I rewatched Chak De India last night. I was struck by the innocence of it all—that in 2007 it was possible to release a film in India that emphasized coming together as a team over belonging to any state or religion. This, with the foreshadowing of trials by media, by public opinion.
"Simpler times." This is the phrase that popped in my head. India is no longer the country it was in 2007. Somewhere, the fault lines that came with the postcolonial condition stretched into gaps that swallowed many claims to belonging.
I found myself aching for the possibility sketched out in the movie. Where, being inspired to cooperate for a collective goal was the only thing standing between dissension and an acceptance of unity amidst difference.
I am writing this in a sunny balcony in San Francisco. On a land with a different history. Where, I notice, my own claims to belonging have never quite settled. Even though I have been in this country through various visa statuses since 2008, that the U.S. is "home" is not a settled matter. And, we are living in times of such emergence, where chaos must necessarily be experienced so as to shift some of the dynamics that have settled our societies into unjust configurations. I am a guest here. Native indigenous protocol reminds us that those of us that are non-native are guests upon the land. I want to live as a good guest. And, I also want to experience a ground that allows me to grow: laterally, under the Earth, towards the sky. "Home."
To make home on an Earth where we as a species are dispossessing so many other species. Where the very bioclimatic conditions are undergoing a kind of transformation that will change the meaning of "home" for many species.
I turn back to Gloria Anzaldúa's notion of the borderlands. Borderlands are continually shifting. Stasis is not the point. But a better "home," more resilient definitions of inclusiveness and belonging that are engendered through collaboration and partnership. We can ask for them.
My favorite moment in The Queen's Gambit has to be (spoiler ahead) when Beth Harmon walks out of the car taking her to the airport and away from the expectations and obligations placed upon a winner, towards a group of people playing the game for the love of it. To remember the love, especially after a triumph, is to take a long draught of what will sustain you in the game.
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