Friday, October 2, 2009

Getting acclimatized...a little too much!

Uncle sam's land seemingly influences some of their inherent traits to immigrants so effortlessly, even without one's apparent realization. I see this happen mostly to students/IT professionals, because they seem to interact with more Americans in a day than with desis.

I did not have this habit to saying 'You too' for many things when I was back in India. But this country has taught me enough to do so at least a good 10 times a day. This has become a habit, making me say it, even when not completely necessary.

Couple of months ago, as I was boarding a flight, the flight attendant, looked at my boarding pass and said 'You seat is on the left aisle sir'. I said 'Thank you'. She then added "Have a good flight sir'. I instantaneously said 'you too'. She gave a blank and a puzzled look. I moved on without looking back, feeling slightly stupid.

The other day, during my visit to a temple nearby, the priest offered me the 'crown of blessing' (or satari if you will) and mildly said 'Aayushmaanbhava'. Instantaneously I said 'you too!' He gave me the weirdest of looks, as if to ask 'are you ok?'. I shamelessly smiled back, realizing what a douchebag I was. He muttered something that appeared to me like 'hopeless!' and moved on.

The western traits seem to catch on desis after a prolonged stay in this place (in some cases after about a month or so). And where else is this evident if not in desi temples?! A visit to a desi temple in Uncle sam's land has always made me come home with a tinge of self-smiling humour. The various people I see, the way things are organized, the discipline people exhibit and of all, the priests themselves!

Most priests, either because they stay here for a long time or because they interact with 'American-turned-Desis' way too much, get acclimitized to the US culture so well. They tend do demonstrate some characteristics which one wouldn't get to see otherwise.

The other day, at a temple nearby, an old priest (who looked like he hailed from kumbakonam) asked me, "how you doin'?"

I said "Fine, how are you?".

He answered, "I'm good!".

I doubt if he would have cared as to how I did, if we both met in kumbakonam.

Later, when he distributed prasadham, he asked the person next to me "Are you good or you need more?" That seemed indigeniously American to me. After a while, as I was doing my pradhakshanam, I overheard two young priests talking enthusiastically about Yahoo-Microsoft merger and how it affected their stock prices. wow, I thought.

It's interesting to see how people catch up on local culture and get used to the land. Not that there is anything wrong about it, it just seems a little funny when the 'getting used to' part becomes a little too much at times!

15 comments:

RukmaniRam said...

It's funny, sure, but you sure that's actually "going overboard"?

Arun Sundar said...

Thanks ma'm. Changed it now.

Gradwolf said...

I see you've used the word douchebag. I now see the point of this post.

Alan Smithee said...

Oho? I never got used to this "how you doing.. I am good" cliche. When asked how I am doing, I tend to be descriptive and truthful. Like "I have a boil on my right ass cheek and I find it difficult to sit".

Anonymous said...

Have you considered the fact that whatever you write and photos you take has already been written and taken by so many people before?

I think doing nothing is better.

Juggler said...

@anon: Too many people have already had sex. Does that make you want to abstain?

Anonymous said...

Juggler: Good point. Hopefully he'll shut down his blog and photo account after having sex, regularly at it.

Arun Sundar said...

You, Anon, are hilarious.

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