Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A condescending Repat...

When my husband read my previous piece titled “America Vs India”, he was a little pissed because he felt it had a condescending attitude towards India. My reply was if it comes across as condescending, then that is exactly how I feel! I probably opened a can of worms with that statement.

Like every other Indian, resident or non-resident, I have an aversion towards criticism of India. I think our flaws are unfairly magnified and beauty either totally ignored or facetiously exaggerated. On the other hand, people who genuinely try to relate to the country and culture find themselves hugely rewarded. Growing up here, I obviously had no problem relating to this culture on a visceral level and deriving huge benefits from it. In fact, I was so much of an Indian, that the highly organized, straight forward and fast-paced life in the US felt quite alien and boring when I first moved there. I felt that this made life too predictable and mechanical and longed for the vibrant chaos of life in India.

Where else would you find gutsy idiots riding their motorcycles on the raised medians between opposing freeways with an elephant carting firewood on the shoulder of the said freeway to boot? Or how about you open your office door to find a monkey in charge curiously inspecting the water cooler? Here, BMWs and bullock carts share the road with equal élan and progress and corruption continue to rise higher hand in hand.

I have no recollection of when I began to fall in love with the comfort of structure and predictability. Nor do I recall when I began to regard the lack of seamlessness of life in India to be a source of frustration rather than fun. The truth is, as a repat anything disruptive in my life here, of which there are plenty provoke intense reactions. To my chagrin, they are usually negative or “condescending” as my husband so kindly put it and I live in hope that it will change soon.

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