Monday, June 28, 2010

Ways I am not "Indian"

Once I came off the boat to the US, I assimilated rather quickly, but I also completely changed my stance on certain aspects of life in general, its way of conduct, its expectations, its goal etc. Here's a few of them that I think are most significant in the way of Indian life:

I am an atheist. I was born a Hindu I guess, but once I took Bio AP in 10th grade, I never looked at religion again. I investigated, read books, reasoned with myself and came to be a dedicated believer of Science. In Indian life, the idea of God literally penetrates every single moment of life, from your house to your shop, from childbirth till death of every single relative, from summer till winter etc. People are absolutely devoted to the religion, attributing every positive or negative event to it. Just the fact that there are over 3 millions gods and goddesses ( or is it 30 million I think) shows that people are looking for some supernatural being to worship no matter what it is from six armed, weapon wielding goddess riding a tiger to a half elephant half human god who rides a mouse. So being an atheist pretty much just doesn't settle with people, they just cannot understand it. They believe that it is just a "phase" and eventually I'll realize it. Yeah, I know.....

I am not too big on saving money my whole life. Indians live to save, they wish they had more money so they could save more. For what? theres various reasons one could come up with, but the most prominent and frequent one is for "the kids". I understand saving for college and what not, but somehow once they a kid, they keep saving until the kid is like 24, or 25 or 35 or whatever!! They will save until the last breath, giving the same reason all along!! That seems absolutely insane and over-reactive to me. Its like no one likes to just...Enjoy. They dont like to have fun, they dont wanna have fun....they just wanna save. Although I must emphasize that this is mostly the generation of my parents, and few of the current ones. The majority of current ones actually are indulging in American Style Consumerism, realizing that you do only live once, and so why not have a little fun. I am all for spending, shopping, investing, gambling,buying etc. Dont get me wrong, obviously one has to have some pure savings, some smart investments like a nice portfolio or real estate. But overall I think one should try out the finer things in life, especially if they are within reach. If you own 3 apartments, sell one and goto europe for a month or so, explore, discover and what not.......and this is why I differ. And I say if our parents don't want to, well it's a waste if at least we don't. I'm 26 and my Doctor Dad works for 9 hrs a day while I sleep for (always more than) 10 hrs. Life's a Beach !

Ofcourse there are ways that I am definitely not American, or Americanized, and I'll take a stab at those subsequently.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Come to Incredible India my friends

5 million people do come to India every year, although I would guess a substantial portion of those are the people belonging to the Indian diaspora living abroad. I promise it would be an incredible trip indeed, you will experience some incredible cultures, incredible food, incredible people, incredible sights and definitely incredible smells. These are the reasons most of the real tourists, and yes I'm pointing in particular to my white peeps, the original explorers, travel to India and elsewhere. BUT in my opinion, I think the really real tourist comes to India for a rather negative expereince: you will most definitely see some of the most horrific, dirty, disgusting, destitute settings a human being can be living in, and quite satisfyingly I might add. POVERTY is as prevalent as the air in India, and as severe as cancer. You will see it in every city in India, along with its cousin INEQUALITY, which is actually a result of the past practices of Indian/Hindu culture.

Im not emphasizing the negative experience as something that India only offers, but I would recommend it for anyone who is even slightly curious about how bad life could be, and that is something a real true traveler would want to experience. You have to be willing to leave your zone of comfort, the suburbs, the order, and yes the cheeseburger. BUT you will have an absolute great time as well, most certainly have some of the most delectable food, see some amazing sights, as so far my buddy from San Diego (Skeany!!) did. So I invite you to come visit my land, and curb your comfort for a little while.