Patriotic Or Not – Day 26

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Happy Republic Day to all of you out there. So what did you guys do, today?? Me, well we did nothing really. We are still snowed in. I think the three of us are pretty much getting on each others nerves by now. Wait!!! Did I just say I think?? Sorry correction I know we are getting on each others nerves being pretty much camped in at home for the last three days. This is one of the worst winters I have encountered here in the US. Anyway I don’t want to write about the bad winter, the news reports seem to be flooded with talks of how bad it is here. So much so that the other day my uncle mentioned that the vegetable vendor at the local market told him that Calcutta is also feeling the chills due to the snowstorms happening in America. 😀

Today lot of you have been writing about patriotism, and it felt pretty good reading it. But to be really honest I am not a very patriotic person so to speak. Of course I stand up without a nudge when the national anthem is played and never falter while writing my citizenship. I also love the patriotic songs and certain songs do send goose bumps but that’s how far my patriotism goes. After all I did choose to make my home in a foreign land. Unlike some people who say they will probably go back to India after they retire, I know that if I choose to stay now I am pretty much stuck for life. In 30 odd years I really don’t see myself leaving daughter here and returning to India no matter how well settled in life she is. At least thats how I feel right now.

While deciding whether we want to stay or go back, the hubby and I did a lot of thinking. We went back and forth on a lot of things. Of course we wanted to go back and stay where the family was. Of course we wanted Daughter to be one of the crowd and not stand out. Of course we wanted Daughter to feel her roots and see and explore India. But at the same time we wanted her to grow up where there was no gender discrimination. Where there is more humanity. A place where she can go about safely without us fretting till the time she is back. The recent incidents in India had us boiling with rage but we or at least I know am not strong enough to stand up to. If another woman is being teased I am sorry but I am not brave enough to let my hubby go and fight for her. You call me selfish. Yes!! I know I am being one but sadly I am not brave enough, cause to save one I am not sure if I am willing to sacrifice my loved ones.

The other thing that we almost always talked about is the road rage or the gathering of a mob in case of an accident. That really frightened us. I am not saying things like that don’t happen here but it’s a one off stray case. If people get into an accident here there are set rules that they follow without going berserk. In India a mob gathers in no time and without verifying who is at fault start to destroy the vehicles in question. You know I am not brave or strong enough to stand up to these things. I may crib or cry but can’t do anything to stop it. Because even though the mob comprises of fellow Indians yet they are people who are alien to me. I can’t relate to the way they think.

So to me we chose an easy way out. We chose not to go back because among many things safety is ranked pretty high especially now that we are raising Daughter.  But even though I don’t think myself as a patriotic person but I seethe in rage each time somebody does something stupid that brings down the name of Indian community as a whole. Having lived away from home a major part of my adult life, I had the misfortune to meet a lot of people who are such a disgrace at name of Indian.

It is because of some lazy people who have no regard for time that sometimes people think Indians are always late. It irritates me big time when people jokingly say it’s ok to be late. When people come an hour late and don’t think it’s necessary to apologize.

When people break rules/laws and think its ok just because they are Indians. Once we had the misfortune to see an Indian guy peeing just behind some grassy area in a beach when there was a restroom close by. It was so mortifying to say the least when a bunch of Americans looked at us with such disgust.

When Indian women go about the apartment complex in their nightwear. I have seen them checking mails, dropping off/picking up kids from the bus stop, or sometimes even going for a walk. These women feel just because they have a two-piece night suit on, no one realizes what they are wearing.

It saddens me to no end when people do these kind of things. They fail to realize a passerby who witnesses these kind of things don’t know their name. They just generalize and say an ‘Indian’. As I said, I am not patriotic but I don’t bring the name of my nation down either. I love my country even though I can’t always understand or relate to the people there.

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