Saturday, October 29, 2005

Dog of the Wind


Since Prema asked me to join here and write I thought maybe my first piece should be an introduction to who I am. The simplest would be to say "I am a mongrel". For a long time that worried me, but in recent years I've realised there's a lot of joy in being a mongrel.

I was born in Africa in a British colony. At first I thought I was British. Well... for three years I WAS British, but then Southern Rhodesia declared it's own independence and I became a member of a rebellious non-acceptable country instead. Then Rhodesia became Zimbabwe and they took away my nationality. Now I belong nowhere. I thought I was British, but then I did my family tree and found that I had as many ancestors walking Europe and the Middle East as I had in the British Isles. I thought I was Christian, but when I went to school my religious teacher told me my beliefs weren't "right" and researching our family tree led me to distant Muslim cousins in Turkey, one Buddhist, some Jewish family in America and way too many Christian variations to list.

So I have thought a lot of things only to find out they were illusions. The truth is I am a mongrel. I have no country I can hold as my ancestral home, not even a single continent I can claim as "mine". I have no single religion that runs through my family history alone. When I look in the mirror I see my grandmother's Irish face, my grandfather's Scottish nose, my father's English hair.. and in all this European-ness I have Persian eyes from some long lost ancestor.

There's a saying in Southern Africa - to be a "dog of the wind". Something homeless and restless, a person who has no roots. I am a dog of the wind and it can feel lonely. For a while it made me feel rather lost, but then I remember the blessings it brings me. If I belong to nothing I can also belong to everything. If I stand with my ancestry on different continents I can be a bridge between different cultures. I can enter many places of religion and find God... at times like that it feels good to be a mongrel. :-)

So I'm going to write from my own mongrel viewpoint. My British-Colonial mixed-up cultural muddled-religious self. I hope it will entertain more than it offends, but mostly I hope it helps to add another layer to prema's wonderful stories of her own culture and childhood memories.


Premalatha said...

Wow. I didn't know this much about you Michelle. I am glad you accepted my invitation which has given me this opportunity to get to know you. I used to sing a song (to mysself) "muzafir hun yaaro, no ghar hai, na tikkana, mujhe chalke jaana hai, bus, chalke jaana". This is a hindi song. It means that, "I am a passerby/traveller. I have no home and nothing to holding me to one place. I just have to keep going. yes, just have to keep going.. " I used to cry, out of self pity. It is a song very close to my heart and explains my whole life in couple of sentences. Actually, the one reason I still want to hold on to "kombai" is that I have lost that one thing every one longs for, including myself, that is "belonging". I don't belong there anymore. I have nothing to hold me down there. I don't belong where I live. I have referred myself several times that "I am neither here nor there". I am a mongrel too. You have rightly said, belonging to nothing makes us belong to everything. Thanks for that.


I was thinking of changing the name of the blog. But, recently I came to know that in some areas, uncultured people are referred as "kombian"!!!! No, I don't take it offensive. It has anthropological meaning, that kombai has the bread of dogs that were very early time dogs.

Well regadring the kombai dogs, it is believed and also researched and documented that the species of dogs had originated from India. They had evolved from wolves. Of the three species of wolves the dogs had evolved from only one and that species is found only in india and hence that conclusion. from,347388,347457#msg-347457

Also, you know that some tribes in indonesia are "kombai" and ever since I have learnt this, I am interested in knowing the meaning of this name "kombai". this particular reference (Kombian) does give more interest.

So, it looks like, kombai is the place of origin, which we have long left and we long for, and belong no more.

Please do suggest if you think of anyother name. We will change it. :)

Premalatha said...

Something homeless and restless, a person who has no roots. I am a dog of the wind and it can feel lonely.

It feels like as if the description is about me.

Michelle said...

Hi prema!

Hey, I never would have guessed you felt "homeless" too. I know what you mean exactly about that feeling of "belonging". It is a very lonely feeling, but it can be freeing too. It depends on the mood. On good days it feels free. On bad days I can wallow in feeling sorry for myself.

I'm glad you invited me here. I am looking forward to getting to know you better too. :)

And if I think of an idea for a better name I'll let you know, but so far I think Kombai fits very nicely. Especaially with the extra information about the dogs.

பத்மா அர்விந்த் said...

It is a great post. Premlatha,
I like that song. It gives e a feeling of freedom and nothing holds me down. I a driving a jeep thorugh the roads that are curvy and wing blowing on my face. I enjoy that song.
it is true I have no place where I can say that I belong to that place. At times I feel the same with country too.

Premalatha said...

Thanks for dropping by Padma (the previous comment was by Padma). The post was written by Michelle, the other contributor of this blog.

I have become a crazy fan of Gulzar after I first heard that song, well with that picturisation the lyrics gets really accentuated, doesn't it. :)

I am surprised (well, not technically) to know that there are few more out there, feeling lonely, and "not belonging" as well.

Well, Join the club!!:)

ammani said...

Interesting post, Michelle. Dog of the wind...very evocative. Having roots, sometimes I wonder if that's a good thing or a bad thing. My feet feel so firmly anchored when my heart wants to wander. In a sense root is where you feel you belong. I know of a Canadian friend who believes her spirit belongs in India. And I know of a few Indian friends who feel more at home in America.

Michelle said...

Hi Ammani

You know, I think sometimes our hearts find their own "homes" regardless of what our culture or ancestry might be.


Amias said...

Michelle, like a baby I am sitting here crying. All my life I have felt like of “dog of the wind" --- but could not understand it until now. How could a dark-skinned child, born in the state of Mississippi, feel this way or even live this way, as I have? I only know of three of my roots, two by way of where I was born, and the other one spiritually.

When I was a baby my brother dropped in the fireplace, but I didn’t get burned, this is the story my family have told me all my young life. It put a wall between us that has never been removed. When I was a child, I spoke a different language. Now a days I only speak this language when I am coming out of surgery, or when I am so tired I can not control what I say. The doctors are amaze and they tell me about it. My family on the other hand seems to be afraid of me.

There was something about me that made my family fear me more than anything, even when I was a child --- I was isolated from everyone and always asked questions that no one answered. The old folks in my village took pity on me. I was a quiet soul, and always stayed by myself. My mother had thirteen children, I was the tenth one. Everyone paired up except me. I was never wanted, and would only be given attention when someone died.

Like I said, I didn't belong nowhere. I made friends with the grass and cotton stalks. They were my friends. Yes, I had a hard life, but from it "Amias" was born in 1992 --- my spirit revealed itself --- and I have sought my place every since. I used to be a pet project of the old women in my village, but they are long gone now, and only speak to me in spirit.

I write to find my sisterhood, my roots. My bridge to a place where I feel a part of; as I am a hermit, these days --- I live in "raw" loneliness, and find solace only within my own space, if you can understand what I mean.

I am working on this book called "The Fifth Element: Either, Or, In-between revealed" and the SEC chart I placed on my blog is a part of it -- but right now I am at a standstill. I posted the SEC Clock to see if someone knew me, the inner me --- if my sisterhood could step forth, as the old women said they would when I was sixty earth years, or close to it. I am 59 and will be sixty earth years in November of this year.

Oh I do go on, but this post and the one you left me at my blog sparked something inside me and I so desired to reveal myself, in hopes that someone see me and leads me to the right bridge – to my true place and purpose.

Oh thank you so much for coming to my blog, somehow I feel like a kindred soul, and I don't quite know how to explain that.


Michelle said...


What a wonderful and humbling response to my words. I don't know what to say!

Namaste, in the truest sense of the word.

Something just occured to me - how homesickness can also be a case of not being born where you know you belong.

I've sent you an email. Hope it gets to you. If not, let me know, please?

Michelle said...

oh wow, and I nearly forgot!

My husband fell into the fire as a baby - he wasn't burnt either.

I never expected to meet two miracle babes in one lifetime.

Amias said...

Ha! I am not alone! You don't know how normal it makes me feel to know someone else was dropped in fire and didn't get burn.

On the other side of that coin, if I touch fire now I will burn. I think I lost my magic. LOL.

Thank you Michelle, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Wow! I feel so light now, like some weight has been lifted off my spirit.