I’m planning to rant a little bit here and beware…..it’s going to be a long one! It’s a kinda autobiography about my constantly evolving life and my ideas and haps( as in happenings) and mishaps. This writeup is precisely what I’ve picked from my life of 3 decades and few single years. So without much further ado…let me begin my raving!
I’m from India and it’s a land of opportunities and growth but It isn’t easy to carve a niche for oneself in a country teeming with 1.3 billion people. It’s bubbling with ideas, dreams, perceptions and skewed perceptions too, bifurcated into middle class and higher class elite populace. I didn’t mention lower middle class because they have a hand to mouth existence and for them 2 square meals a day is an intimate struggle. The middle class is the biggest earning class, the biggest reason India sustains, grows and grows impressively on the world map. Everyone who’s inspired in this class, perspires to get famous and join the elite high class, which is mostly above democracy, law and reach!
Let me tell you that we Indians are pretty emotional about three things:- maa( mother in Hindi), cine- ma(movies in Hindi), and Raj-ma( kidney beans in Hindi). The best ways to get famous is through Bollywood ( India’s cinema and movie industry), being a cricketer or by being an outlaw culprit. Being a celebrity is the ultimate dream of the creative middle class crowd, earn millions overnight, sign autographs, reign the social media and attention of all their followers.
Well, not to sound egoistic, I could have easily managed my entry into Bollywood( you should have seen me in my prime, wink- wink) because I’ve got great acting capabilities ( I give an Oscar winning performance everyday ( read- tantrums)). Otherwise also I’m skillfully talented( I can easily get into a speeding bus and also I can open a nut with my mouth). But personally I, don’t want to be famous in India. It’s a lot of hassle and intrusion into your private space once you’re someone to reckon with.
It’s baffling to learn the changes that might intrude your life and flood you up with emotional crisis. Once you’re famous and prominent, You will have to wear shades, always…. means always, even when you don’t have a pink eye, even when you’re sleeping! Mostly To protect yourself from the glare of the crowd, from your fans, who love you ( because they might love you a little too much and would want to pinch you to realize that you’re real) and from those who hate you, (because they’re tired of trolling you on social media and would want to personally slap you, for the confession you made last night under the liquor effect!!)
So Ironically amongst whom, you wanted to be known, you will have to hide now, to protect yourself from their temperamental love and hate. Such is the sarcasm of famed status!!
This doesn’t stop here! The income tax Dept will follow your income, your returns and tax filing. You will be under the scanner for your hyperbolic money and fame.
Also The mafia underworld is really prominent in their underground existence and they will try to hook you. They will try to merge their black money into your white till the spectrum looks just fine. If you don’t oblige, you might just get killed in an encounter or be in their hassled bad books. You can’t escape the crocodile while you’re in water!
Your social responsibility tag will be upgraded too. Moral lectures and prudence might come uninvited like mushrooms in the backyard. Any act will be scrutinized for hit or mismatch, morally right or disintegrated by the so called keepers of justice!That’s precisely why I don’t wanna be famous in India, I’m happy being a mango man here( mango in Hindi means – aam, which also means common)
So a common man on the street is much blessed to live in his meager means, though deprived and starved, he has his anonymity and liberty in the crowd of billions.
Also, I’m highly impressed with the second thing most prominent in India( the first thing is celebrity Amitabh Bachchan). It’s Jugaad! Meaning invention or discovery( they’re often used interchangeably)!
Jugaad refers to a non-conventional, frugal innovation, often termed a hack!The world’s most trusted English dictionary Oxford has also officially accepted the word ‘Jugaad‘ in their latest update. We Indians have an opinion on everything! Anybody who doesn’t even know the difference between astrology and astronomy, will sound theirs in sheer confidence, that might panic the pragmatics! ( praise hands emoji)!!
We can jugaad for a Mobile barber shop on a two wheeler with the rear seat for the customer, or jugaad for a gas stove through an inverted cloth iron. A commode cover can be fitted on the periphery of a chair frame, to make an Indian style toilet, a western one or a plush car seat can be fixed on the cycle seat for a quick jugaad ! So precisely when the walls of flexibility expand and resources are meager, jugaad offers a Solution Resurrection!
It might be colloquial and frugal, But it’s A Savior with optimum fit in every situation.
We Indians use it in our everyday lives. Not exactly the ones mentioned above but a lot like them to make this harried life a little less stressful, a little more rewarding. Cities have the makeshift urban jugaad with small practical solutions like the makeshift tea stall on the pavement or a temporary ironing and laundry shop on the sidewalk. Of course through encroachments only, what’s the big deal in that?
What else should I tell you?
Wait, did I tell you that now I’m in US since the last 6 years and life here as a h4 visa holder is very different! I’m in a hotspot USA state, rekindling Indian sentiments with a crisp US topping. Being an h4 dependent visa holder, I claim to be an extrovert home maker, preserving Indian sentiments in this foreign land. Here everything’s so indulgent, I’m always confused what to explore next? Let me tell you, what I do everyday!
My daily routine includes a spectrum of activities from mundane to the elite extra ordinaire. In weekdays, I’m consumed by potlucks with my fellow Indian ladies who happily flock places and share common sentiments-sorrows and admirations( of course, everything stopped in Corona,! Blast you corona!!)
I watch telly through sling TV that aptly records every exaggerated act in the Indian serial circuit. Netflix is still not a hot favorite (I read subtitles to understand the slang better: p) I impatiently wait to watch a khan or kumar movie in the nearby Marcus theatre, though they hardly record a houseful sales.
I’m nourishing my taste to dress and have graduated from salwaars to maxis and jumpsuits. Now saris n salwaars are occasional and mostly limited to Indian festivities or a dress code unless otherwise stated. It’s amusing how much indianness overflows once you are in another land. The national oath comes reminiscing our values and culture even though we are struggling to keep up the spirits. I am proud dunno why: P, while visiting the Indian store nearby and find the whole array of MDH masalas stacked up. Sometimes I’ve found the rare stuff that you might not get at a grocery in India. I’m telling you its indianness unplugged here.
Weekends are for shopping through premium brand outlets or a Walmart near you though the online shopping spree might catch you soon if you are still unaffected.Im mostly online with Wi-Fi over speeding and downloading complete Bollywood movies in a wink. Im fully accessible through fb, watsapp, twitter,messenger and what not. India calling is a daily ritual and I can talk till my throat is parched without worrying about that nasty phone bill. Kudos to the telecom revolution. WhatsApp is spanning me all day long, cooking will have to wait :P. I’m catching the accent and the nasal phony’s now and try to flaunt it in my communications but I guess originality resurfaces now and then, sometimes to my embarrassment; P
Visiting a nearby Hindu temple is a must on the to do list where the head priest will enchant you with his pleasing English skills. A gala gathering in Janmastmi or Holi will churn out the remaining Indianess till you are the perfect brimming cocktail. An identity crisis that manifests into spirited thinking. I might sound amateur guniiea pig at the moment but believe me the seasoned ones in my genre do pretty much the same here.So while you earn the greenbacks, ur attitude and lifestyle get a sumptuous dose of America over the Indian nutshell. I guess I’m bipolar; thinking like Indian and behaving like American.
Everything is big from mosquitoes to Shopping marts to shopping carts. Their are aisles dedicated to cornflakes and oats. Can you believe it? I couldn’t rest my eyes on the makeup stuff on the beauty aisle. Options galore! Our home grown and revered tulsi mata ( mother) is the fresh basil here used like cilantro for final garnish and flavoring. Work is as good as play here.
Work is about passion but time bound and pressure is undermined but spirits rise high, always! life is believed to be more about enjoyment than sulking. Most of the household work is DIY stuff and the flair for repair work is rampant . On any given weekend when shoppers flock the high street , everyone is always dressed exquisitely and graciously. Good looks and dressing sense is a by product of American lifestyle..i guess. Goodness gracious! But the people are as warm as the morning sun…bright and soothing. Social cultures, beliefs,livelihoods, foods, standards, living ideologies, pedigree, societal norms everything varies considerably from India!
The boiled eggs are served chilled and burgers are also sold as freezer fresh! Coffee and tea on the go in kingsize cups can exorbitantly evaporate your hunger for the rest of the day. Eating raw or boiled or baked food or eating as fresh as from a garden is the basic ideology that underlines all their eating habits and menu. Early dinner, Early to bed, Early to rise is their fitness funda and no wonder, they stay fresh, all day long!
And what about the daylight savings thingy? That is another feather in America’s cap honey. Here life revolves around the changing seasons. Even time runs according to the spirited sunshine. Daylight savings leave us to deal with the tyranny of changing clock hours.
America celebrates 100 years of this clock shift and must have evaluated pros and cons considerably but I do agree that it throws life in a boomerang.
Uncannily everything’s an hour earlier or an hour later and I’m always running late to catch hold of things!
The pros and cons of this change may outweigh each other and frankly- to each their own. Agreed, It does throw my life out of gear momentarily But kudos to the idea, smart enough to manipulate the same 24 hours to get the optimum sunshine and opportunities for leverage. I’m always happy when the daylight savings time turns off in November because I get to sleep longer ( LoL)
let me know how does this daylight savings affect your life ( that is, if it does at all)!
As I write and gaze through my patio door; the fountains splutter lavishly and the clouds thunder rain, I’m gathering spirits to lurch out n wet myself. After all its America’s rain(;P). That’s lavish too. I go on and indulge.
Wait… wait, I forgot to ask, if you liked my ramblings! If you did, I’m so glad, I wrote it up and if you didn’t like it…. Please improve your tastes and stop being so grumpy!
In Covid, you got to smirk at least! be happy!