Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Fast Class! 

This post is inspired by Hemo. So thank you Mrs. Weld.

A lot of my family members don't know anything abt most things. Interestingly (or is the term ironic), they don't even know that they don't know. All the void in their ego, created by the lack of knowledge, is promptly filled up by an opinion. The little crevices that are left untouched after the opinions have snugged in, are filled up promptly by the eagerness to provide unsolicited advice (which is more like a by product of opinions). All this works well. Perfectly. Until a family gathering pops up. That's when the old, the bold and the kids with a cold meet and all the opinions and advice are just let loose to fly.

For example, an aunt of mine recently met Mummum and asked her what I do. Mummum informed her abt the PhD grind.

"Tell him to do a Masters after he finishes his PhD," the aunt advised.

Mummum tried to explain that a PhD is a superset of a Masters and also the fact that I anyway got a Masters degree two years back.

"No no," the aunt interrupted her. "A Masters after a PhD is a very good thing in USA. My husband's niece's nephew's cousin's neighbor got a Masters and now he's a millionaire."

I don't know what Mummum said. That's not the point. The point of this post is to rant abt all those Indian relatives who've formed an entire opinion of the Western culture based on one stray anecdote that they've overheard while getting their hair dyed with mehendi in a city beauty parlor.

Hemo was telling me abt some aunt of her's who told her that apparently in New York, when a person gets mugged in a park bench, the other guy on the bench continues to read his newspaper. Mind you - this wasn't narrated to lil Mrs. Weld as a story but rather as a rule. The relative then promptly instructed her to stay away from park benches, especially if it had some guy reading a newspaper sitting on it :)

My uncle, who spent a fleeting 2 hrs in some airport in US as part of his transit, told me all knowingly before I came here, "Nobody drinks water in USA. Eeeu know Ratan? My colleague's son who eeesh alsho in USA. He shed to me that ebhry body jusht hash beer." Excellent! Now I have a section of my family ostracizing me coz they think I gulp down my meals with beer :)

There are so many other stories abt the misconceptions based on hearsay but I shall end this post with a personal fav. Some distant aunt (or grandmom) of mine met me at my uncle's place and said:

"You know Tota's elder son? He came 'fast' in his class in USA among all the Indians."

"Fast" of all I dint know either Tota or his son. Secondly, I don't think any US school gives a special rank amongst its Indian students alone. While I was pondering on these non-issues the lady spoke again.

"What is your rank among the Indians in your college?" she asked.

I smiled and said, "Not first!"

"Yes," she said, "Tota's son is a genius!"


God Bless Tota and his gene's.
@anyesha - no jokes abt Tota - as i said, he is fast class material :)
Is Tota's son a marathon runner? How I wish he represented India in Olympics!!!
Visualize this headlines:
Little Tota the 'fast'est Indian !!!
@manchus - nice :) some journo can also say - lesse how long the fast boy lasts in the race :)
Not that i see anything wrong with gulping down meals with beer :)
One more misconception that most of the 'Aunties' have is "All Mamis in US have Bob cut".

FYI : 'Mamis' refers to all women
and 'Bob cut' is haircut like a boy
@finggeek - nothing at all provided that was indeed what i did - instead, i use cheap juice for gulping down meals and refuse to give undue credit to the beer :)

@manchus - maami mia :) btw, i thought the bob cut had disappeared until Will and Grace did an entire episode touching on it (look at my knowledge of female fashion) :)
I guess the one that irritates me most is - "In the west, married people don't have a problem with their spouses sleeping with other people."

Don't  have a problem? What do they think is the primary reason for divorce here?
what about people "living-in" , though this concept is catching up in India , still our uncles and aunts think its a crime ,and for some starnge reason belive every Indian who goes abroad , commits this "crime"!
@rajesh - i know of some people here (actually just one) who doesn't mind his partner (not yet wife) sleeping with other people, provided he can join in too :O

@divya - yeah! even my mom and dad used to ask me if I was living in or not. no wonder my break up made them so happy :)
aaw man, i miss bongs soooooo much and good ol Cal too!!!

@J - trust me i miss good ol Cal/Kol a lot too - have been away from it for 8 years now and boy do i miss it :(
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