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The Muse

July 02, 2004

Ever say thank you?

I was talking to my buddy Prakash [we go back all the way to school in DTEA, New Delhi] and he was asking me about the US, how opportunities are better here. The usual talk you know, people here want to go back, people there want to come here, if you are working you want to study, if you are studying you want to work - nothing makes you content.

But anyway, something I feel strongly about is acknowledging the benefits here. Whenever people here get together, there is some form of bashing going on - of course,these days its mainly about Bush bhai and his preoccupation, as Jay Leno remarked, with OIL ["Operation Iraqi Liberation"].

When was the last time you heard someone praise this place? Or even be remotely thankful?

But really, we owe this country some form of gratitude. Not that many areas in the world allow people to come and settle down, give them a decent shot at getting a better life and try to induct them into their society.

I look at all these Mexicans, somehow getting into this country, willingly and proudly doing menial jobs and being the butt of many jokes and ridicule - still they come here for a better life, so do we. Thats what its about, eventually. They are more mature then we are in some ways.Just because we fly into this country instead of swimming across, and just because we have better education - we rarely show gratitude.

We are better educated and speak English primarily because the British occupied our country and forced English into our schools. We should not mistake an accident as destiny. Sure, we Indians are rapidly moving towards center stage in world affairs and much of it is due to hard work and sacrifices, but it would be a mistake to just look ahead and ignore whatever is behind you.

Of course,there are, and will be problems.As I mentioned to Prakash, I don't feel completely comfortable here. Probably because this is not MY home. I might be rich and happy but never comfortable. You get used to a certain environment and can rarely feel at ease elsewhere - with all its diversity, India has a rhythm throughout, you can sense it. Even though you have access to cuisines from all corners of the world, you can never live without eating rice, or as some people refer to it - thayir saatham - can you? Maybe if you were born and lived here all your life, it would feel different. Its like listening to a Rehman song you know, you always treasure it in the language you hear it first.
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Just wanted to mention something about the feedback...you guys have all been terrific, so many hits [of course, half of it was me checking and rechecking, but still :-)]

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