A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.

As NRI

December 14th, 2009 Posted in popular, travel

Finals are over. Two projects still due, but Exams are over!!

In a week, Melissa and I will be en route to India with Tania, Viraj, Anu, Sonia, and many others.

Whenever I go to India, I have a few strange feelings about it. I love being there, learning about my culture and heritage, and of course eating the world’s best cuisine. However, Indians decidedly make us feel like we don’t belong. Everyone we encounter, from the people in the hotels and on the street to my relatives and cousins, make a point of treating me like an outsider. And by outsiders I mean stupid Americans. Every conversation is forced to English and my Bengali is greeted with “VHATT?” and “KEE BOLTHAE CHOOUW?”. Lord know we’re hopelessly overcharged for everything we want to buy. Taxis take circuitous routes, and you’re always handed the most expensive items in every store.

The only one that really bothers me is being treated as someone with only a passing interest in India. I feel badly about it maybe because it is true. As much as I’m interested in India, the economy, relations with the Pakis, the high tech sector, my interest has never evolved further. I have always wanted it to, but to develop a stronger interest, I need to spend more time there. And in order to spend more time there, I must be away from the US for longer periods. That hasn’t been possible until this year.


indian_map

On this trip, I am planning to immerse myself completely in India; all of our lively culture and the energy of the place. This “Indian-American” stuff isn’t a strong identity. I want to get my culture from the source.

  1. One Response to “As NRI”

  2. By tania on Dec 15, 2009

    don’t worry raj. you will not be treated like a stupid/gullible nri in cal and i will make sure of it. we can’t wait! from shopping in random narrow alleys to the wedding festivities, eating in hole in the walls in tangra, snacking at the roadside stalls, to partying at hhi, you will totally be immersed in bong culture. few more days and see you in india…

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