Border and the Brave Pirate of Abu Dhabi

People

Border and the Brave Pirate of Abu Dhabi

Illustration: Akshita Monga

I

spent the formative years of my life in Abu Dhabi in the UAE. Like all desi children who grew up outside India, I derived a sense of a distant home through Bollywood, measuring out our allegiance to India through Pardes and Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. But it wasn’t until Border, which released 20 years ago today, that I really understood the meaning of patriotism and what it could make homesick NRIs do.

My parents were first-generation immigrants. My father had left his home in Jodhpur at the age of 20 to find work in the Gulf as a textile-shop salesman. Because he left home at such a young age, he never stopped missing it. In his memories of childhood, he was a “lion on the streets of Jodhpur” – and even though he exchanged one desert for another, he was an alien in Abu Dhabi.

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