Monday, July 13, 2009

Pet Peeve Part 1

I decided in favor of writing about my Pet Peeve. There are two big ones presently, hence this will be a 2 part blog. Since its a peeve there are extreme emotions involved here, namely anger....which strips this blog off some rationality and adds some prejudice. So the disclaimer is, that these are my emotions... and anyone who reads can agree or disagree. I like the average American who is very friendly and approachable albeit a little dumb. Its not about them.

I imagine that love for one's country is not a strange emotion or does it depend on the country your are residing in or a national of. I am an Indian National temporarily residing in the US thanks to hubby's job. He works for an Indian IT company. I wanted to get this fact out of the way because I hope it leaves less room for the possibility of double standards.

Over the course of my stay here I have met and formed friendships with many Indians. Indians who are so, by their birth but not by their choice since they have either acquired a US Citizenship or are in the process of doing so (desperately). I am OK with this so far. After all we are born into our families, nations and religions and we may want to cut off those ties at any time for a variety of, lifestyle, lack of promising career opportunities....I repeat I am fine with all that. Each one to his own.

But what gets me a little red in the face not with embarrassment but with anger when I hear these Indians with American citizenship, people who have adopted a new country talk about India in such terms:

1. India is becoming just like US actually worse...the girls don't want to wear Indian dresses, they are disrespectful and 'fast'. They have forgotten their culture.

2. India mein kitnee gandgee hai ( India is very dirty). Don't know how people use the bathrooms when travelling in the trains.

3. Global warming is not a surprise. Have you seen what's happening in Nano cars will only add to the poisonous cheap, everybody will drive cars.

4. I want to go back but can never go back because my children fall sick in India.

5. I wanted to stay but the system stinks in India....corruption all around.

And so much more.........

My replies sometimes aloud and sometimes in my head only:

1. Yes things are changing and fast. But we still cannot compete against the likes of prom (high school grad party) culture here..where many parents actually give the money to book hotel rooms for post party revelry (read mostly sex,drugs and booze. We might follow suit but I fervently pray we don't. But such double standards I swear! I have seen people act in such impossibly cruel ways towards their children and aging parents all in the name of career,money or a piece of paper..GC or Citizenship. What kind of culture is that, may I ask? Oh yes it is TCBP... "The Culture of Being Practical"

2. Yes India bahut hi gandaa hai...the roads, the rivers...But hello! you live in a country which is the largest contributor of global warming however much it denies it and wants to pass this crown to China. Oh ! but you don't see it because they like to dump their trash in our oceans. And sell their toxic waste to our susceptible and greedy population. And of course abiding by the rules of 'Do Not Litter' is a new religion for you. A religion which takes back seat as you drive past the International airport in Mumbai and throw your boarding pass out of the car or spit with an abandonment on the road. And I find such discussions very offensive when my family and friends back home are travelling in those very trains you look down upon now.
And you are worried about the number of cars? Residing in a country which probably has more cars than people. Or are you feeling foolish that the upward mobility you left your country for is becoming the order of the day there. Not to worry,it will be a long time till we truly catch up.

4.. Children fall sick in India???????? Anybody would after travelling cross continent in a plane...a breeding ground for e-coli and stomach virus. And as if that was not enough the heat will certainly steal some of your American weather bred steam. And if all the life long allergies which are still unheard of, in hot and dirty India, do not faze you, why should a temporary bout of diarrhea leave you so frazzled.

5. System certainly stinks in India. Once it did not, many, many years ago. But then it does now, for the last many, many years.
In the US the system does not stink ( I am not sure the Iraqis, Afghans, Iranians and many not so obvious groups share the same high opinion though). But then systems were not free of reproach and left a bad taste in the mouth for the African slaves, for women who had no right to education and vote, for the native Americans who are now relegated to reservations. Things changed but not automatically. Someone or some people were willing to sweat and sacrifice.
Bana banaya pakwaan khaana bahut asaan hai. I hate so many things in India. But have I worked to change any of them? I am like so many others waiting for someone to do it for me. Then why complaint or complaint so much.

I am not blind to the chaos in my home but its my personal chaos.And once you choose another nation over lose some if not all of that right to criticize and publicly complaint.


D said...

With you on every single word there. Despise those double standards! People who've lived more than half their lives in India forget that they do owe to their country some part of their success. I'm surprised that all that they remember of thei country is the gandagi!

Amrita said...

I concur with everything you said. Take the onus and clean the clutter of ur house. Standing outside and commenting is very easy.

Anonymous said...

With you all the way!

1. India is changing.. and how can that not happen? With all the exposure - isn't it just natural? I am not going to go on which is better - I just hate this concept. Once an NRI (very old time - 25-30 yrs here) told me that his family is more 'Indian' than we are.. I wonder what parameters are used to define 'Indian'!

2. These very people will go to India and contribute to the gandgee. People who will follow all the rules abroad - but don't think for a moment to flaunt everything once in India.

3. The hype against Nano cars is so irritating. I find it appalling that people who protest think of nothing when they have huge gas guzzling 4*4s - b they grudge the common man in India - comfortable transport?

4. My personal experience has been that we do not fall sick in India. We fall sick because the schedules are so hectic, we have so much packed in, in the little time that we are there.. Allerigies sadly have reached India too :(

5. System.. well we are part of the system, aren't we? And as they say - if you are not part of the solution - then you are probably part of the problem...

Nisha said...

i agree with u completely! i dont know how people develop these feelings towards their own country...even im away from it...and ever since i miss India all the more.

Anrosh said...

i have to say this. a friends wife once told me, "india meh sab kitne gandhe hai".

My reply was - the dirt on the clothes and the the body can be washed.

And further more, do not call poverty dirty. people do not live dirty out of choice. If they also can afford a nicer place of stay, and if they get decent wages, they will also wear fresher and nicer clothese.

Anrosh said...

and the last sentence was -

Dirty attitudes takes eons of perseverance and an open mind to clean up, dirt, dust and grime can be washed in minutes, don't you think ?

Chrysalis said...

D: Pitri rin/rishi rin/rashtra rin meaning what we oew to our parents, rishis and nation are an alien concept today.

Amrita: "Take the onus and clean the clutter of ur house." EXACTLY!

Smitha: "More Indians than Indians in India" something I have heard over and over does one define their eagerness to take on the citizenship of another country BUT dress Indian when fancy takes them (they look for opportunities to wear their sarees and suits)???

I agree how proudly they drive their gas guzling SUV's many an Indian frame dwarfed in that monostrosity.

Oh ya the schedules are crazy and that leads to sickness most definitely. Something so simple is so difficult to understand is it?

System...the system did not work for you so you RAN!!! now why make talking about that very system your favorite passtime.

I am so glad you agree with me.

Chrysalis said...

Nisha: I think I undersatnd the psychology behind it..but it makes me no less angry when I bear witness to it.

Anrosh:"Dirty attitudes takes eons of perseverance and an open mind to clean up, dirt, dust and grime can be washed in minutes, don't you think ?"

Beautifully said Anrosh and so true. What worries me more is the gandgee of the mind than the body and space around me. Well to those who say that youcan change the vacation do not have to come to India and suffer.

Anonymous said...

And you know what, I meet so many people who are surprised that we do not plan to settle here - the next question they ask is - 'Why - don't you like the life here?' How do I tell each of them that I want to be in India, I have roots there, family, friends - we are here just because our jobs bring us here.. And some even say - 'Lets see what you say after 2 or 3 years'!

Anonymous said...

I would certainly agree that the anger is justified when some people talk disparagingly of India.

its not befitting .

I would echo Anrosh's words..she has said it beautifully.

do not call poverty dirty. people do not live dirty out of choice. If they also can afford a nicer place of stay, and if they get decent wages, they will also wear fresher and nicer clothese.

dirty attitudes takes eons of perseverance and an open mind to clean up, dirt, dust and grime can be washed in minutes, don't you think ?

Chrysalis said...

Smitha: I know what you arer saying. I too get those looks and am asked the same questions. But I have increasingly noticed how my decisiveness of never wanting to live anywhere else but India...cause a strange uneasiness. It makes them insecure (not all but many) and doubts creepin.

Indyeah: I guess anger or irritation is natural to such obvious double standards.

BK Chowla said...

I think those who are becoming ANGREZ,have an inferiroty complex.The other reason is that the parents normally keep running down their own country in front of their children.At the first oppurtunity,the children do the same without even knowing their limits,responsibilty and commitments.Those to be blamed are the parents

Jayeeta said...


Very well written post indeed... I for one can vouch that what u have written is actually true.. My brother's ex-wife's family was one of these so called hypocrites.. after his marriage, his ex-wife told him that he wasnt "indian" enuf cos he didnt play a tabla or any indian instruments.. theirs was an arranged marriage.. so u can imagine the shock my brother had being measured in "indianness" by the sheer ability to play an instrument. Pretty lame, isnt it!


Sanjeeb Sahoo said...

Few Indians residing in the United States fail to realize that comparing a developing country with a developed country in terms of infrastructure, growth opportunities, hygiene and medical facilities are bad comparisons. If they look at areas in the United States where unemployment rate is high and people are economically not doing well, there is more corruption and it won’t be neat and clean according to the set standards. Same is true for India; if we look at the private & commercial properties build in the posh locations it will be hard to differentiate it from those in the developed nations. Indians settled abroad are happily investing in these projects. I think more than complex people need reasons not to go back. They get comfortable and used to the surrounding and facilities abroad.

It will be wise that instead of speaking ill about their motherland they give good reasons why they prefer not leaving the United States. I am not sure how many Indians (immigrants and/or residents) have tried to contribute in the growth of India and participated in charity projects like, funding a poor child’s education or anything like that. True feeling for India is not just living in India but helping people and projects in India that need support to grow.

Anonymous said...

I think you are right. There was a friend who plans to settle there (who just went there before 4 years) who kept on saying about how bad India is, for about half an hour! I was asking him in so many different ways to prod him to say some good things about the United States. But his only argument was - India is bad and hence US is good! Since this was a friend i was relatively patient with him!

I think all the people who settle there, will learn some important lessons in life, in the long term. If you keep your hands in front of your eyes, it doesn't mean that the sun is not there!!

Destination Infinity

Chrysalis said...

Chowla Sir: Definitely a lack of Asmita/Self-Esteem. And children copy Parents to a large extent, no doubt.

Jayeeta: Welcome here. Certainly measuring Indianness bycertain misguided standards is lame and throws light upon the lack of understanding what it means to be an feel a sense of belonging to a country and responsibility towards it.

Chrysalis said...

Sanjeeb: "True feeling for India is not just living in India but helping people and projects in India that need support to grow."

I totally agree. Belonging to a nation not only means feeling a sense of pride for it biut also evaluating our responsibilities towards the nation. All talk about rights and facilities and services and no action directed towards what we owe back to the country is lopsided and hollow.

DI: What your friend did is very common amongst the Indians settled here. I think besided their genuine love for all the goodies a developed rich nation provides..material and attitude and opportunitites...etc This kind of conversation also relflects their inner struggle and a reason to justify their choices and decisions at every given opportunity. They are very defensive for obvious reasons.

Silvara said...

It's an interesting post you have written - I am born and brought up in Australia and have only been to India a few times in my life to visit family and sight-see - so I don't know life there.

However, I know that as much as I enjoyed my time there I could never live there. It may be due to the 'gandagi', the 'corruption', the 'traditionality' etc etc but it's not. It's just due to the fact that Australia is MY home. I am used to and happy with my lifestyle here. But I wouldn't go around insulting it all the same.

I have always likened India to my birth mother and Australia as my 'adopted' mother - not the one who gave birth to me but no less a mother in any way. But I can understand why people would be defensive - a mother is still a human with her flaws. Doesnt mean we love her any less :P

Ok enough with the emotional analogies. I don't know India the way people who have lived there do and I wish I did :)It sounds like an awesome place :)

Chrysalis said...

Silvara: Welcome here. Love your attitude. You love Australia for it is your HOME ! Makes perfect sense. And due respect for the 'birth mother' too is the only sensible way. You rock! And yes India with all its faults and etc etc etc is my HOME and I love it!