Monday, May 01, 2006

Immigration and Cherry Trees!

Ps:(i start with one!) I decided I wouldn't blog, but reading a couple of articles got my fingers itching to b1tch?! Just kidding.. wanting to write again!

So today is May Day.. a holiday in India. My friends back home are on a holiday in a beach resort. I am at office. So are tonnes of other American residents. Today is a 'day without immigrants'. So many of the immigrant lot, especially undocumented ones are not at work atleast in LA. Including at radio stations, which've ended up playing mindless sad music.

American society has multiple opinions on immigration. Neo conservatives and nationalists opine that immigration itself should be disallowed, that there is no reason to hear a language other than English, no reason to dole out the American Dream to anyone. They wish to hermetically seal the country's borders and to deport the 'illegal aliens' back to their country of origin. And then there are the liberals, talking about sharing the American Dream with the world, and opening up borders to the world and remembering that America itself is a land of immigrants . And then there are the liberals who seek to have a bill to get the 'Undocumented immigrants' to pay taxes and to get started on the path to American citizenship.

Where do I stand on all of these?
* Immigration is unavoidable with the world becoming smaller (remember the phrase 'Global Village'?!) So people leave a place and move to another, sometimes another country.
* Once in Rome do as Romans do. So in the US, the immigrants need to understand the lingua franca of English, swear by the American law(and abide by it)and sing the anthem in English(can't imagine the Indian national anthem in Chinese.. ever!)
* Borders...yes, there needs to be better border patrolling.
* Also a better Bill(capital 'B' intended!) to deal with the current 12+ million immigrants. Better cultural acceptance and equal benefits.

US of A has currently not even scratched the surface of the pie. First of all, it classifies all, and I mean all the Spanish speaking immigrants as Latin Americans! (including Mexicans and South Americans and Hispanics!) And the immigrants themselves have a lot of dissimilarities.. an Ecuadorean is so so different from a Mexican from a Peru national! Even the language is actually different.. so a Spanish word intended as a compliment to one could end up being an insult to another! Secondly, not everyone has come to the US just now. There are people who just stepped on US soil yesterday and there are third generation immigrants who are as American as the descendants of the Mayflower immigrants. Everyone is being bundled together in one word 'Immigrants' and treated in the same manner. And then there is the issue of entire families having relocated to the US vs. breadwinners in US with families back home. And finally, treating documented and undocumented immigrants with the same contempt!

I think culturally we have a lot to learn. And a lot of prejudice to let go of.

A famous "latin american" saying goes (loosely translated) "to hurt a man don't hit his back, grab his b@lls instead!"

Finally a word on the other half of the 'subject'.. the cherry trees. The 'sakura matsuri' cherry trees are in full bloom everywhere.. i have never seen such beautiful blooms elsewhere. Washington, New York City and Philadelphia are especially blessed with exceptionally beautiful and bountiful cherry trees. The cherry trees so touted by the US as 'the harbinger of the US spring' and as a 'US beauty' etc. is also an immigrant!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Blogs and American Kids

6th April, 2006

I have to express wonder at the number of blogs that exist. I come from a generation which definitely knows how to use a computer, can write with a pen as well as type on a keyboard. May or may not be too gadget friendly. And blogging is perhaps not an uncommon activty, but not highly prevalent either.

Today's high school kids, as I view the spectrum in the US of A is vastly different. Kids here use laptops at school. Apple i-books at that. (and to think Apple is still to enter the Indian market in a big way!) It seems that one of the biggest difficulties parents face here is monitoring what the kids see and write on. Porn is easily available on the net. So are entire websites on how to be anorexic or bulimic or how to concoct the newest intoxicant or mindless games where all you do is kill figures hiding behind bushes. So are newspapers and literature and classical music. But those things usually do not excite the average kid. Parents am sure are worried! And how kids blog! Some blogs even have a count of number of times the blogger used the restroom et al. Gross.

My point is that the joy of reading or wandering around in a park, social skills and family time are the victims. Without these, I wonder how the adults would turn out to be. A world of computer savvy, somewhat unsocial, non book-loving adults? Sounds like a scenario that I don't care about. What can be done? can't ask the porn vendors to put an age restriction, can we?! Or restrict the sites a kid visits. Kids are too smart for that. So maybe actively involve kids in other activities. Maybe. I wonder.

On the subject of blogging, I kinda enjoyed May want to read it too!

May the Force be With You!

Friday, March 31, 2006


31 March, 2006

I became a member of I was sent an invitation by a great friend of mine, and because he is such a good friend, I actually put in a profile and checked out the community. Never realized so many people I knew were also on the community. Urge you to check it out.

I teach English as a volunteer in an Adult Literacy campaign. I meet the most diverse bunch of people there - Latin Americans. African-Americans, Caribbean, Taiwanese, fellow Indians and Egyptians. You realize then the difficulties of being a tutor. How does one explain what 'by' means to an adult who doesn't speak a word of any language that you speak? He/She probably knows a smattering of English and I find my creativity being put to its toughest test ever for 2 hours every thursday evening!! However, when comprehension dawns and they actually speak a grammatically correct sentence, the joy of having helped them do it is almost undescribable. It is like finding a million dollar winning lottery ticket just after the credit card bills come in!

Have a lovely weekend!!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

First steps...

Salaam Namaste! So here it is.. my own blog space.. happy b'day to me for starting a blog finally! What can you say about a twenty-six-year-old girl who started blogging? That she was beautiful and brilliant? That she loved fiction and food, travelling, and writing?

Okay, that was not a great rip off! But I like to think of Love Story as one of the most memorable books I've read. I read it when I was about 15. Stole it secretly from my mother's stash of books. Covered it with newspaper(see reading romance would give u a popularity rating less than President Bush!) Read it late at night tucked within my Social Studies CBSE History textbook.

The books is a simple Hindi movie formula story: Rich boy meets Poor girl. (Oliver and Jenny) Boy learns a lot from girl. Girl is bubby, principled and intelligent. We understand boy is fun loving and intelligent and principled too, and rich! They fall in love. Get married and sadly enough, girl dies. I know its sad. Maybe a li'l painful. She teaches him that 'Love means never having to say sorry' (I think on page 87!) And stored it away in our heads to be used with our partner (who we hoped would be exactly like Oliver) And believed in those words too. A lot.And dreamt a million dreams while reading the book. And cried like crazy at the ending.

Now at 26, I think the appeal of the books is precisely that. Youth. Dreams. Crazy love. Belief in love at first sight. Violins and Roses. And that love and fresh air are all that you need. If one turns 21 and then reads the book, I don't think it strikes you as one of the greatest books you read. I guess by 21 you grow up, become a li'l independent, perhaps a li'l cynical and realize that the rose tinted glasses are actually brown. And woe betide you if you watch the movie without reading the book. You'd never read it then I guess. The movie doesn't do much justice to the poetry and music of the book.

If you haven't read the book, I urge you to read it. Think of it as one of the greatest stories of the Vietnam war era. Read it for the story. For the romance to seep in a little bit."True love never has a happy ending, that is because true love never has an ending" You may even believe in it for a moment!