The standard family instructions to communicate my heart’s desire and to contemplate the past and future come together in the celebration moment.
Last year, I was getting ready to go spend time with the Gypsies for the first time in France. This day, I am preparing to leave again for a second trip in August and I’ll hopefully carry wisdom that didn’t exist in me last year. If I am still just as dumb now as I was then, that would be disappointing.
The original founders of the Roma/Gypsy people left North Western India over 1500 years ago and were pushed into the Byzantine Empire. Their two waves traveled through Europe as far north as Sweden and via the south through Egypt (where the name ‘Gypsy’ is derived) and northern Africa. Both streams converged in France. And I’ll converge again there, too. And I will hold dear faces in my hands and look into sapphire eyes.
I don’t understand why everyone doesn’t love Gypsies. Especially now that the beloved heir to the British throne, Prince William Duke of Wales, has been identified as having Gypsy blood…
Or rather Gypsy Cousin blood.
Apparently six generations ago on Princess Diana’s side, someone named Eliza Kewark took up with an Englishman connected to the East India Trading Company named Theodore Forbes. Princess Di’s family had always thought that Eliza was Armenian. Genetic analysis instead has revealed that her blood contained markers unique to the North Western portion of Gujarat in India, and Nepal. This roughly corresponds to the area from which the first Roma/Gypsy people emigrated when Mahmud of Ghazni raided Rajasthan, next door neighbor of Gujarat.
Racial purists had their hand in selecting who would be used to breed the next king. They thought they had a blue-ribbon mare with Diana. Stories even circulated that she had some aristocratic heritage that was even more impressive than the house of Windsor.
Last summer, one of the Gypsy leaders told me how much their people had loved Di and how they felt an understanding of the troubles she had gone through. In Paris on the street above the tunnel where she died, there is a glittering gold monument. The Flame of Liberty had actually been given to the people of France on behalf of the International Herald Tribune in 1989 to commemorate its 100th anniversary of publishing an English-language daily paper there. It is an exact replica of the flame held by the Stature of Liberty in NYC. Most people think though that the flame is in honor of Diana who died below.
It turns out that Lady Di was an Anglo-Indian, a despised subclass that arose from convenient liaisons with Chutney Marys…and now the future king has mixed blood.
Thankfully. The facial features of the Windsor clan were beginning to look a bit troubling. Their eyes had been moving closer together and their teeth getting longer with each successive generation. The hybrid vigor that makes mongrels prized and sturdy pups was needed to strengthen the thin blue blood. Now the world has been enjoying watching the princes grow into handsome, intelligent and deep-voiced young men with features that have shifted back into more pleasing symmetry. Di was just what was needed.
Curiosity and even pride about lineage seems to be present in every culture. The Gypsies told me that they didn’t like the former president Sarkozy partly because he wasn’t a true blood but his line had come from Hungary, while their Gypsy community could accurately trace their direct line back at least 600 years in France.
For me, I am glad that I am particularly American with the convoluted backstory that that entails. I come from those who had been cherished and illegitimate, coddled and despised, first class and marginalized.
The only ingredient I possibly lack in the Mulligatawny that I am is that part about which the House of Windsor can now boast. I am Indian, but not Indo.
I’m not a Gypsy by blood, but I have hope to be grafted into the vine by love.
NEXT TIME: An Answer to a Question…
Picture of Me, bald.