Saturday, January 13, 2007

I Value My Independence More Today…

Been two months since I last blogged… Sooooooo much has happened in the past couple of months. Been busy as a bee, that and snatches of laziness kept me away from my little cozy nook in cyber nowhere. Well, that’s another thing there was just so much happening I didn’t know where to begin. The New Year is here and I have made no resolutions… what’s the point when I never even make an effort to live up to it! Looking back at the year that was I couldn’t have asked for a better ending.

After clocking a few thousand air miles across the length and breadth of America and the final home stretch, it is good to be home in time for the holidays, I’m glad I’m around things that are familiar to me. I had a rollicking time while I was away with its share of ups and downs—-but more ups than downs. Met some of the most interesting people ever—-some of them absolute characters I will remember for a looooooooong while to come. Got to see some interesting places and cities and did some absolutely wacky things. I miss Thursday evening Beer Club sessions! Miss the bars and how late they are open.

I miss some of the independence I had, which I learned to cherish and appreciate even more after visiting some of my kith and kin at NJ. Ok that’s it! That’s what this post is going to be all about. I’m going to put it down anyway even at the cost of becoming a social pariah among my own people if they end up reading this post (F, initially I thought there was something wrong with me, but after I spoke to you, I knew it wasn’t just me. Hey, I’m a goner, but…!)

I was happy to meet some of my aunts and uncles and cousins at NJ over Thanksgiving weekend. I was meeting some of them after 3 years or more and some others I don’t even remember how long ago I met them, and others I was meeting for the first time. It was good to be around them during the holidays and I got to eat an Indianized version of the traditional turkey dinner, yummm!!! Got some shopping and sightseeing done and hungout with my cousins. Visited a client in NY—-an experience in it self and enough to fill another post, if I have the time.

After spending around 10 days with them, I was almost glad to be out of there. I am grateful that they had me over and took me around and everything, but by day 10 I needed my space. I’m not surprised that we get labeled as being clannish and clingy. In all my ten days there, I found that most of the time everyone tended to hang around other Indians—-actually Malayalees mind you not even Indians from other states. It’s almost as though a certain sort of xenophobia envelopes them and they so don’t care about mixing with the rest of the population and are happy milling around people from their own district in Kerala, forget the country. And to think these are families that have lived in America for 20 years if not more. What has living there taught them? Yes, preserve your culture and traditions, but they’ve shut themselves out so much that they probably be victims of culture shock when they visit India!

Being Thanksgiving day and a traditional get together, I wore the only salwar kameez that I took with me. I like wearing salwar kameez it’s one of the more elegant outfits, but skipped the dupatta. And I was really tickled when an uncle of mine asked “Don’t you have a dupatta?” God help them, which century are they living in? Anyone worried about my modesty or lack there of, cause I didn’t wear a dupatta, can go fly kites for all I care! And that was just the beginning of a string of events that found me off keel for a few days.

While at home, I’ve been out until 2 a.m. without having to give hourly updates of my whereabouts! Little did I know that going into the city was going to set so many phones ringing. I had a total of six missed calls and half as many voice messages asking where I was. As though that weren’t enough, this paranoid uncle of mine calls my boss god knows how many times and leaves a message asking me to call home. What in hell was he thinking??? Will always remember this as one of the most embarrassing moments of my life. I would like to believe he is worried about me and all of that, but there are limits even to paranoia!!! When I asked him later about why he called so many times he said he thought I lost my purse and phone and numbers. Felt like telling him this is only freaking NY, I speak the language and can get around or ask people, I’ve been in countries where I didn’t speak the language had no phone and had to walk half a mile asking for directions. They really don’t know when to let go, I guess.

Wow this is turning out to be one of my longest posts ever!

Yet another incident really left me thinking as to what had become of these people. My 20-something cousin and I were pulling out of a parking space when she looked out at the car next to us and cursed “Damned Asian! He shouldn’t be driving a Benz.” Looking out I saw the driver next to us, a guy with Mongoloid features. I was shocked and I asked “Did you just call him Asian?” And she just said “yeah, that’s what we call them.” What’s become of them, that was bloody racist, brash, and disgusting. Somewhere down the line she had forgotten her ethnicity. What did she think she was Caucasian?

Been mulling over everything that happened and am finally able to put it down now. I know the kind of reaction I will get if I talked about it at home “You were a guest and so…blah …blah …blah.” But I guess I just put up with it while it lasted. That’s another thing we are famous for putting up with all kind of BS. We just let things be without caring or taking a stand. And for letting things be, we deserve what is dished out to us. And now I’m in an absolutely shitty mood…but glad I got that out of my system.