‘Hari sona’ gaon
15 August 2011
Myself Chintu from India. You won’t know me, but I know you and all the previous Presidents of the USA very well. How is aunty ji? Last week in her interview to the Fox News she sounded like she was having a cold and throat infection. Ask her to take some tablet, and more importantly good amount of rest. Convey my regards to Malia and Sasha. Hope they are doing well in studies.
Mama ji though I was born in India I was raised completely American. No I haven’t travelled to the US without even an Indian passport in my name. When I was a child, my mother got American tinned baby food for me and milk powder that American kids (as the advertisements claimed) were being fed. When I went to school, my parents always spoke about Bittu bhaiya because he went to study in the US. They told me right from my infanthood that America was my destination. They drilled into me the great American dream even before I had learnt to construct my own small dreams!
But you know mama ji, it was far too wonderful to shun; at least when compared to the life back in my gaon. I learnt to grow with it. In schooldays, I had my room covered with everything American- the stars and stripes, statue of liberty, White house, the bald eagle and the liberty bell etc. I have watched more American movies than Bollywood ones! I knew everything about Tom Cruise and Leonardo Di Caprio, and felt it unnecessary to follow their Indian counterparts.I grew up listening to Bob Dylan and Micheal Jackson much more than Kishore Kumar or Kumar Sanu. I have sat up countless late nights and sometimes up to the next morning watching episodes of Friends, Two and a Half Men and How I Met Your Mother even when I did not understand most of the humour in them.When many of my friends fantasized girlfriends like Aishwarya Rai, Deepika Padukone and Katrina Kaif, I was dreaming and talking about Lindsay Lohans and Megan Foxes.
I may not know all the states in India (especially after they added a few more) or their Chief Ministers, but I can definitely name each and every state in the US and their capitals, and in many cases their governors as well.I have subscribed to the New York Times and I never fail to catch up with all the NBA action live late in the night (in India) even if that means going late to class next day or not doing my homework. I adore Kobe and will pledge anything I have to meet him in person. When we had to buy a car and we did not have the money for anything but Maruti 800, I was very depressed. At last I forced my father to take a bank loan (at high rate of interest) so that we could afford the latest Ford in the market. Now I drive it on the highways assuming I am driving down the countryside in the US, with loud American music blaring out of my stereo.
You know my list of most important things to do in the US have recently gone beyond 75 and are expected to touch a century very soon? I can’t wait to get there in a year or two!
But recently I read in the newspaper- whether it was in the Wall Street Journal or NY Times I don’t remember now, that the US is slipping into a double depression and that you are neck (or perhaps, head-) deep in debt. The people around me tell that the US and the great American dream will soon turn into a big fat myth from the past! Tears swell up in my eyes and I can feel the knot in my stomach, at the mere thought of such a thing. Do you know what it means for me mama ji?
It means that my twenty odd years in this world have been utterly futile! My one and only dream in life is shattered, and I will end up being a ludicrous loser in front of my friends and relatives. It could mean that I will remain unemployed forever, or take up farming in my gaon. I will never be able to visit those places I grew up dreaming about. It will be a very rude awakening from a pleasant dream that I have been living all these years!
Mama ji, I fall at your feet. Do not deprive me of my future. Save America! Don’t let it slip off. Shield it with all your might, for you know now that it is not just the American citizens who are Americans- there are a lot many of us across the globe whose dreams, aspirations, hopes and ambitions are pinned to the United States of America. So please bacha lo mama ji!
Pranams to aunty ji, and love to the kids.
Always indebted to you,