Friday, February 04, 2005

Short Journey, Big Change

I take the last bus out of C heading to Philadelphia. The cabbie is an African American. He dropped me at the hotel from work on my last day at there. Very chatty and tells me that my husband must be very lucky man to have such a beautiful wife. I smile inwardly say nothing thinking to myself if only he knew how lucky.

However, as I came out of my cube the very last day, I make it a point to say "I'm outta here" to a certain bloke by name S. And he almost prophetically responds "Famous last words , huh?" He is the kind of Desi dude that gives their ilk their bad name - did his Masters in US from some no-name mid-western university, went through the H1-B trial by fire attained "Moksha" in six years through the Green Card.

He now feels like he is a twice born American more regular than the regular WASP if you will. He's been there, done that, owns two cars a 1990 Eclipse that has over a 150,000 miles on it and a Lexus with fewer miles but not much newer if you get my drift.

S makes it a point to give the business visa bearing FOBs a ride in both cars just so they know and carry the stories of his magnificent power and pelf back home. This guy was peskier than most of his kind and would ask me on a daily basis "So when do you return to India ?" or better still completely flouting norms of decency "What ! You still around ? When will you go back ?"

There is all this talk about one global virtual team but in reality the "Bhais" from back home are treated pretty shabby - in the pecking order they come way below the lowly H1-B contractors that work "on-site" side by side with Green Card endowed S and share a turkey sub for lunch sometimes. It was not an edifying feeling to be down there with the hoi polloi but it was some memorable experience on it's own right.

He took me home one day to introduce me to his wife - and she starts the conversation on a patronizing note "So how do you like it in America ?" - even Mrs. Bush could benefit from learning from her. Surely she has to make such small talk with the obscure foreign delegates from vague third world countries. Things would have gone further south with her beginning to educate me on the American way of life so I did not make a fool of myself during my short stay. I figured I could give her a break. I told her casually "I've lived here before, I used to work in P"

Now, she does not know what to say next having exhausted the possibilities of the FOB special pep-talk. She proceeds to get us some tea. We talk about rising real estate prices in Indian metros, job prospects and they give me the whole sham routine about how they hate being in America and long to "return to India". For the life of me, I can't understand why below-average blokes like S will not show any gratitude towards the country that has given them a home and living well beyond their capacity to have achieved in India. I have long since tuned out.


Anonymous said...

I have been trying to build your biography from whatever little information you have left here and there! And I was wondering whether or not you are beautiful!

Now I know that you are breathtakingly beautiful!

The gabby cabbie! He! He!

workhard said...

Hey, took ur suggestion and dropped by to read your post... Like they say, the grass is greener on the other side.. i love your writing, its got this cute sarcasm in it...

Work from home