Saturday, January 28, 2006

Being Gandhi

Jan 26th just rolled past here, and my thoughts were full of the Indian parade,for 5 seconds, before they moved on to something else.. but today the pride that I take to be an Indian hit me squarely in my face .K and I moved into a new apartment last week and the days were full of unpacking and redecorating. In the midst of all this I prepared a digital collage of our wedding snaps which I wanted to be framed. After getting the perfect frame, we were stuck as the collage was in Corel and none of the online printing solutions helped. So today we trudged to FedEx Kinko’s for the printout of the collage. The place was moderately crowded, so armed with our laptop, and on behest of a employee there we decided to take the self help counter.The way the self help counter works is that the laptop is connected to the LAN, the credit card is inserted in the machine and the minutes and printouts are priced @10 cents and $2 respectively.On the connection of the printer, we realized we had 2 printers available and were in a quandary as to which one to use.On waiting for 5 minutes in the queue, I gave up and asked K to take a print and we would figure stuff out as we go… the printout came in B&W and in two sizes too small for us. Back to the queue alone I wanted to check which printer again , as we didn’t want to make the mistake twice.Thats when , a small moment turned into self awakening,the lady at the counter was busy so I asked the Guy who was in between customers, the printer to be used.He ignored me the first two times I asked, the next time , he looked at me …Racial discrimination has a dirty face and I think he is its “Poster Child” and said “Im busy,after 3 customers I’ll try and get to you”.
A lot of you may be thinking he was just rude or busy … but believe me a look says it all. I am used to rude people, you cant survive through a Chennai market stroll, without people commenting on you and your ancestry, But the look of concentrated hatred on his face coupled with his condescending tone shook me all the more.I always believed in “Sticks and Stones may brake my bones ,but words would never hurt me” policy, but what do u do when you are faced with underlying malice. The lady at the counter immediately with a apologetic look told me the printer number and said she would credit us in case we could not get the required printout. I passed on the message to K .The guy never bothered to come help us and 10 minutes later we left. The shock turned to anger over time. I wanted to go back and yank the guy by his shirt color and yell that my India has been in existence since time in memorial and his country is a by product of a explorers search of India. I wanted to tell him that the economic growth of his land was made up of the million Indians who slogged over their computers ,worked in silicon valley day and night to ensure that new inventions and better process lead to successful ‘American’ MNC’s. Also there are million more in India who work through the night to ensure the “Low cost” success stories of these companies.
I missed home these days and today I realized I missed India.I miss being a citizen, who has rights and duties incorporated as not only as an integral part of their studies, but over time, integral part of their life.The freedom to walk into any part of town, not distinguishable as “desi “ and “non desi”,where your education is recognized and you don’t have to go through the same courses just to earn an “American degree”.I miss having to sing Jana Gana Mana, on Jan 26th when the flag is raised,I even miss the statues of Gandhi, MGR and others who crowd the streets.
There are a huge chunk of people here who aren’t racist and what I witnessed today was just a snowflake on the tip of the iceberg…A lot of people here including K haven’t witnessed a sliver of racial discrimination and I am happy for them and I pray that this is a dying disease

Today I realized how important the being an Indian means,I have a homeland steeped in culture,tradition and such ethnic diversity that all guests are treated as family, and I thank God for that… because ‘Sara Jahan Se Acha, ye Hindustan Hamara’

Coincidentally one of my friends sent me this joke last week… so no offence intended to either nationality :)

An Indian migrated to America, and moved into an American neighbourhood; His American neighbour went next door to wish him welcome.He was shocked to see the man from India in his nice backyard chasing ten chickens around like mad. "Must be an Indian custom," he thought to himself. Deciding he could put off the welcome till a later date, he went home.
The next day, he decided he was going to welcome the Indian man again. When he looked through his window, he saw the Indian man urinate into a cup and drink it. "Must be an Indian custom," he thought to himself. Deciding he could put off the welcome till the next day, he went on with other stuff.
The third day, he was determined to welcome the Indian man. At his gate, he saw the Indian man with his ear pressed against a cow's big fat butt. Seeing this, he became disgusted and went up to the Indian man. "I'm sorry sir, I did want to wish you a warm welcome, but I cannot stand your crazy Indian customs!" He yelled in the Indian man's face. The Indian man looked confused and answered. "Sorry sir, I think you are mistaken. These are actually American customs. I was told, that in order to be a true American, you have to chase chicks, get piss drunk, and listen to bullshit

Keep Smilin ppl


Saturday, January 14, 2006

Wish you a Happy Pongal...

Hope this Shankranthi fills your life with sweetness and joy...


Monday, January 09, 2006

Help!!! They’ve turned me into a shopaholic…

Have you ever found yourself walking into a shop one day because it said SALE in block letters…only to walk out with your bank balance reduced to a miniscule…Well my life has been a series of those days since I have landed in the US….

I came with thanksgiving weekend around the corner and what all the friends and relatives were buzzing about was the after thanksgiving sale… walking into Sears at 8a.m , gave me a sense of being in another planet… I have never seen so many people so active on a Saturday morning…clothes were going off the hanger at speed of light…walking out with $350 spent and 5 hrs later. I promised my self and my poor husband. that this was a yearly phenomenon and it was only one day a person could let herself go…Was I ever wrong!!! :)
Quickly on the heals of thanksgiving comes the “days before Christmas” and the sales continued….well like a alcoholic getting a whiff of a spirit in someone’s perfume and falling off the wagon, all it took for me was the phrase “when u go to India you need to take gifts”…considering I had just come from India, this phrase should not have shook me.. but the urge to buy lots of things at really cheap prices overtook the reasonable person in me.. Jewelry was the name of the game this time, I knew that I could never go wrong with a fake ruby or emerald stone setting for my friends back home who would forgive me for not mailing the last three months.. a Sears and Macy’s card later, we were out by another $250 …though considering in Rupees for that price I could have bought them something in gold!
The demon of shopping should have been laid to rest ,however K and I are moving into a new apartment and unfortunately for him, he mentioned the word “refurnish”… well with “after Christmas” /New Year /Winter Sale about to start, the sale monster had to reappear and it did in a whole new fashion. For the old me, furniture and home improvements was a chair and a bed.. with a TV…but oh no!!! with a credit card and a 30-50% off on
IKEA (a furniture /Home store)…I wanted everything from a candle stand to a fluorescent lamp and I spent another 5 hrs (with lunch) walking through the showroom and ‘marketplace' !!!But what we both as a couple wanted was a 6 drawer dresser (packed and unassembled) ..the entire furniture part of the store is self service… So a day before the sale ended, we spent half a day strategizing :- the borrowing of a truck, the time to IKEA, the time for billing and then the move from the car park to the house: Transportation equations at its best. Well moving on, it was my brilliant Idea, that we use the TV stand which had the wheels on them to move the boxes from the car park to the apartment…all went as per plan, till we loaded the dresser on the TV stand, a few seconds down, the stand collapsed!!!!! So it was back to IKEA for us, to buy a new one!!
Last Week ended with a visit to the
Flea market. This is Ranganathan street, Koyambedu market,Tnagar thrown together along with a couple of furniture stores and fast food restaurants (for non-Chennaites – that means all the stuff under the sun from hairclips to entire apartment furniture in one place and REALLY REALLY cheap). The best part was the market… it was just like home,people bargaining, rotting vegetables and people walking whichever way they want. I love it!!! K has promised several more trips, provided I don’t buy most of the market and like a person in withdrawal I have promised.
Yesterday though I felt a small victory. It was the last day of the Macy’s new year sale, and at having a guilty complex about not buying anything for K ,I walked in at 6.45 pm with hope that maybe this time, I would catch a real bargain….however the faiths were against me .,.. and the announcement was that the shop would close sharply at 7.00pm that day ,compared to the regular 9.00 pm timings. I needed a bargain badly; something that would assuage my feelings of guilt of spending soo much money is soo little time…. With 5 minutes to go, and adrenaline surging, I tried everything from a tie to Calvin Klein shirts, with exorbitant rates or with K being extremely picky my time was running out, Then suddenly my eyes fell on blue shirt… K seemed to like it, saying a prayer, I looked at the price and I think I actually heard the hallelujah chorus from heavens up above , a $45 shirt was cut down to $10 .Picking it up I ran to the counter in a leap that would have put Sergei Bubka to shame :)) victory was small and I had just won a little battle. But my war with Bargains and sale will continue Im afraid till my last breath… because, we all know even a 1$ saved can buy u a ladle at the dollar store.

Some Pics of my shopping fiascos and victory :)

Well for the jokes, and for this one I thank my aunt, in her 50’s she’s learning to be a Medical Transcriptionist- Ive put down some now and reserved the rest for later:)

Actual Medical Chart Notes

1.Patient has two teenage children, but no other abnormalities.

2.Patient has chest pain if she lies on her left side for over a year.

3.On the second day, the knee was better, and then on the third day it disappeared.

4.The patient is tearful and crying constantly. She also appears to be depressed.

5.The patient has been depressed since she began seeing me in 1993.

6.Discharge Status: Alive, but without my permission.

7.Healthy-appearing decrepit 69-year old male, mentally alert but forgetful

8.The patient refused autopsy.

9.The patient has no previous history of suicides.

10.Patient has left white blood cells at another hospital.