Wednesday, August 10, 2011

International conversations

So I'm an international student, don'tcha know? And while most of the conversations over the past three weeks have been about what we all were doing before B-school, and what we plan to do after this, there's also a lot of interest in my background.
You've never lived in the US before? How come your English is so good?
I'm sort of taken aback by how many times I've been asked this question. Yes, my English is probably better than the average Indian, but I'm just so used to having spoken it all my life, that it startles me every time someone asks me this question.
Classmate: What's the time difference between here and India?
Me: Ten and a half hours.
Classmate: Oh yeaaaaaah, you Indians have that funny "and a half" thing going on.
I had not realised this was such an unusual occurrence. Really.
Oh you're Indian! I love Indian food! Chicken tikka/ Butter chicken is awesome! You must make it for me!
Because y'know, Indian food is pretty much entirely made up of what you get in Delhi and Punjab. For the record, I have never cooked a chicken dish in my life. My specialities have just recently expanded from Maggi and Knorr soups to include pastas. Indian food - of any region - remains a distant goal. Except arhar dal. I make awesome arhar dal.

A conversation yesterday was interesting though. I was again asked how I'm finding the transition, and I again responded that it's really really quiet. And a classmate told me, "But you know, coming here, to a small town like this, will probably tell you so much more about the real US than going to any of the cities in the North East would. Those cities are too cosmopolitan. This is the real America."

And it struck me, that's quite possibly true. If my classmates came to India and visited me in Delhi, got introduced to my friends, saw Mumbai and Bangalore, would they get a sense of the real India? We, the "urban", English speaking, Indians can afford to travel around and get the kind of exposure we do - we are a minority, aren't we? And we - at least I - tend to forget that.


Delo said...

Hey!Interesting..Am/was missing your blogs as well.......Keep writing,OK?

R said...

wut I never got any of this except as tried-and-tested way of getting me enraged because everyone loves it when I'm enraged. Key words work like buttons. I'd be flattered how well they know me if I wasn't so busy being enraged.