Monday, September 28, 2009

Change is good, but not when its forced,demanded,expected

The most confusing, excruciating, challenging, but also the most fun part of being a first generation Immigrant is the time you get to travel between your origin and the current home. The difference in the two dots on the map is further increased when the places in question are as the US and India. Every time I personally had to make that journey, which is usually once a year during my college years, I felt this need to change myself in behavior, customs, beliefs, routine or just plain perception of society, but in India's case the change is usually expected and even induced. That very reason is the probably the strongest deviation in culture or society between the two countries: In India the change is directed towards becoming the same as most in society, whereas in the US the change is towards the individual, such as the enormous transformation I personally went through in terms of behavior, perception, beliefs etc. So usually I am an amalgam of the two cultures, but both countries some times demand that you sacrifice or temporarily suspend practicing the other culture. Both culture, obviously, have their flaws, but by having the contrasting perspective one becomes more experienced, and more appreciative of the diverse ways of living life. For a small example, in US the notion is to respect everyone regardless of their socioeconomic status or background; in India, while the general consensus of course is to treat everyone with respect, the poorest are usually target of skepticism or criticism towards their "laziness" and blamed for their own problems. So two amazingly different ways of treating people, especially when seen in practice in extreme, but both are expected in the two separate places. One can groan about the laxity of family standards in America given its high divorce rates, or one can go off in a rant about how rather strictly a woman has to adhere to standards in India, but both are a result of society's practice and expectations, and thus right in some way in their own place.
The main point of this blog was to address the notion of change particularly when traveling to one's home country that is unique in itself. Neither an ABCD traveling to India, nor an Indian who is traveling for the very first time outside it, have that blurring of two cultures into one single mixture of thoughts and ideas; and its even harder to extract or purify one culture as sometimes is expected in both places...

1 comment:

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