Monday, January 28, 2013


At last, digging out from drafts...

I had thought, to write a post about US, as soon as I am back... and had a lot to write. But few weeks of hectic office are enough to wipe off everything else in the mind. 

I must not deny, I went to US with a lot of prejudice and a determination, almost to a fault, not to like this country. In fact, I knew I would hate it, and the visit would just confirm it.
I began right, hating the long time it took to clear the customs and rules in this country.

There were sooo, sooo many people of different races everywhere. Whites, browns, blacks, Asians all living, rightfully claiming their share. May be a lot of them crib, missing their country, or  customs, saying that there is no place like their country, but what you can't deny is that they are still there. In fact, I was quite amazed to see so many non-authentic-americans there. It became a game for us, to guess the nationality/origin of different people. It was then, it began to go wrong. My hatred began turning to dislike and then was wiped of. Agreed, that in giving employment to all these people, US is gaining in terms of economy, yet the fact is that, so are those coming and settling there. 

So, instead of writing about why I don't like this country, here are some incidents:

The guy who refused to go down: We were going to Niagara falls in a tour bus. The 50 odd people in the bus were a mix of Indians, Chinese, Japanese, Europeans and one young lone American boy. Enroute, we stopped at the top of Watkins-Glen Gorge, and the tour guide told us all in different ways that we all will go down the gorge where the bus will come. Everybody, reached down on time, except the one American, who for some reasons decided to go back to the top and call from there. Why? We would never know. Perhaps, he wasn't used to listening and accepting???

The guys who wouldn't see two confused people: We were on a train, holding a map, wondering where to get down. Looking at each other, thoroughly confused. A typical teenager looking guy walks up to us, talks in Urduish-Hindi, tells us where we should get down and goes back to listing to his music. Thank Yous and gratitude following him :)
Another scene at the train station. We were trying to take the parking ticket and the train ticket from the machine. Struggled for some time with the train ticket, it didn't seem to work for us. Not knowing whether the machine is not working or it just hates us, we wondered the next course of action. A guy from a group of young boys shouted 'It ain't working. Go to the one down the hall'. You can't hate them for this.

The guy who did tell the way: We rented a  car, but could not get any GPS. Still, riding on adventure, sheer confidence and a belief that maps should work too, we drove off in New Jersey. Only to circle a block thrice, before realizing so. Asked an old gentleman, who had the patience to stand for 5 minutes, guiding very thoroughly. I could't call this country a fast-paced-one after this!!!

The girls who didn't stop talking: Walking in a shopping mall, you could hear from 10 aisles away, how American girls shop and talk :D They could give us a competition in being loud in general!!!

Manhattan: Just loved it... All the scenes from different serials showing New York played several times in my mind. I was foolishly looking for Phoebe in the Central Park or Ted on the streets :D

We shall have our culture

When we Indians are asked how we feel about our country, the answers will vary based on our mood. A sense of sadness or disgust in recent times over gender violence, state apathy, corruption, etc. And a sense of pride and happiness over Indian culture in more "normal" times.

But, I wonder if we have not just exaggerated Indian culture and reached to this state. Are all our problems not a manifestation, misuse or misinterpretation of our culture.

Isn't our obsession with our culture partly responsible for our state? We are following the culture, forgetting the intent and base. The dogma is there, but the truth and reason behind it is forgotten conveniently. Or is it that when we weren't looking, someone took all Indian scriptures book, removed out all the roles and responsibilities of men, highlighted the ones of women and called it culture???

Women should not go out alone in the night. Women should not be working out late in the night. They should be nicely covered, shouldn't tempt men. They should not loose their virginity before marriage. They should be maintaining the household and accept the man chosen to be their husband?

What about the part of Indian culture where men were supposed to look after, honor and protect their wives? When it was the princesses who had their Swayamvar and chose their groom amongst the many eligible men? When rape, domestic violence and torture were unheard of. When it was a sin to lust any woman other than your wife?

But now we have given up the idea of 'Ideal Men'. We are talking about real men, men with lust and greed. And we are still talking about 'Ideal women'. Its an unfair comparison. Either, we should teach our boys and men to be ideal and deal strongly if they wander off. Or we should accept the reality and just honor one ground rule, you are not allowed to hurt anyone.