. Informed . Opinions .

September 22, 2011


Filed under: Floating Turd, India — Tags: , , , — Raja @ 11:39 AM

So, Dad, here you are considered ‘cultured’ if you

  • are blank about a more evolved language like Sanskrit, and use English (that, too, often wrong) with the vernacular every now and then!
  • remember all the recent Emmy winners but not any PadmaBhushans (agreed, that even Rajiv Gandhi won Bharat Ratna, but then, if you have to doubt, doubt every damn award. What the big fcuk did Obama do to win the Nobel!)
  • ‘dine’ at KFC and ‘prefer to drink’ Bud Light over so many better options!
  • virtually hang a “Do Not Disturb” sign around you when you watch Modern Family but you mock the “common people” that watch Kkusum!
  • prefer to celebrate Halloween over Deepavali, Thanksgiving over any Indian harvest festival, and victory of San Francisco 49ers over a victory of the Indian hockey team!
  • don’t have an iota of knowledge about raaga, but worship Lady Gaga (not critiquing, but out-n-out worshipping! Not learning, but following!)!
  • don’t laugh at jokes, but say “L O L”!!

In the “deeply traditional” Indian weddings, the bridegrooms wear (English) suit!

Oh dear lord, I have a pair of Nike shoes and a Gucci nail-clipper. How cool am I!

Weren’t my cousins supposed to impart a “profound Indian-ness” on me? Or, was it a joke, ‘coz their lives revolve around Facebook, Starbucks, Captain America and Justin Beiber! This is not cultural merger, just a cultural surrender!!

What more of this ‘Indian’ ‘Culture’ can I absorb here, Dad, than what I already have from my White friends back home?! Bollywood??



  1. i totally agree this nri guy
    and i am glad you posted something on this. u typicaly bash the babas. but this slave america’s mentality is worse than following the babas

    Comment by Pranay — September 22, 2011 @ 1:10 PM

  2. Thanks Pranay.
    The next time you are about to enter Starbucks, just ask yourself, what’s the pressing need to go there and not to anywhere else, including your kitchen :-p

    Comment by Raja — September 22, 2011 @ 1:31 PM

  3. Beware! your kid will ask these questions.

    Comment by Voice — September 22, 2011 @ 10:57 PM

    • @Bhav: only if I tout an India-trip as a “cultural heritage trip” :p

      Comment by Raja — September 23, 2011 @ 9:46 AM

  4. I totally hate when the pujabis here dress like blacks, not that I have anything against blacks but why can one not just be indian who dresses well? what’s with un-necessary jewellery, loads of gel, ghetto denims 😐

    Comment by Chintan Gupta — September 23, 2011 @ 4:02 AM

    • Bang on target! guess some desi people, even tho’ they may sometimes circulate “proud-to-be-indian” emails, feel ashamed to be Indians! They should understand that clipping off peafowl feathers won’t make you a crow! 😛

      Comment by Raja — September 23, 2011 @ 9:50 AM

  5. too good…. echoes my thots so much… too good!! but i guess this syndrome somewhere has a root in our education system.. there does not seem to be a healthy balance at all… people who know sanskrit look at english as a language with no respect… and people who are gucci ridden or gaga ridden know nothing about the beauty and depth of who we are… have thot about it quite often and am at my personal level making all the effort to make sure my child stays away from this disease … of judgement and lack of awareness… 🙂 aah…. my comment seems like a post!!!

    Comment by sushmita — September 24, 2011 @ 11:41 AM

    • However much you may want your child to stay away, peer pressure will eventually get better of that. It’s not easy not to just go with the flow. Neither common sense nor logic is very common. And then, common sense or logic wouldn’t allow Taj Mahal or spacecrafts. There is no easy solution to life 😉

      Comment by Raja — September 26, 2011 @ 11:16 AM

  6. Kewl man! Boy! am i glad you did it. Trust me i’ve been wanting to do this for ages.
    An addition to this can be endless but i’d love to quote an NRI friend of mine conversing with another NRI friend on the one and only social networking site which sees scores of these NRI’S posting pictures of their WOW inducing…everything…
    But this is the flip side of urs…THE TEEN’S MOTHER CAN TELL THE DAD SOMETHING LIKE THIS…
    Mamta : “nalini u ‘r also probably not getting my point..my comment was for our next generation becoz when i take my son to india he says he sees only ‘dirt & pollution’ ( esp in delhi) everywhere which breaks my heart becoz i am indian like you and unable to see any such thing …”
    Me… listens to these conversations with offline status lest the NRI Mamta asks me to make tikki chat at home because her NRI STOMACH cannot digest what she happily ate and digested all those pre NRI years.
    Last time in her many frequent tours to DIRTY homeland where she’s comfortable shopping in the Lajpat Nagar Market, she stood me up and poor hubby and me had to lap it ALL up…the bland chat i mean…for dinner…

    Comment by shivani — September 26, 2011 @ 8:13 AM

    • It seems that a lot of people (may be most of the people) don’t really know what they want. they need to be told that they are happy, or that they are sad. They need to be told that, “do this, this makes you happy.” We happily take the american fast food crap, and pay 20 times more than for our Indian versions, and blame the ensuing stomach upset on something else – ‘coz we’ve been ‘trained’ not to blame american chain’s food!
      No doubt that the first thing you should notice in Delhi is dirt/pollution. But it should be an NRI parent’s duty to make the children interested in what lies under the millenia-old dust, and to take the children out to Nature (where a sudden McD’s won’r spoil the serenity of a forest/mountain).
      I noticed that other than for a few exceptions, desi parents talk to kids in English from the very beginning! Ironically, those few exceptional parents become parents of more successful children!
      May be we will learn slowly!

      Comment by Raja — September 26, 2011 @ 11:28 AM

  7. Thank you! Every time my in-laws talk about my kids being away from Indian culture, I feel like laughing! Every time I go on India trips, I see exactly what your NRI teen sees…in fact, I was amused to see that in India, they are teaching kids ballet nowadays whereas in California, the NRI kids are drilled on bharatnatyam (coz they’re scared of being criticized about losing their ‘Indian culture’)!!

    Comment by Roshni — November 15, 2011 @ 7:33 PM

    • @Roshni: Nice to see you back. Have you resumed blogging yet?

      You have given a perfect example here – the ballet and Bharatnatyam thing. I agree with you completely. I don’t have anything against ballet, but I’d support learning ballet after learning the Bharatnatyam, ie, after soaking in one’s own culture.

      Comment by Raja — November 16, 2011 @ 9:16 AM

      • Hi Indrajit, nope not yet resumed blogging but definitely miss visiting all the blogs I used to religiously follow earlier! So, popped in for a visit and hope to be more regular from now on! Hope you post another one soon!

        Comment by Roshni — November 17, 2011 @ 2:39 PM

  8. Whether kids like ragas or lady gaga, there’s no accounting for tastes. There’s so many more layers to this problem. Kids will have this strong desire to fit in with their peers whether they move from Bhubaneshwar to Bharuch or Ludhiana to London. As for any first generation NRI, they will always feel the pull of their mother country. And so, after whisking their kids away, some NRIs try and oversell the virtues of what they left behind to their kids to the point the kids become wary as soon as they sense another “lecture” coming on. Better to give the kids a dose of the greatness as well as the problems – in short, a balanced and therefore, a much more believable view of both, their country of residence and their country of birth.

    Comment by K.Mathur — November 16, 2011 @ 4:43 AM

    • @K: you comment was for my post or a reply to Roshni’s comment?

      Comment by Raja — November 16, 2011 @ 9:18 AM

      • I guess what it is, is to try and see things from kids’ perspectives. In today’s world our kids, whether they are settled in India or abroad have many more opportunities and choices. If they decide they like Ragas more than Lady Gaga or vice versa, as long as they learn to sing their hearts out, it will count towards their happiness. Whether they dance the Bharatnatyam gracefully or do a Jazz number energetically, their feeling fulfilled is the main thing. Kids also feel peer pressure wherever they are, accompanied by a strong desire to fit in. That, to a great extent, also impacts the choices they make. There is no point in being critical of kids for making those choices. We live in an ever shrinking world. On the other hand, there are people like Roshni’s in-laws or some old folks who’ve come to settle in India from abroad (which is very much a possibility today). They feel anxious because of a new and strange culture. To their minds, everything they hold dear and familiar is vanishing before their eyes. All we can really do is reassure them with affection and in any other way we can.

        Comment by K.Mathur — November 16, 2011 @ 11:59 PM

        • Raaga vs Gaga: I guess the NRI Teen’s point is not ‘liking’ one more than the other (and forget about getting inspiration for singing), it’s about worshipping someone/something for being ‘made in the USA’. If a kid is taught both Bharatnatyam and ballet, and then chooses one over the other, it’s fine.
          Btw, no one here is critical of the kids, ‘coz they are not the ones who make the choices par se.

          Yeah, it’s an ever-shrinking world, but what we are seeing in urban India is not cultural merger, just a cultural surrender. Even if we keep some of our own things (like Yoga), that needs to get an approval from the West!

          And, finally again, no one here is ‘blaming’ anyone, let alone the kids. We are ‘mourning’ the mindset of a lot of urban Indian people that derives a kind of ‘spiritual’ pleasure by blindly copying the West.

          Comment by Raja — November 17, 2011 @ 8:52 AM

          • Most Indian city kids don’t deserve that label of “aping the west”. The way they dress, the food and activities they like are only part of who they are. Their deeper values (kindness, tolerance, empathy, sharing spirit, respect for other human beings, ability to control anger etc) are given to them by their own environment – especially their parents, family culture and traditions, friends, school etc.

            Comment by K.Mathur — November 17, 2011 @ 9:07 PM

        • I agree with you. I too believe we live in a constantly shrinking world. I also believe that the age of TELLING kids what they should and should not like is over! I don’t mean that it should be a free for all, but definitely where music and art are concerned, I don’t believe kids should be restricted to just the Indian or just the Western genre. Btw, my in-laws are visiting us in the US from India and yes, definitely, my in-laws are concerned about a new and strange culture (or rather they are concerned about our kids learning the culture they perceive as American (as learned solely from Hollywood movies and celebrity gossip)). It is difficult to counteract preconceived notions, but I do not plan to raise my kids in any way other than what my husband and I agree with. All things Indian are not sacred to us and all things western need not be reviled!

          Comment by Roshni — November 17, 2011 @ 2:37 PM

          • To a degree, people from a different culture do feel vaguely threatened when surrounded by any and everything different. Hope your in-laws have a wonderful time with you all and you with them 🙂

            Comment by K.Mathur — November 17, 2011 @ 9:16 PM

  9. i see a very neat post by you in my roll…it says it was published 4 yrs ago …the snapshot that i see seems very interesting but when i click on the link ..i come here .. and i see nothing!! can you help a technology- challenged person like me!

    Comment by Sushmita — December 7, 2011 @ 12:16 AM

    • I recently merged my two blogs and that automatically sent new post notifications to subscribers for the posts imported from my other blog.

      Comment by Raja — December 7, 2011 @ 8:46 AM

      • where can i find the link of sojourn separately.. i see interesting updates and then when i click on them i come here… there is a new one saying “6yrs” old… !! would love to read it..help…

        Comment by Sushmita — December 14, 2011 @ 1:50 AM

  10. seriously thought stirring.. Thanks for the post… I’ve known my mistakes…I’ll correct myself now on!!!

    Comment by vneethasogathur — February 24, 2012 @ 12:11 PM

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