Next stop, insanity

Monday, June 12, 2006

Blend in like a sore thumb

Most of us*, Indian-Americans, strive to blend in into the American society. It's amusing to observe some of the measures we undertake:

  1. We start rolling our "r"s. Unfortunately we can never pronounce Rs like the natives do. So we end up sounding as if we had some vocal cord deformity.
  2. Most us who never wore shorts in life start wearing shorts as soon as we enter the US, choosing completely to ignore the visual abomination we perpetrate. Indians who venture into wearing shorts should take a look at themselves in the mirror. If one’s legs look like bamboos with hair on them, one must avoid shorts at all costs.
  3. Start following American sports such as football (of course we call American football, football), baseball and basketball. Then we discuss these sports loudly with Americans at the water-cooler as if we have been watching these sports all our life
  4. Try our hand at wit and make jokes when in a group. Humor is a very cultural thing. Unless practiced with caution, it often ends up with a bunch of blank stares in one’s direction.
  5. Start using profanity. We used to say “What the hell, yaar.” Now we say “What the fuck.” We think using the language employed by plumbers and construction workers takes us one step closer to being American
  6. Start drinking beer. Half my friends who drink beer never drank alcohol before. Now they drink beer to look “cool” at a party.
  7. We start wearing wedding bands on our left ring-finger. If somebody doesn’t wear one, we say, “Oh, I assumed you were not married since you were not wearing a wedding-band.”
  8. When in the company of Americans, we start blaming India and off-shoring for taking away our jobs!
  9. When a new comer to US says “First floor” to refer to second floor, that is, the one floor above ground floor, we act all confused and lost.
  10. When at office or meetings, we put our feet up on the table/chair and we keep them there no matter who else in the cube/meeting room, just to prove to ourselves that we are behaving like Americans.

*”Most of us” does not mean “all of us.” Not all Indian-Americans exhibit aforementioned symptoms and not all of them exhibit all the symptoms.


  • Well those are some intresting points. Well as you mentioned it depends from person to person and 98% end up in the facts that you mentioned.


    By Blogger Ilaiy, at Mon Jun 12, 09:21:00 AM 2006  

  • :) I know its nothing personal, so I am gonna pass ;-)


    By Blogger samurai, at Mon Jun 12, 11:11:00 AM 2006  

  • No big deal yaar. Look at it like this.I live in a small town in India, yet I do most of the things u mentioned....
    - I pronounce R like americans do (or atleast I try to). I manipulate my accent wheneva in a seminar.
    - I wear shorts (though my legs look like bamboos wid hair)
    - I used to play baseball when in school
    - I use the F word atleast a dozen times a day.
    - I drink beer jus to look coool.
    - I blame India 4 every damn thing.

    So, there's nothing wrong in u guys over there tryin to blend into the american culture.

    By Blogger harshavardhan reddy, at Mon Jun 12, 12:14:00 PM 2006  

  • You are in form and this is your favourite shot, so play on:)

    By Blogger Casement, at Mon Jun 12, 01:28:00 PM 2006  

  • I think you forgot another important point ..

    They become too religious and traditional ..

    Correct me if I am wrong ..


    By Blogger Ilaiy, at Mon Jun 12, 02:13:00 PM 2006  

  • Oh how about the weekend thing? Wishing everyone a happy weekend on Friday.. we wouldnt care less about that in India.
    'Coz if you are in India and working for a software company offshore, you are invariably going to spend your weekend at the office..

    By Blogger Anu, at Mon Jun 12, 10:40:00 PM 2006  

  • Actually I think, being able to say the F word is highly liberating. Try this. If you are really mad at some one and cant retaliate on the face for some reason, just go stand in a quiet room and scream "WHAT THE FUCK" at the top of your lungs. You will feel immensely better.

    By Blogger Shreemoyee, at Tue Jun 13, 07:40:00 PM 2006  

  • I dont know why there are so many pop-ups when I visit your blog? Is it some of the applet that you might have embedded [sitemeter]?

    Most of the times the popops are from

    Pretty annoying, IMO.

    By Blogger samurai, at Tue Jun 13, 11:16:00 PM 2006  

  • Why does one pick up the bad habits to meld in? Happens every where..

    By Blogger jaygee, at Tue Jun 13, 11:28:00 PM 2006  

  • ilaiy: i agree that people seem to be becoming more "traditional". It's more about trying find their identity than blending... a good topic for a future post :)

    prasad: Nothing personal Prasad. About the popups, I never saw them. I will debug :)

    harsha: what you wrote is quite interesting. It is possible that the whole world is chaning but Indian-Americans are caught in a time-warp... stuck in their image of India when they left the country!

    Casement: Glad to see you!

    Anu: Yes, I forgot about happy weekends :) Actually there are a lot of more I forgot.

    Shreemoyee: As you said, there are times when i get way too frustrated and have no way to vent. That's why I have a blog ;)

    By Blogger Twisted DNA, at Tue Jun 13, 11:31:00 PM 2006  

  • jaygee i think picking something which you donot do is really bad. Enjo'd what you are and what you do ..

    twisted dna .. If it is to finding there identity than bendling in ..

    I think it is the typical Indian emotion "Live for others rather than yourself"


    By Blogger Ilaiy, at Wed Jun 14, 08:02:00 AM 2006  

  • what about those mineral water guzzling psueds who refuse to have so much as a drop of non-mineral water?? :D
    not to forget the pizza and doughnut obsessed kids!!!
    i hav little cousins who absolutely craaaave for pizzas...
    i asked one, "what wud u choose...a yummy extra cheese pizza or a doughnut??"
    "what kinda doughnut?" she shot back.
    "a chocolate donut"
    "does it have sprinkles???"....her eyes widen with her increasingly dialating pupils...
    "yes...lots of sprinkles"
    "rectangular sprinkles or round one?? multi-coloured ones or only one colour???"
    "rectangular sprinkles of every colour in the rainbow", i said.
    the poor child looks positively tortured by now.
    "oh this is too tough!!! dont make me choose!! dont make me choose!!!"

    By Anonymous nithya, at Thu Jun 15, 10:16:00 PM 2006  

  • Couldnt agree more on the point about american sports. It baffles me when people support a football team or a basketball team. It is really hard for me to understand how could one have those emotional feelings for a team to which they have no relation in anyway...

    I almost feel they pretend...

    By Blogger Kishan, at Fri Jun 16, 12:14:00 AM 2006  

  • Kishan - not true. I have great affinity towards college sports, so you more or less use that to learn the game. Once you start playing it, you can follow it. However, blindly supporting any team is something that I never got into - but I always tend to support the local team (there are some advantages ;))

    By Blogger samurai, at Fri Jun 16, 12:26:00 AM 2006  

  • Ha ha - brilliant - very funny


    By Anonymous sonia, at Wed Jun 21, 03:05:00 AM 2006  

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