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Thursday, January 20, 2005

Destination Education
I need to come up with some entertaining stories about San Diego. Just to amuse my relatives. Now a little background check - I come from a fairly conservative Indian family where the grandmothers and aunts and uncles and their kids and their mothers and their neighbors still believe that one shouldn't leave the city (Kolkata) unless you have proven yourself completely worthless to not manage and do anything worthwhile out there. So the fact that I did both my undergraduate and graduate studies outside Kolkata doesn't play too well with my family. Initially my mom (who I believe is the only modernist in the family) tried to usher some reason.

"It's a better ranked college. The job prospects ..." she would try to defend me.

Instantly smirks would be exchanged. "... but he goes to school in Rajasthan. That's a desert. Does he get water out there? ..." Seeing Mummum helpless in the face of combined attack I would jump in with details of how I was as away from wilderness as they were ... but NO. "Do you have camels?" That's it. If they were expecting entertainment from me I decided to give them that. "Yes, we have camels. As a matter of fact one of the biggest issues on campus is when they enter the rooms of students ... as a matter of fact they even drink water from our water bottles. You should see it. It looks really cute." With time the raconteur silenced his critics with crazy amusing anecdotes that shifted the focus from "Why do you think he left Kolkata?"

Now the same issue has resurfaced. I stay in San Diego. The place is NOT New Jersey. It is not Boston or Washington either. It is not my fault that most of the Indians my relatives know are in these places. With none of their acquaintances to defend the image of SD, the onus is once again on my shoulder. "I have heard that New Jersey has a lot of Indians. Why didn't you go there?" ... "My friend's niece, she is in Washington. Lovely place it is she has told me. You should visit her..." To make matters worse San Diego is Sunny (thank GOD for that) and next to the beach. So i always return home with a tan. My relatives have this notion that if you stay in the land of Caucasians, then with time you should get fairer. The fact that I'm neither in their dream list of places nor have I got any brighter (in any way) is now raising multiple eyebrows within the family. Some have actually expressed subtle doubts abt whether I even stay in the US. As usual it's Mummum darling who's the one getting most affected. So I have decided to take matters in my own hands again. Stories shall flow again - big ones, bold ones, crazy ones, old ones. It's my prerogative to bring San Diego into the forefront of family discussions. Wish me luck sweet people.

Comments:
I can't but admit, I have been a regular shikaar of what u just cited, shaggy....at least san diego is still a big city...in my case, clemson, and for that matter south carolina, we have to start by saying tis not in Canada and in mainland US...
 
ari i remember that when saikat went to the bank to geta draft for Pilani fees the bank teller congratulated him for getting admission "abroad". that's how much Kol knows abt Pilani :(
 
shaggy, somehow i got lucky on the pilani front as my coz, amlan was already there....btw do u have a term for these kinda pressure...i mean an official term...
 
well definitely not peer pressure. given that relatives are supposed to love you i'll say we call this "pyaar pressure"
 
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