Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Year of the Firsts or Happy New Year Folks

Every time the new year comes by, I think to myself however stupendously refreshing the following year may be, it can never outdo the previous one... in the good way or the bad way. See, I don't handle change very well so much so that I have this ridiculous inertia to write the year's number correctly for like the first 4 months of the new year!!
So, like every year, I warn myself of change that is inevitable and also assuage myself that it wouldn't be as bad (or as good) as the previous one. So its always best to start off with zilch expectation, you'll see how far that takes you. Having said, one other thing every new year brings me, is its innumerable Firsts, be it nice-firsts or horrible-firsts. Its always worth remembering my Firsts and I'm sure its the case with you too.

'08 gave me my
My first tryst with Snow...
My first 9-gajam saree...
My first online fraternity (whom all I love a tad too much)
My first Hindustani concert in the 8th row of Music Academy..
My first Embedded systems job (that didnt last for more than 4 months)..
My first wedding (and the last one mind you..) ...
My first long stay away from my parents..
My first scooty accident which wasn't my fault..
My first concert...
My first Tam-Bram thaligai..
My first kamalAmba navAvarnam...
My first fight over Gmail..
My first Amma/Appa-I-miss-you mail..
My first sip of Margareta (read sip. And let that be the last one thank you very much)..
My first Album..
My first parasailing..
My first Chinese food (Yuck.Period.)
My first sister-in-law...
My first flu..
My first Elizabeth Arden..
My first Deepavali with a new family..

Try this too, in your head if you want, what your Firsts were. I'm sure you'll have some you could talk about. Its fun and worthwhile.

Wishing you all a fabulous year ahead,
Confounded-Lady :)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Great Indian NRI

More than just its indigenous people, whats kept me intrigued all these years over America, is the Indians there.
*Disclaimer : At bottom of post
I've grown up all my life watching fellow Indian families yearning to become Americans like it were the sole purpose of their existence on Earth . No matter how frightful a disposition it were, this always made me wonder what it was about the Wild-West that was so bewitching.
I mean, there certainly were better places to live in. This I always knew and was sure of.
I thus commence without further evading my obligation as the babblefest queen of this blog.
The 80's and the early 90's ** were times of opportunity where opportunity meant just one thing -America.

If you were a dreamer, it meant that you dreamed of settling down in America. If you were smart, that meant you got to study in America . If you were ambitious, you were trying to get a job in any company as long as it was in America. If you were opportunistic, you were venturing out new arenas in America. If you were successful, that meant you had a house, a wife(who miraculously transformed from that shabby runny-nosed tramp near Sharada Vidhyalaya to a high society woman who drank 'occasionally' during all social occasions), kids with American accents (I mean what are kids without American accents, huh?) and of course not to mention, the most coveted of all, that Green colour card.

If you were just plain lucky, you somehow did finally manage to bring that ass of yours to America however undeserving you were, but then again you were having the last laugh.
The pressures of the 80's, as my Appa always says, is something we'll never understand.

The Gulf (excepting for Saudi which was/is, with no due respect, a concentration camp in its own right) was a happy place those days ** - albeit the wars 'n all- and was a prospective place for Indians dying to settle anywhere else other than India. I mean, eat this: you had to pay zilch tax, the Dinar was always stronger than the Dollar, fuel was cheap (these guys made oil...who're we trying to kid?), the roads were clean, no one spat on the roads, Local Sheikhs were fat, cute friendly people who couldn't tell a stock market from a flee market.

The Indian thrived here (more so the Mallu but I'm not going there) and couldnt have asked for more.

The Appa-of-the-Family however, wouldn't be satisfied with his job until he had a better one he could flaunt in front of his Indian relatives. This could only mean one place- even if it meant accepting a job profile he didn't quite fancy.

So, the Appa-of-the-Family would constantly apply day in and day out to companies all over America until he got the letter asking him to join as soon as possible, and if he didn't bag the prize, the consolation prize (Canada) would suit him very well, and one fine morning his kids would stop coming to school and their houses would be bolted, and before you could say OsamaBinLaden, he'd have migrated to Canada with his family and a secret wish never ever to return.

This was the most frequent scenario in the Gulf, more so in our compound. We'd always have new kids coming to play with us beside the pool, and after a short while had passed, they'd mysteriously just not turn up. When we'd go over to their place to check if they were alright, all we would see are white sheets over furniture and some boxes of clothes that looked familiar.

This was almost a routine for quite sometime, you know, not having constant friends because their Appas were 'ambitious'. I was ok with it I mean, as long as there was a constant flow of kids in the compound to play with. However, when I turned 11, my best friend Aditi was to leave to the US and thats when I was shattered. I hated her parents for having to leave such a beautiful community we were all a part of and I just couldn't forgive them. I swore to write to her everyday but I didn't have an address I could write to, not until they settled down in this unknown land where everyone I knew was headed to.

All this reinforced the fact that everyone, absolutely everyone wanted to move to America for some reason I and most certainly ,the Appa-of-my-Family didn't understand.

(To be Contd...

or do you really care?)


*Disclaimer from top of post:The Blogger is blogging after a long, very long time and this is a long post (2 clauses have absolutely no relation what so ever but hear her out) If you're expecting a short and crisp post, shoo away.

**At the risk of sounding ancient