Change… really?

Every time I see an Indian security guard, I get this unfortunately vivid recollection of a memory.. one of those I’d rather not remember. And it happens unfailingly every time a movie comes on or I walk past a corporate office.

It happened about 9 years ago. There was a new guard hired in mom’s school.ย  He seemed to be the quiet and understated types, the ones who worked silently. And as usual, all the kids (read us) were creating a racket on the basketball court this particular evening, bickering over a foul and penalty.

Enter a small something. A ball of scraggly white with ears too big for his age. He was screaming at the top of his lungs, apparently having been scared away by a band of others in the neighbourhood. If he were clean and brown, I’d have mistaken him for a puppy version of my labrador.

Now as far as I can remember, everyone wanted the pup to shut up and asked this shy guard to do something about it. And guess what, mounted by all that pressure, he picked up a rock twice the size of that creature, walked towards it and from 6 feet away, hurled it with all his strength.

The howling stopped instantly.

We were all there, dumbstruck. We hadn’t done a thing to stop him as we watched him find the stone and throw it like a pitcher. I vaguely remember a friend lifting that dog and putting him near the trees.

No, I’m not recalling this memory to gain sympathy for that poor creature. Yes, I am scarred. No, I’m not looking for empathy either. Yes, I’m trying to ask why we keep shut when something matters to us.

Have we, as an Indian society,ย  really changed? How can an entire country be held ransom by some men who follow utterly untrue aspects of a religion and beat up women? How is it that when some ‘juvenile’ rears up his head post 26/11 and asks certain artists to get out of our country, nobody (not even the police) stops him? How can others stand it?

Have we truly become civilized?

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Back

Every time I decide to stop writing on this one, I am surprised by the number of hits. Maybe I should actually start writing about periodic cycles of blog traffic.

Alright, alright.. bad joke.

Hmm.. so I’m back. From a fabulous vacation. I did not open one book, did not send one useful email and hardly talked to anyone I knew professionally. Instead, I ate like there’s no tomorrow, gallivanted around the country, fed stray puppies and took 500 photographs from my new camera. Ah, bliss!

When you know what they mean by ‘coming back to the real world’, you realize that the experience is akin to having been flying in the sky and then feel someone tug at your leg, saying ,”Hey, babe.. are you gonna come down the high post or what?”

The journey back was indifferent, the experience after, listless. Man, there’s no variety! There are no orange coloured shops saying ‘Sripullareddy Ghee Sweets Shop’ and the roads are looooooonnnnnggg and wiiinndddddiiiiinnngg (you get the picture). The trees are bare, the snow is just a tad bit comforting and the freaking heater won’t work!

Talk of hangovers.

Exams…

be right back.

A reality check!

Of course you had visions about certain things in the United States.. granted. After all, that’s why we travel, to get the real dope on what exactly is going on in different parts of the world.

Well, this is just a compilation of what you must not assume.. All thanks to my often-embarrassing experiences here:

MYTH 1: Americans are dumb. We’re way superior in IQ.

CORRECTION: Americans are NOT dumb. They are highly analytical, articulate and very expressive. Could that be the reason why we find them to be our bosses at some level? Think about it.

MYTH 2: People here are laid back and easy going.

CORRECTION: Well, they may seem so. But I have never met more driven people. Many of them have solid goals and most make it happen.. the opportunities here are endless for someone who is inspired and takes initiative.

MYTH 3 : Life is good! Food, water, electricity – unlimited! Internet all the time!

CORRECTION : America has been screamed at too many times to count, for being the biggest consumer in the world. While the Asians suffer oppressive heat and long power cuts in silence, all the homes here are air-conditioned and lights are left on even when people are away. Where one white light would do, there are 5 incandescent bulbs. It’s not a happy situation.

Yep, you can have all the hot showers you want. Just remember that your parents are still using the geyser to heat even 1 bucket of water.

True, you can be on the internet searching for people, businesses or even porn. Just remember that you will stop speaking to anyone in reality because you will be spending most of your time typing out ‘LOL’ instead of actually laughing out loud.

MYTH 4: White men! White women! WooooooW!

CORRECTION: Yes. It’s good to mix up and see different cultures. I will also add (shyly) that Russian men are the hottest I have encountered so far. *blush* ๐Ÿ™‚

That said, it’s better to keep your feet on the ground. Don’t go overboard. Remember what I said about ogling? Well, you get the point. Enjoy, learn and take in all the wonderful things new cultures can offer. Treat everybody the same and people will respect you for your fairness.

MYTH 5: Car, babes and money! Life is good!

CORRECTION : Even if you could afford the car, gas will dry your pockets worse than a raindrop in a desert. Babes, well, they won’t exactly be dancing around you, honey. Money, you’d be lucky to save some for the next semester. Sigh.. student times are quite lean, actually.

Wokay, while you’re reeling under this one, I would appreciate if my colleagues can come up with more. After all, we take the heavy burden of ‘educating’, no? ๐Ÿ˜€

Whew! Now what?

Apartment? Check. Roommates? Check. Orientation? Done.

Onward! Time to do the real thinking now!

So why exactly are you here anyway? While you take a moment to think this through(YET again over the past 2 years), here are a few reasons(Courtesy: EDULIX) why so many students come to this land of wonderful opportunities:

See the world (pretty expensive for an educational tour, don’t ya think? ๐Ÿ˜›)

Free beer (It seems beer is cheaper than water, hence free. Hit me again, but I didn’t get the logic here. ๐Ÿ˜€)

Favorable exchange rate. (Ooh yeaah… that’s a good one, if you’re earning enough to send some back!)

Out of country experience and good education. (That’s the most technically correct answer I ever heard. Good job, mate!)

Non-rattofying(Not by rote) education (Yep, this one I whole-heartedly agree with.)

Babes (Both in USA and on Return) (oh, you poor poor thing.. I can’t bear to see that look of disappointment when you realize that you are the same loser, whether you are here or back home.)

Freedom, Liberty, Justice & Equality (Harr harr!!! Alrightie, on a more serious note, maybe you need to redefine what these terms mean.)

Dignity of Labour (Agreed. The best part about this culture.)

Las vegas/Miami trip (Yeah, baby! Now that’s a real treat!)

More Dowry! (LOL! Best of luck, I say!)

And no, I was not kidding when I wrote the italics. Stop looking at it as a land of dreams and keep your feet firmly on the ground. You will be fine.