Saturday, February 13, 2010

When dreams come true..

When I was a kid one of my cousins got us this little table prop which said

"I came to America because I heard that streets here were paved with gold. When I came I learned three things:
first: streets in America are not paved with gold;
second: streets in America are not paved at all;
third: I am expected to pave them."

Yet the reality of the situation does not hit anyone till they actually land here. Each day I'm more and more convinced that good old India (with its 1.1 billion population and it's corrupt politicians and love/worship of cricket) is far more developed that the US is or will be.

We've been told that the first step to victory is realising your faults (or something like that..). I think I can safely say no one in India (except maybe the BJP) has any illusions of where we really stand and what we really are. We are a poor developing country with no money and lot - and I mean LOTS of mouths to feed. We know we have the second largest slum in Asia with a 40 storey mansion right at the centre of it. We know we have the Coovum and that 50% of us have TB. We know that the men in saffron are complete maniacs who cause us constant amusement(well, cause me constant amusement - (does that guy honestly think people take him seriously? I want to know...)), we know that our hospitals are not the best in the world.

But.. but but but.. our hospitals(the govt one) don't demand you have insurance or pay 5000 rupees for prescribing you an antibiotic. They may not treat you like a princess but you don't have to be rich to give birth in one. You don't have to worry about the smallest tooth ache and how much it's going to cost you if you go to a dentist. And most of all, the government isn't run by insurance companies, is it??

Also, since all of us know exactly where we stand, we know the importance and value of hard work. We know what our paybacks are. We see - with our own eyes - what happens if we fail to work hard or if we do not study. The big bad world isn't shielded from us all the time with a shiny pink wrapper like it is in the US. In the US, it's almost as if poor people do not exist. Ask your average kid if she/he knows about the homeless or people on social security. They don't know any such person - have probably never spoken to one and think they're from a different planet at best. The kids are told to dream(which is good) but not what they need to do to make those dreams come true. We aren't told either, but then again, we don't need to be told. We see the ends of both roads in front of us all the time.

We're prudent at worst. We don't run up debts buying frivolous things all the time (most of us - not all). That is not saying we don't borrow money at all - but we think twice. And we most certainly don't buy the latest Channel outfit on borrowed money. Our mistrust of anything 'foreign' stops us from using our credit card the first time we get one. We find out what it means, what we have to do and the minute they tell us you have to pay more money if you exceed your limit. We shudder and decide we'll just use cash or debit card unless that stupid site absolutely denies us the use of one! We definitely don't run our whole economy down.

We're poor, yes. More than half of the country is below the poverty line, true. But do you realise that when we run out of our natural resources and destroy our planet completely and global warming takes over, it is that half which will survive? Provided they aren't drowned in the rising sea first of course. The live the natural life. No plastic. No CFCs. No space heaters. Just a colour TV in every house to keep them connected.

Finally, I believe that America is no longer a land where a child can dream. India is. We have free education. Till one finishes college. Half the kids here don't go to college because they can't afford it. Well, half the kids in India don't go to college because they can' afford it, you say. I say, no that isn't true. There, people don't go to college because they have to work 24/7 instead. College education itself is free (or nearly so). Here, people don't have to work 24/7. In fact they can be 'well off' and still not be able to afford a college education. You know this.. You have an uncle/aunty/cousin/sibling who cribbed about it to you..

So, to all those who did/do/will ask me where I want to settle down 'finally', well, the answer's kinda obvious, isn't it?

Oh, oh.. not to forget the fact that you just don't get anything which remotely resembles a good cup of coffee on this continent! Also, the spell check keeps insisting that c.o.l.o.u.r is wrong. That's just weird. Most importantly, Americans measure temperature in farenheit *shudder* and distance in miles *more shudders*


solvent said...

US has Silicon valley!

Malathi S Kalyanikar said...

really good one chitra!:)
i guess this is the case with all the proclaimed developed countries...europe is not different either..

by the way i do follow ur blog...they are good as always..

keep the work going!:)

soin said...

i will never step foot in that country for money or

Spica said...

Solvent, Silicon valley is full of Indians and Chinese. Anyway, my point isn't that US is poor. Far far from it. My point is, they have loads of poor people who they keep shielded from the rest of the country and that is going to be their downfall.

Malathi, really? I didn't know that, honestly. S'pore, I know has it's own set of dirty secrets. So does the middle east. I didn't know the story behind Europe.

Soin, I cannot begin to tell you how much natural beauty this continent has. It is bea-uuu-ti-ful. So if you're into travelling and stuff, you should definately come here. It's a pity though that is the last thing people associate with the US.

solvent said...

Irony....back to the same old thing :D

aarti said...

I know wat u mean chitra, I get that a bit here too.. but I dont think people here are poor at all.. but I find the life here is too artificial and pretentious... althought people here are very nice .. I will soon write on these things in my blog too :)

Spica said...

Aarti, wait for a few months. The truth doesn't come out at first sight. Slowly, thought, you start observing what's being hidden. And it's not like they hide it from us! They hide it from themselves!

N Gautham said...

Hey Chits,

Remember, more than half your family is American - presumably they have good reasons, not just money, to choose to be so.


Kikyo said...

Did you know that one family in the US consumes more power per year than four Indian families put together? (And of course, that's taking into consideration that both the sides have four human members, one canine, one feline and a fish :P)

Spica said...

Appa, they left too early. They don't know what they're missing out on. Besides, I never denied it's a comfortable life - for the educated/hard working. Not for the rest of the crowd. You're not getting the point of the post.

Kikyo, I know! :-( It is saaaaaad!

N Gautham said...

And my point is - don't form such strong opinions so fast - it may just be a delayed setting-in of 'culture shock' - in effect you don't like the US not because it's bad, but because it's different.


Girl of Destiny said...

So I guess you are into more than one research :-)
LOL on the color TV. Yea color - since it's easier for me to type!

But I gotta say this, take some time before coming out with generalised statements. I'm not sure every Indian is included in the 'll of us know exactly where we stand'. I've met a few on the other side!

Spica said...

Appa, my statements are never black and white. It's high time you got that. When I say that the US is not the place for me to be in the future, I meant exactly that. You really should learn that I mean what I say in my posts and that's about it. I don't view the whole country and it's people as this big bad place.. It's a very nice place with very friendly people and I am having a nice time here. It's just not all good and the pavements are not made of gold. That's all I'm saying.

In case you're wondering, this is a response to all the snide remarks you've made since. Not just the ones above.

And GoD, seriously?? But who..? How..? How is it even remotely possible for anyone living in India to think even for a fleeting moment that it's all pink and silver? Or is that not what you meant?

JoHn said...

india is the best :D


Chicken Little said...

I've a lot to say, but first things first.
It's Chanel, not Channel. It's bugging me, I cannot see that being done to Coco.
Free health and education is available in India, yes, but it isn't that easily attainable.
And yeah, Indians can live in recession/inflation, only because we're people-who've-seen-poverty, proud of our cheapness and are obssessed with land-and-gold to indulge in fancy-ness with no resale value.

Sid said...

hey nice blog!

both places have there good and bads. But by my experience the US university system is awesome and really enviable for us Indians!

The 'Ekaangi' said...

very well written! but lots of arguments are flawed...