ABCD's(American Born Confused Desis)
"Can i have one more of those salty donuts"???asked my 5 year old cousin in his all american distinct twang looking perfectly adorable in a power rangers T-shirt and with a bar of candy in his hand...salty donuts???i was stumped....a food item which i was not aware of??it took me quite a while to understand that he was actually talking about our local medu vada!!!
i looked at him and wondered about his future and the future of all the ABCDs..he was an american citizen(owing to the fact that his parents had been in the states for the past 15 years)..how would he view himself 20 yrs from now...as an americanised indian or totally american??what would he say if his parents(who had their roots in india) told him that it was wrong to date at the age of 15??and when he faced the outer world would he be discriminated because of his brown skin and distinct indian features and a name like adarsh subramanian(which by the way has been shortened to adash mani by the americans..wonder whats so difficult about adarsh)..before sept 11 i dont think i would have worried so much..but with the security becoming tighter and tighter in airports and when everyone with a different sounding name and a beard is viewed with suspicion i m not so sure..
Coming back to my cousin when i asked him if he would like to come back to india he told me "the waterrr(spelling mistake intended) here is so salty that it makes me wanna puke and the bugs(read mosquitoes) bother me.i think i like baltimore better"..at that time i laughed but when i gave thought to it i realised that they are so used to luxuries that even if they decide to migrate to india its going to be tough for them to adjust..they cant imagine sleeping on a mat,eating with hands,walking to a place(its always "are we gonna drive??") and so many other things.
And as for me there is no place in this world i would rather be than india and particularly chennai..india with its politics,oppressive weather,reservations in educational institutions and poverty has something so attractive about it that i dont think i could ever leave it let alone thinking of getting an american citizenship and being confused all my life about whether i m an american with roots in india or an indian with a life in america??i would rather be in a country which has been my home for so long and where i have the freedom to do anything and be close to my near and dear ones than be in a country where i have to slog to get a green card,visit my country only once in two years and give up my culture just for the sake of earning a little extra money..Though it may sound cliched "There is no place like home" and wild horses couldnt drive me to the US of A..and who knows if we just wait long enough maybe we would see a day when the economic times headline screams "one dollar=1 rupee";);)