It now has been over a year since I moved to the United States of America. Within such a period of time, sociable and friendly individuals do accrue a horde of social acquaintances who serve as pleasant distractions during the tedious weekends. I sadly, due to my frugal social skills and outlandish opinions have gotten myself expelled from all such weekend-collectives. G. however does not exude the same toxic social fumes that I do. She therefore has managed to, over the period of time, expose me to a variegated collection of expatriated Indians. I however am sad to report that all have found me equally unpalatable. I understand that there are glaring flaws in me which do disqualify me for the position of red-hotness in the American-Indian communities, but the American Desi community too is not without its share of rather disturbing characteristics, a few of which I intend to point out in this post. I am fully aware that gross generalizations are always wrong, but they are also awfully convenient. I choose convenience over correctness and proceed.
- I would like to humbly request the Desi collectives to cease and desist from the much venerated potluck format. I am always honoured and consider myself privileged to have been invited to your home, but please do not ask me to carry my food from my home. It is very much like carrying a lunch-box to school. It brings back numerous harrowing memories -- of cold lunches and quadratic equations. Also, unpleasant combinations of the two.
- Desi people, you really have to stop creating clever little portmanteaus combining you and your spouse's name and then putting those combinations on your car tags. I do realise that you really do not care for the fact that every time I see such a tag my teeth grind, but do think about this -- The 2006 Honda Accord may be an excellent package in terms of price, performance and fuel-economy, but as an edifice for the undying love between you and your spouse, it is rather tawdry.
- I love Bollywood. It is wonderful for its campy cheesiness. What it certainly is not is a cultural entity. Most of Bollywood is artistically and culturally bankrupt. So, what we Desis really really need to do is stop elevating Bollywood to a position where it is perceived to be the Desi cultural purport. It is in all honesty, a trifle embarrassing. We Desis are fortunate to have a musical heritage which is exquisite and complex, a literary heritage which is deeply spiritual and brutally honest. If one does not have an understanding or appreciation of them, silence I think is called for.
- There is another habit among Desi Americans which disturbs me a bit. You guys have to stop going to Manhattan and getting yourself photographed in front or back of the Wall Street Bull as illustrated in the figure below. The photograph clicking part of it all is really fine. What tends to really disturb me is the fact that one then goes ahead and and puts that photograph up in their orkut profiles. Seeing your heads ensconced between those humongous bronze butt-cheeks tend to give me the heebie-jeebies.