DOING AWAY WITH TRADITION WITHOUT RAISING AN EYEBROW AND BEING PRAISED FOR IT. NOW THAT'S TOUGH! POSSIBLE BUT TOUGH!
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Location: Darjeeling, India

Available for the time being

 

American Indians or is it Indian Americans

Friday, March 31, 2006

There are quite a few of these people around, the likes of Mr. M. What sets them apart from the rest of the throng is their irritating fixation to all things Western. American to be precise. That's alright but if that obsession is heavily biased against your own country of birth, then something is loose up there.

Such was the case with M. Almost any conversation with him would not be complete without reference to America in some way or the other. Talk to him about the birds and the bees, very soon he would be narrating his experiences with the birds and the bees in the US of A. He had been to the States only once by the way. He claimed of having relatives in NY or NJ or somewhere - who were doing very well for themselves. They were all bada aadmi (prosperous folks) now. They lived in a huge condominium, drove a different car everyday, had TVs in every conceivable nook and cranny of their domain and so on and so forth... It was useless showing anything to him because he already had seen or owned or previously possessed a better example made in USA. I once met him in town. I was wearing a newly purchased RayBan® aviator. He was quick to notice it and was even quicker to comment how or why US made RayBans were different (read superior) to Indian ones. We were once flipping over IKEA, an home design glossy, and were marveling over the fine examples of interior decoration. M was ignorant as usual. He would not believe that those houses in question were all Indian. "Hrmphh! There are no such houses in India." That was his final verdict. Another time, he showed us his $50 shorts (a gift from USA) followed by a lecture on its craftsmanship in minute detail. Worn out with age and multiple washings, the apparel didn't look very convincing though. Piqued at his timid nature, a cousin retaliated with his $1 (Rs. 50) export reject shorts as exhibit. The heated altercation that ensued was no less amusing. The two bickered for an hour, at times coming close to blows. M never projected his views in presence of cousin B thereafter and cousin B was always alert for retaliation.

One day we spotted M with a white female on a rickshaw. We enquired later and were informed that he had married an American lady and would be leaving India soon. Two months later we came to know about his bitter divorce. Further two months later, we found out from another source that M had never been married, leave alone the question of divorce. And the woman on the rickshaw was a company visitor and M had been assigned to escort her around town. Also, she was not American. She was Finnish. We later confronted M about this. Adamant as usual, M skirted the question time and again.

M was endowed with good looks and a beguiling disposition. Women fell for his charms left, right and center. Poor creatures. They never knew what they had gotten themselves into. "He is a ticking time bomb!" was a mutual friends observation.

He worked for Brittania as a sales executive and was doing pretty well for himself I must add. He didn't belong to the highly-payed upper crust of the corporate world but he had the airs of one.

...to be continued

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