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

Anu

18 Comments:

Blogger Matter Mahadevan said...

too much :)

2:45 AM  
Blogger Chakra Sampath said...

Its quite sad abt the racism bit.. there are some weirdos everywhere.. it happens at times even at this side of the atlantic.. Take care & enjoy your time..

the joke is fab. :)

1:17 AM  
Blogger saranyan said...

you should have complained about it. this kind of discrimination should be dealt with zero-tolerance.

anyways, looks like you are settling into your new world. all the best and have a great time here. ignore these idiots, this country has a lot more to offer. after all this is a country of immigrants, so never get these things take control of you.

10:26 AM  
Blogger Viewer said...

Racist !! Grrrrh! I hate them .... Unfortunately we come come across such A*%$# H&^%$s sometime or the other..

But the best way to deal with it eitehr confront the person or ignore it... Now u need to choose the right one depending if u can handel the situatuion :)

Take care

2:30 PM  
Blogger Sriram said...

Hey Anu...here after a long time. and a touching post to read...infact many posts to read... :)

3:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder why you call it being a racist..I have seen that in US people are disciplined..i.e they wait for their turn to ask questions rather than just jump in. Maybe that's what the guy was trying to say.."wait till I am done with the rest who are already waiting in line to ask me something".

9:13 AM  
Blogger Anu said...

Saranyan,
how can u complain abt a look,

Viewer,
Ignored it.. this time:))

Sriram..hey welcome back :))

Anon..next time plzz leave ur name:)
Anyway..just to clarify..I WAS IN LINE and if he was soo duty consicous..why didnt he come and help us after the 3 customers were helped!! and beleive me.. his look said it all

Anu

10:36 AM  
Blogger ada-paavi!!!! said...

i really liked the last joke, its was really nice.

4:08 PM  
Anonymous Hiren Shah said...

Very nice joke. Some people by nature are racist. Can't be helped. One does appreciate one's country more from abroad.

Since you have mentioned Gandhi specifically, my latest post on my blog, Make your passion your profession is on him in case you are interested.

3:39 PM  
Blogger Trevor said...

Thought provoking post that, Anu. It got me thinking, we may not practice racial discrimination out here, but casteist dogma remains deeply rooted in our psyche - at a very sub-conscious level of daily social interaction, that is. Now ain't that far worse - discriminating against our very own? It's all well to experience patriotic pangs of what it means to be Indian aboard 'Gora' shores. Sadly, this current waningly receeds as home shores draw closer...now some irony that!

5:08 AM  
Blogger Aniyan said...

That was a very interesting blog.
Indian diaspora across the world have come across this at least one.

What I do is to give it back on another oppertunity to another @#$%^ to make the pans balance!

Aniyan

6:23 AM  
Blogger Rising...... said...

The joke was good..I feel the same way abt this country and about my homeland, can I go back???God help me..

11:00 AM  
Blogger Raju said...

ROTFL on the 'American customs'.. It takes a long time to truly understand what the American humor is about.. Many a times we dont even know it is a humor unless the people around start laughing..:-)

10:42 AM  
Blogger kpowerinfinity said...

hey!! sorry ... actually the blogger comments had automatically gone in moderation ... and i didnt discover until i logged in after a long time!
let me know your mail id and i ll let you know where i got the job... dont want to publish on the net :) mine is kpowerinfinity AT gmail DOT com

btw, wehre are you now?

4:14 AM  
Blogger Kartik Kannan said...

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I want to include your blog entries on Sulekha by creating a parallel blog for you. By creating a parallel blog on Sulekha Blogs, you can dramatically boost the number of people viewing your posts and commenting on them.
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Cheers,

Kartik Kannan
Team Sulekha

11:57 PM  
Blogger Kartik Kannan said...

Hi,
The link I had posted earlier is not working. Hence I have modified it and I’m posting it again. Please Bear with us for the inconvenience.
To know more click here
Cheers,

Kartik Kannan
Team Sulekha

12:50 AM  
Blogger kpowerinfinity said...

there?

1:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you don't want to accept anonymous comments, change your blog settings to do so.

12:39 PM  

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