1. If you have been to the United States before the advent of broadband in India, then you have definitely indulged in this - some serious open-mouthed respect for how fast the Internet is in USA.
You, who was used to a dial-up connection back home that flickered and groaned its disapproval as you watched anxiously. You, who both loved and loathed graphic-heavy websites. Now you download GBs worth of movies from torrent sites. You tap your fingers impatiently when the YouTube video accessed from your IPad while you're commuting in a moving bus doesn’t buffer fast enough.
Oh ye of little patience, remember thy dial-up days?
2. So in India, you greeted your fellow passengers, with the occasional smile, but usually with a suspicious glance, a well-aimed elbow (in crowded circumstances) and a swear word (reserved for any loafer/eve-teaser) if the situation arises.
So imagine your shock, right from the moment when you step off the plane onto ‘Amreekan’ soil and all the airport staff are smiling at you, wishing you “Good Day”, saying “Thank you”.
You accept the “Hello”s and "How are you?"s with a reserved suspicion, which grows into a surprised delight and finally into a warm acceptance. But it will take time to accept the opening of cars for you, slowing of cars as you cross the street, holding of elevators and polite queuing up everywhere.
3. Dear NRI, you do this unawares, no doubt. Ok, if we're being honest here, you do this 'slightly' aware of the jealousy and 'wahs' that your photos will be greeted with back home.
And like many before you, you name your Facebook photo albums the painfully obvious (we're giving full marks for creativity here) – ‘Fall-2011’, ‘Las-Vegas 2008’ and ‘Drive down to Nashville’.
There a few staples in most of these albums. Allow me the liberty to state a few here:
- You holding the Statue of Liberty precariously on your palm, smiling into the camera....definitely getting points for creative photography angles there.
- You enjoying your first ever snowfall in your brand new woollen jackets and boots from Wal-Mart, bought in the summer sale.
- You posing with the gigantic headed Minnie Mouse at Disneyland. Picture caption: At Disneyland, with Minnie Mouse. Brilliant, lest we think that was you at Juhu Beach with Shah Rukh Khan dressed in a polka dotted dress. Duh!
- You first Baby shower, first Halloween, first barbecue, first baseball game, all your Firsts of the American dream, documented on Facebook.
4. ‘Gas’ is not a word you use very frequently in India without feeling a wee bit ashamed. Not unless you're cursing the gas cylinder-wallah for charging 20 rupees extra for hauling the cylinder all the way from the kitchen entrance to just under the gas stove. Or you’re suddenly haunted by childhood memories of a shameless uncle who emitted unapologetic loud squeaky sounds (out of the wrong end), and made you want to slam your head somewhere.
So when you go about the business of buying your first car in US, it’s only natural you’re going to be going on some lovely long drives. Which will inevitably lead to the need to fill up on some ‘gyaas’ along the way. Wait, not petrol, not diesel, but gas.
Not to worry, it’s just what the American’s like to call their petrol-stations. So yes, eventually, you’ll stop suppressing a smile, as you pull up there and ask for some ‘gyaas’. All in good time, my dear ‘virgin’ NRI.
5. Dear NRI, you have GOT to stop converting everything to Indian rupees. Haan! So it’s true that hot dog you gulped down from the street-vendor cost you as much as watching a movie at an Indian multiplex. But it’s got to stop. You have always been poor at multiplication tables and all this multiplying with 46 is just going to complicate things further. And yes you better start believing it; you won’t get gulab jamuns or bathroom mats or anything for the same price as back home.
But look on the bright side. Soon you’ll discover the magic of discount ‘que-pons’ and forget multiplication completely and live happily ever after in NRI bliss.
Photo credit: postnoon.com