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Archive for the ‘desi problems’ Category

My first trip to shop for grocery was a particularly fruitless exercise. Well, OK, I got some exercise since I had to walk there (you may now pick your jaw off the floor. Some people in suburban U.S. actually do walk), but there were no fruits to be had.

Impossible, you say? This is the land of plenty! That it is. The land of about 345 types of milk and 486 kinds of honey. So when I was faced with a dizzying array of about 250 varieties of fruit, I panicked and was numbed into inaction.

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In my first few groggy days of battling jet lag, I let the better and more acquainted half deal with the basics. On one of my ravenous three AM forays into the kitchen, I espied a crumpled receipt. Smoothing it out as I bit into some toast, a quick glance showed we had spent three dollars on bread. The fog instantly lifted from my sleep-deprived mind as quick mental math revealed we had spent Rs. 120 on a loaf of bread.

I let out an involuntary gasp. 120 rupees! On a loaf of bread! (I can hear the collective disapproving clucking of all you U.S. returns listing at least five places he could have got it cheaper.) In India I could have fed ten families on that! That instant marked the beginnings of my many bouts with sticker shock.

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The other striking thing that you notice in the U.S., the first being this , is the silence. Well, maybe not if you stay in the city. In that case you are probably privy to your neighbour’s amorous activities pulsating through cardboard walls, listening to the lament of drunken winos in the lobby and footing the light bill for the neon sign outside your window.

In the suburbs, however, where the average Joshi (or Jaishankar or Jain) lives, the American dream, complete with big house, bigger home entertainment system and gas-guzzling SUVs, it is strangely, eerily quiet. (Ok, so I’m generalising, but show me Shah, Shriram or Sharma you know who doesn’t have one or all of the above. I rest my case.)

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When people find out that I have been in the U.S. for just over a year, they proceed to ask a series of varyingly eager and intrusive questions. One that is sure to come up is what do you miss most about home?

I am expected to look mournful and recall chuchu ka murabbas or the monsoons or my mother’s pallu or some such. But more often than not, I am tempted to tell them the truth. I miss bathroom mugs. There, I said it!

And it’s true.

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