Yours, mine and ours is a title of an old comedy Hollywood movie mainly showing the life of a couple who were married earlier, divorced their respective partners and established a new relationship among themselves. Both had children from their previous marriages, and with their new relationship. They were living with three sets of children. The movie is about life of these three sets of children living under one roof. The heroin was Lucille Ball (known as Lucy), who is often seen managing these mischievous children. The children do not hesitate to show their love for the real brothers and sisters, and hate for the step brothers and sisters. The title of the movie is all about discriminating acts of these children. A migrant in a new country is like a child in this family, where the migrant associates with some as ‘Mine’, with others as ‘Your’ and when integrated well with a few in the new country, he associates with them as ‘Ours’. For example, migrants own values based on his cultural background are ‘mine’. His perception about the country he comes to (in this case Australia) is ‘yours’. Majority of them come out of this mine and yours and learn to live in their new environment, make compromises becomes ‘ours’. There are no clearly defined boundaries, no hard and fast rules. Values even overlap, might be slightly different for different people, depending on their attitude, perception and family background. In short value is not a crisp concept; rather it is a fuzzy system. However, so long as differences remain within boundaries, they never come on surface to attract attention of masses but when these differences are out of kilter, an imbalance is experienced resulting in a social quake. Consequences are related to the power of that quake.
In the following we are inviting migrants to put forward their experiences of such imbalances experienced by them. The purpose is to collect such incidences experienced by the migrants and eventually it may become an interesting reading and also such a collection may serve as a lesson to new migrants. Sharing your experience can only enrich that experience. It does not reflect any thing on you; rather it reflects that you care for others. Here is one I would like to share and more in the future. Contributions/comments are welcome
1. A real incident from the life of a bilingual migrant child
As a migrant from the Hindi speaking region of India, my son, who migrated to Australia at the age of two, after some time was able to communicate in Hindi and English, like any other child of his age will do. He was also able to switch from one to another language depending upon his surroundings. He was not a school going child, but did go to babysitter. When we went to India to meet our family, he found it difficult to communicate with them in Hindi and they did not feel comfortable to communicate with him in English, thus communication was breaking. In a week or so, he picked up Hindi, and enjoyed playing with his new friends and became comfortable with them. After five weeks when we returned back to Melbourne, he forgot his bilingual abilities, went to his babysitter and told her all about India in Hindi. She listened to him without any interruption and when he finished, she told him that she has not understood a word. These words were in English. At this stage, his bilingual abilities were reborn and the child smiled on his error.
This was clearly an imbalance of ‘mine, yours and ours’ for this child.
Santosh Kumar, Feb. 2010