Somethings I love about being in USA:
Well, anyone who has lived in India will agree that 'right' and 'wrong' or 'good' and 'bad' are very well defined in the country. At least that was the case 10 years back when I was there as a teenager and to question those and try to switch or step out of those categories was again 'WRONG" :)
Here are some of the rights and wrongs that are taught to us growing up. I never liked and understood them when I was there but once I was away from the country, I just could not relate to it anymore:
Friendship & Dating (Super wrong, specially if you are a girl): Yup! Good girls do not have boy friends. Meeting a boy outside of your home, who is not a friend or rakhi brother...totally out of line. In fact the Delhi government actually launched a sick program called 'operation majnu' where they would lock up couples who were out on a date at Delhi parks. The famous movie Maine Pyar Kiya boasts of a dialogue that says "Ek jawan ladka aur ek jawan ladki kabhi dost nahin hote Prem" and Prem then knows he is in love with the girl. But this is so not true. A boy and girl can definitely be friends..I have had many. I am the living proof :)
Now coming back to boyfriends, don't see what is wrong with that? Indian culture expects a girl to never be with a guy, never date, kiss or touch but then take seven circles around the fire and submit her body, soul and mind to the man she is married to (which may not even be of her choice). That for me is a no no..highly questionable...something I cant relate to or understand.
The fascination with fair skin: India is crazy about fair/gori skin. Again Fair is good, dark is bad is already established in India. I don't know if this love affair started after Britishers invaded India or has existed before that but I know it hasn't diminished. Actresses like Priyanka Chopra star in the commercials that show Saif choosing Neha Dhupia over Priyanka because Neha is fairer and I wonder the message that is being sent to masses. Pick up any matrimonial column and the ad starts with.."wanted a fair, tall bride.." lol
What is the deal with fair skin, folks? Never understood it, and will never be able to relate to it. I am pretty happy with my dark skin and let me say that the confidence that dark is equally good came only after I left India. Isn't that sad?
Kids and their life: I feel like most of the Indian moms are obsessed with their kids. Go to any party or get together and they will not talk about anything but kids. Whose kids got what grades, what are they planning to be..doctor or engineer, are they dating, are they looking for a match...the only idea is to discuss and make decisions for their lives with the help of these strange aunties. If someone's son or daughter is doing a different course or career, these aunties and uncles are quick to dismiss and brain wash the parents even though they may have no idea about it. It is really crazy...there is so much pressure on the kids growing up to not just be best in the class but also be best among the kids from the social circle their parents move around in, that it is ridiculous. The good and bad categories already exist in the sense that doctor and engineering is good and every other career is not good. This is another thing I don't see happening so much when parents in America get together and I really like it that way.
Eve Teasing: We all see this everyday in India...the crowded places like train stations or markets are the worst. When I asked my cousin in USA about eve teasing he said he has never heard the term :)
But I have to admit that in 10 years of stay in USA which included living alone, working alone, walking at nights alone, I have never experienced this (yeyyy). In India it is accepted as part of being a female to a large extent unless it goes totally out of hand...no one frets about it. I find that crazy and ridiculous. Once someone I know is a mother of a 4 year old daughter told me that one reason she would want to stay in USA is so that her daughter does not expect eve teasing as part of her everyday life. I don't disagree with that sentiment to be honest. I have no tolerance for it now that I know of a world where it does not have to be a part of my everyday life and existence as a woman.
Freedom: In a way where everyone is free to do what they want, I always felt bound by the rights and the wrongs, good and the bads..and the need to conform to these pre-existing notions. And if you don't then well, you are judged and everyone and anyone feels that they have a right to come and give you a piece of their mind. And who wants to be the topic of next get together to these aunties and uncles, seriously? The idea of personal choices and space did not exist. I never liked not having it before and now after having it for years there is no way I can give it up. Because I have learn t the theory of relativity :)
My theory says that right, wrong, good and bad are all relative. What is good for my friend may just not qualify as good for me and I get to decide that. The freedom to be able to understand this and make my own judgment is priceless!
Here is a cool song on "Kayda" from film Khoobsurat:
Click here if the video does not work