Saturday, June 22, 2013

On being back in India after an year in US for the first time

Relatives like to ask you rhetrorically "wahan pe hain aise majey?" You have to stop yourself from saying "haan hain, isse zyada hain." even though if you said this you'd just be replying truthfully. But then hamaare kuch sanskaar hain.

You picked up a habit abroad: you say thank you to everyone - barbers, tailors, vendors, gatekeepers, doctors. No one responds. Most look back at you in bewilderment. But this is still OK, really. Then there are times you say thank you to friends or cousins too, when then they curve a contemptuous lip and go "Saale bhai ko thanks bolega!"

You notice how the following of queues is a philosophical abstraction, not a reality. And you suffer for it. Time and time again.

Girls once again start giving you the "come a step closer and I'll call the police" look when you weren't even thinking about her until she gave you this look. And there it starts feeling like home once again.

It feels very, very, very hot for the first day or two. But it takes a really short time to get used to it again if you've spent your whole life here.

Something quite the opposite of what happened when you first went to US happens. When you first go to US, you look at the simplest sandwich - this is at a grocery, mind you, not some fancy eatery - and see 6.99 and quickly convert it to something close to 400 and go "screw you" in your head, "I don't need this shit. No way." Now you come back to India and you want to have one samosa and your first impulse is to convert it into dollars, but no dollars dude, this is just 25 cents. Goodness gracious me, I'll eat four!

You appreciate how judiciously all resources are utilized in India. The West appears once again what it appeared to be when you first arrived there - a place where people waste things a lot.

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