I feel a surge of emotion by looking back on my 19 years of running ASKSiddhi, which I published on the first page on 19th August 2003, in a small room of a typical old wooden apartment in Sagamihara City, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan.
[The First Article of ASKSiddhi] ニューヨーク停電：インドレストランが食事の無料提供 2003.8.19
I shifted to India on that year's 30th September and have been living in Pune since December.
My 19 years in India have passed in the blink of an eye, and ASKSiddhi brought me a lot of incredible and essential friends, opportunities, and contacts and taught me many things.
First of all, India and Pune are far from the kind of utopia where everyone in the world dreams of coming and staying here. Not a single day, we are free from highly dreadful incidents and accidents on our news headlines. Moreover, I cannot help asking myself endless fundamental yet unanswerable questions every moment, such as "what is the reality," "what is to live one's life," what is happiness," "what is values," and "what is to be a human." Walking for a couple of blocks, out in the city by a vehicle, playing the piano, or randomly talking to anybody, I won't be free from those doubts.
Sometimes, I even doubt if we should include Pune as a part of the country of diversity whenever I face people who decidedly advocate their small community's principles as if those are the law of nature.
Still, when I finally came back here in the middle of June after spending about 18 months in my birth country Japan, I reaffirmed that Pune is my stage of life. I would stop my breath but swim through countless incomprehensive, unrelatable, and disgusting realities because I have some people whom I love and care about here in this town.
During my 19 years here, I eyewitnessed dramatic changes in cityscapes and lifestyles; similarly, I feel people's mindset is also progressing however it is slower. My biggest headache was the relationship and interaction with Indian relatives, which is getting better too, without much friction or conflict (well, at least from my side.)
One of ASKSiddhi's purposes of picking up the sound and positive side of chaotic India is never to miss any subtle transformation of the country, which helped me conquer my 20-year-old long anxiety and depression.
While I still have my share of mental challenges to overcome, I shall continue to aspire and grow with India and Pune.
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