Saturday, June 27, 2009

From the Other Side of the Globe

Man, Chicago is FAR.

Yes, I know. I don't quite know how I got here either. All I know is that Vijay was obsessing about this holiday for the last few months. Somewhere in between my busy schedule, he managed to get me to go ahead for a Visa interview, which by itself is another story. Anyhow, Friday evening, I was in office till 5 p.m. He came and picked me up and took me shopping for three hours. At 8 p.m, I asked him what time we were supposed to be leaving for the airport and he said 9.30 p.m. would be good. I flipped out because we hadn't even begun to pack. It's been a crazy blur but somehow we have made it to the other side of the world, relatively without incident, except for the fact that I seem to have not brought any warm clothes and it's a teeny bit chilly and Peanut's head is feeling a little warm.

We're going to go off to Ann Arbor, Michigan in a couple of hours. I'm still feeling a little disoriented but not so disoriented that I haven't noticed that some Americans can be pretty darn rude for no reason - airhostesses, and other airport officials. I am left wondering whether it is the consciousness that we are not 'in home country' that makes us a bit more aware of this, or whether it really is a not so subtle form of discrimination. What's with the resentment people? It's our planet, even if it's not our country. Sheesh.

Then again, I know for a fact Vijay and me used to also get rudeness from the people like security guards and so on in good old Bengaluru, one of our favorite cities ever. So I guess, it's just about the 'outsiders' phenomenon. Either way, makes me glad I'm just here for a couple of weeks and hats off, by the way, for those of you, including members of my family, who've made America their home despite it all.

Well, that's a lot of judgement based on 3 experiences in a span of a mere few hours. Should be an interesting trip. Let's see what this country is all about. I wonder if I'll get to see Central Perk with Ross, Rachel and the rest of the gang hanging around.

Also, I've noticed there are a lot of tall buildings here. Very tall. I write from the 17th floor of one myself, staying at a friend's place till it's time to drag ourselves out of bed to catch the train.

Am going to try and post now and then - been rather a lot happening of late, just haven't had the time to pin it all down anywhere.

So take care of yourselves and be around. By the way, skipped over to any new continents lately?


  1. Welcome to Chicago! If you remember, I am you regular reader in Chicago. Wish I could see you guys! Have a nice trip.

  2. went to Europe for my honeymoon...
    Vienna, Innsbruck and on FB...

  3. Ah was in Chicago just last week. Rottenly hot I thought. Ate a load of lovely fish.

  4. Hello, Interesting to read your point of view. Coincidentally, like you, my first port of entry in the US was Chicago's O Hare airport, and 4 years down the line, what I remember of my first impressions were, "wow!i never knew a place like this exists where a woman travelling alone is not stared at, touched, molested, harassed, abused, taken advantage of by every man I meet!" I had lived in India for the first 27 years of my life, and every day of my life I had to fend off men trying to touch me(and worse!) in buses, treating me differently and trying to put me down at work because of being a woman etc. Came across this comment on another blog, and really says everything I want to say beautifully - "Every corner of the globe has its issues, its problems, its prejudices. Its just a matter of quantity and quality of the same. For me, as a woman, the West is much kinder to me than the East. Yes, there is still sexism and racism here(in the US), but to a lesser degree than in India. Therefore, without condoning the sexism and racism in the USA or giving it a pass, I will say that between here and India, I personally feel that here is better for me, as a woman." Coincidentally, Kolkata was bad in terms of sexual harassment on public transportation, roads and work, Bangalore was better that I faced harassment as a woman maybe a couple of times in 3 months, and Delhi was the worst - it was a nightmare, most of the men(whether uneducated or educated and middle-class or rich) were a nightmare, they had no concept of women as individuals but saw women as just a sexual being(or maybe distance is adding an edge to the Delhi horror!). I will be moving back to live in India in the future, and as you said in your post, hats off for those of you women who've made Delhi their home despite it all!


  5. Hi,
    I have lived in the USA for 5 years, and can vouch that they are very friendly as a community! Even better than fellow Indians. When I used to take Aditi to the park in USA, there would be at least one mom, who would say some friendly words. Infact here in India, people ignore each other at the park.
    So, have fun and don't make your first impression be your last one!


  6. Curious as to what exactly was the discrimination you encountered? Often, cultural differences can be miscontrued as rudeness. For example, I found your statement "hats off, by the way, for those of you, including members of my family, who've made America their home despite it all." extremely rude, even though you may not have meant it to be so. Often, people from India expect servility from waiters etc. and are offended when they are not teated as such:-)

  7. Hi guys - thanks for your comments - will be replying in a little more detail soon.

    But Anonymous no. 2, a couple of points -

    a. Perhaps you can de-anonify first? I would then perhaps email you about the exact nature of the experiences. If I wanted to elaborate about it on the blog, I would have done so in the first place.

    b. 'Expect servility from waiters' - I find that analogy a little funny. I am talking about treatment from airport official types. Wasn't going about expecting servility from anybody, was just expecting a little common courtesy, that's all. Now who's being rude?

    Anyway, each place has its ups and downs and share of issues - people and otherwise. So its cool. All I know is that home is home, for whatever its worth!

    If you want to continue this thread of conversation for any reason, would be happy to do so - over email. So let me know.

  8. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


Hi there. Go on, say it. Well? WELL?