly saying we’re all in this together. It’s just a different version of the same feeling I felt.


The experience gave me the key to enjoying my life. I came away knowing what makes me happy; I need to be a part of things that are bigger than myself. I started writing about things I cared about and doing comedy. I wrote a book about the impact of porn in India - there’s hardly any sex education there, and I thought that’s something I could write about. And I started doing comedy, you can’t go wrong with trying to make people laugh. 


The more you live on this planet, the more nuanced your thoughts on love become. Ask me again at another age, and my answer will probably be different again. I’m just going to keep trying to make the world better in my own way.

Liked reading 'On Love'? I will be speaking with a South Asian person about what it means to them regularly for this column. If you have a story you'd like to share with me, DM me! You'll find my handle in the bio below.


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About the author

Sashi Perera is a Sri Lankan Australian comedian, writer and recovering lawyer. She was featured on the UK's 2021 Funny Women Awards 'Ones to Watch’ List and was part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival in 2021 and 2022. She's constantly inspired by love in all its forms and writes a regular column for South Asian Today, ‘On Love’. Instagram | @sashbomb



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