Tuesday, November 08, 2005

My Tryst With America

A particular incident reminded me of my rendezvous I had with a very old aunt back in 2002. Residing in the not-so-rural town of Pollachi in Tamil Nadu, this aunt has a son in the US, who has been there ever since memory serves me.

It was summer of 2002, and I had made a trip to South India with dad. We traveled from town-to-town, visiting relatives old and new. At our stop over in Pollachi, my old aunt was more than happy to show me pictures of her visit to the US. Very calmly and proudly, with an ever-endowing smile on her face, she explained to me how big and clean the roads in the US were, how one could shop for everything under one roof in a shopping mall, and the variety of choices one had in almost everything. The big bang came when my aunt pulled out sequential photographs of her standing with her son outside an ATM, entering it, inserting the credit card, punching in the PIN, and withdrawing cash. With great pride, she explained to me that in the US, one need not stand in long queues at the bank to withdraw money. I was only polite in showing an enthusiasm she expected to see, which went a little overboard. Thereafter, everything we spoke had a comparison to 'how the same thing would be in the US.'

Recently, another not-so-old aunt of mine, with a son in the US, came down from Kerala. She inquired where I work and what I do and interrogated me proudly "When are you going to Ammeyrikya?" Again, I could see the great divide and the sense of pride my aunt shared to see her son doing well in life and settled in the US.

Now, this brings me to the questions:

  • Does an Indian boy have to go to the US, either to study, work, or settle down to be labeled SUCCESSFUL?
  • Do relatives from non-metros think America is heaven? (I actually remember a mallu song which goes "Swargatilo, nammal swargatilo!" with Mohan Lal and another actor dancing on US roads)
  • Do they understand that living in Metros makes them better armed to imbibe the so-called Western Culture and ignore it, if needed?
  • Do they understand that life in Indian metros is comparable, if not better, to life in the US?
Phew! There goes my Visa...


At 4:53 AM, Blogger Nats said...

hey, what has happened to the look of your blog....

and yes, i do agree with you that staying in US is synonymous to being successful for many Indian parents. but this is not true only for boys. its true for girls too.

All uncles and Aunties have just one question to ask. "When are you going to America?" I guess they have developed this mindset that Indians there are very successful. this mindset is very difficult to change.

At 10:00 AM, Blogger gautami tripathy said...

I do not agree.

What you do with your life wherever you are, giving your best, is success for me!

WE don't have to conform to uncles and aunties!

At 10:02 PM, Blogger mErCuRiAn said...

@nats: Hey nats! Thanks for dropping by. I changed the background color of my blog from black to white :)

@gautami: Absolutely, Gautami. Home is where the heart is, and success follows.


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