I love India. And I love Indians. I do. But no one can deny that the stereotypes attached to Indians are quite true to certain extents.
Very comically so, too.
Last year, I was visiting my relatives in Connecticut, USA. We’d taken tours of New York and Florida on that trip too.
When we landed at the JFK airport, used to the old Indian terminal, my mother rushed me and my sister to the baggage counter yelling “Go get em girls. Didn’t feed you for nothing.”
As soon as we reached the conveyor belt, she crassly pushed me towards the carts and yelled, “Get one before they’re all gone! Go!”
It took us a while and a boatload of dirty looks to realize you couldn’t just up and leave with an available cart. You had to pay a certain amount of money to rent it.
Yelling and all is super fun, as long as it’s not your mum, and you’re not the target.
Another ‘fun’ little thing that mother did whilst in USA was a little scene (I’m lying of course) at the nearest Walmart.
While shopping for basic necessities, she happened to bump into a lot of people, because hell, who can observe etiquette and compare prices of cheese while holding on to your cart, your purse AND two kids who keep wandering into the candy section!?
And not once would she turn around and say ‘sorry’ or ‘beg your pardon’ or ‘excuse me’.
She still hasn’t realized it of course. I thought it’d be easier to trail her and apologize on her behalf than explain to her why it was so necessary to be nice to complete strangers.
On touching New York, we stopped for a sandwich. After a while, my sister got out of the deli and starting looking around for something.
Forlorn is not a cute look on everyone.
I walked up to her and asked what she was looking for. “A stray dog or something,” she mumbled.
When asked why, she said, “I can’t finish my sandwich and I don’t want to waste it.”
I smiled at her and told her that she wouldn’t find many stray dogs here. She looked like she’d just seen the MIB pull out a three-headed alien out of me.
She then proceeded to throw the sandwich away. Sure, there could’ve been a couple of homeless, hungry looking guys nearby, but if the Indians stand by one rule with absolute surety, it’s that you do not interact with strangers unless they’re sitting on your bed with a creepy smile and a possibly wrong foreplay technique.
My uncle, who spent a better deal of his life growing up in USA, had the worst time roping us in when we were in Florida. When we were at the Disney magical freaking place, there were these tram things to transport us from the parking lot to the entrance and back.
There are tracks assigned to the row of seats on the tram and you’re supposed to stand in one track and get in that row of seats alone. No switching. Apparently.
And we, being the excited/ paranoid Indians, saw empty seats and lost all senses. Broke our track and rushed to catch a seat.
I am super proud to say my uncle legitimately hid his face in his hat for the rest of the time.
Just a month back, when in Dubai, similar things have happened. However, I haven’t moved out still. So, common sense tells me I should shut up right about now. I love you mum.
Now I’m just 19. And my family and I have so much travelling to do. And I just know, I will be embarrassing myself so much more on those trips outside India.
I can’t wait for someone to shake their head at me and call me an Indian disdainfully. I’d be utterly proud of my heritage only then.