Desi's Life in USA

Discussion in 'Jokes' started by Reenae, Nov 21, 2007.

  1. Reenae

    Reenae Bronze IL'ite

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    The X = X + 1 Syndrome

    When an Indian professional becomes a 'Non-Resident Indian' in the
    United States, he soon starts suffering from a strange disease. The
    symptoms are a fixture of restlessness, anxiety, hope and nostalgia.
    The virus is a deep inner need to get back home. Like Shakespeare
    said, "The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak." The medical
    world has not coined a word for this malady. Strange as it is, it
    could go by a stranger name, the "X + 1" syndrome.

    To understand this disease better, consider the background. Typically
    middle-class, the would be migrant's sole ambition through school is
    to secure admission into one of those heavily government subsidised
    institutions - the IITs. With the full backing of a doting family and
    a good deal of effort, he acheives his goal. Looking for fresh worlds
    to conquer, his sights rest on the new world. Like lemmings to the
    sea, hordes of IIT graduates descend on the four US consulates to seek
    the holiest of holy grails - the F-1 (student) stamp on the passport.

    After crossing the visa hurdle and tearful farewell, our hero departs
    for the Mecca of higher learning, promising himself and his family
    that he will return some day - soon!

    The family proudly informs their relatives of each milestone - his
    G.P.A., his first car (twenty years old), his trip to Niagara Falls
    (photographs), his first winter (parkas,gloves). The two years roll by
    and he graduates at the top of his class. Now begins the 'great
    hunt' for a company that will not only give him a job but also sponsor
    him for that 3" X 3" grey plastic, otherwise known as the Green Card.
    A US company sensing a good bargain offers him a job.
    Naturally, with all the excitement of seeing his first pay check in
    four digit dollars, thoughts of returning to India are far away. His
    immediate objective of getting the Green Card is reached within a

    Meanwhile, his family back home worry about the strange American
    influences (and more particularly, AIDS). Through contacts they line
    up a list of eligble girls from eligible families and wait for the
    great one's first trip home. Return he does, at the first available
    oppurtunity, with gifts for the family and mouth-watering tales of
    prosperity beyond imagination. After interviewing the girls, he picks
    the most likely (lucky) one to be Americanised. Since the major reason
    for the alliance is his long-term stay abroad, the question of his
    immediate return does not arise. Any doubts are set aside by the
    'backwardnes' of working life, long train travel, lack of phones,
    inadequate oppurtunities for someone with hi-tech qualifications, and
    so on.

    The newly-weds return to America with the groom having to explain the
    system of arranged marriages to the Americans. Most of them regard it
    as barbaric and on the same lines as communism. The tongue-tied bride
    is cajoled into explaining the bindi and saree. Looking for something
    homely, the couple plunges into the frenetic expatriate week-end
    social scene compromising dinners, videos of Hindi/regional films,
    shopping at Indian stores, and bhajans.

    Initially, the wife misses the warmth of her family, but the presence
    of washing machines, vacuum cleaners, daytime soap operas and the
    absence of a domineering mother-in-law helps. Bits of news filtering
    through from India, mostly from returning Indians, is eagerly lapped

    In discussions with freinds, the topic of returning to India arises
    frequently but is brushed aside by the lord and master who is now
    rising in the corporate world and has fast moved into a two garage
    home - thus fulfilling the great American Dream. The impending arrival
    of the first born fulfills the great Indian Dream. The mother-in-law
    arrives in time: after all, no right thinking parent would want their
    off-spring to be born in India if offered the American alternative.

    With all material comforts that money can bring, begins the first
    signs of un- easiness - a feeling that somehow things are not what
    they should be. The craze for exotic electronic goods, cars and
    vacations have been satiated. The week-end gatherings are becoming

    Faced with a mid-life crisis, the upwardly mobile Indian's career
    graph plateu's out. Younger and more aggressive Americans are
    promoted. With one of the periodic mini recessions in the economy and
    the threat of a hostile take-over, the job itself seems far from

    Unable or unwilling to socialize with the Americans, the Indian
    retreats into a cocoon. At the home front,the children have grown up
    and along with American accents have imbibed American habits
    (cartoons,hamburgers) and values(dating). They respond to their
    parents' exhortation of leading a clean Indian way of life by asking
    endless questions.

    The generation gap combines with the cultural chasm. Not surprisingly,
    the first serious thoughts of returning to India occur at this stage.
    Taking advantage of his vacation time, the Indian returns home to
    'explore' possibilities. Ignoring the underpaid and beaurocratic
    government sector, he is bewildered by the 'primitive' state of the
    private sector. Clearly overqualified even to be a managing
    director/chairman he stumbles upon the idea of being an entrepreneur.

    In the seventies, his search for an arena to display his buisness
    skills normally ended in poultry farming. In the eighties, electronics
    is the name of the game. Undaunted by horror stories about government
    red tape and corruption he is determined to overcome the odds - with
    one catch. He has a few things to settle in the United States. After
    all, you can't just throw away a lifetime's work. And there are things
    like taxation and customs regulations to be taken note of. Pressed for
    a firm date, he says confidently 'next year' and therein lies our
    story. The next years come and go but there is no sign of our
    McCarthian freind.

    About 40 years later our, by now, a old friend dies of a scheduled
    heart-attack and it so happens that his last wish was that he be laid to rest in the
    city he was born in India. So our friend at last returns to India for
    good. But by now the people who were so looking forward to see him return to
    his homeland are no more.

    In other words if 'X' is the current year, then the objective is to
    return in the 'X + 1' year. Since 'X' is a changing variable, the
    objective is never reached. Unable to truly melt in the 'Great Melting
    Pot', chained to his cultural moorings and haunted by an abject fear
    of giving up an accustomed standard of living, the Non-Resident Indian
    vacillates and oscillates between two worlds in a twilight zone.
    Strangely, this malady appears to affect only the Indians - all of our
    Asian brethren from Japan, Korea and even Pakistan - seem immune to it.
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