Posts Tagged ‘US’

Chai ki aadat

May 28, 2012

As any self respecting Indian will know, what the morning cuppa (read cup of coffee) is to the Americans, tea is to us. We are
completely paralyzed, mentally and physically, until we get our morning chai. So significant is our morning tea ritual that without it we cannot begin our day. And just like any other Indian, I too, for years together had fallen nicely into the sweet sugary habit of my doodh wali morning chai.
But then something rather strange happened. I moved to the US. No, that’s not the strange part. I moved for a great job with brilliant opportunities. What was strange was that it wasn’t until I had moved to Atlanta, that I realized my completely hopeless dependence on my morning tea! More than missing family and friends, I missed my tea. So much so that it drove me utterly crazy. I could not focus on work, I felt lethargic, and I was generally quite irritable. All very bad traits to have in a new, high power job!
I tried my best to recreate the morning chai in my apartment. But for some reason or the other, illogically enough, it just did not come out the same as the tea back home. I agree that mostly tea at home was made by my mum or by our live in help, but it wasn’t like I had never made my own chai. It was perfectly nice back in India. And here, for some inexplicable reason, it just would not come out right. Even getting the tea on my way to work like the rest of this country got their coffee, was not an option because the tea was totally different. And so I was reluctantly and per force, in a situation where I had to go off my beloved Indian beverage, and shift to juice each morning. I don’t know about others but I promise you, it was tough, and is not something I would wish upon anyone.
Just one of the many sacrifices we NRIs make in order to improve our lives and those of families back home in India. My tryst with morning chai ended, and with it, a very fond memory. Thankfully, there are many more pleasant things about India and the US that keep me going!

Falling ill in the US

April 25, 2012

As an NRI living in the United States of America; I have been blessed and accepted by this great nation wholeheartedly, especially from a career stand point. I have achieved all my goals and ambitions, and couldn’t have asked for a better life. I have a great lifestyle, a loving family, two doting kids that attend a really good school and receive top quality education. It’s a blessed life, for which I have worked very hard, but I am really thankful for as well.

However, and I think I safely speak for nearly all NRIs the world over; India, our home country, is something we miss dearly, and regularly. There are so many things about India that simply cannot be replaced. Of course, there is the obvious list of things such as family and friends, my wonderful childhood growing up in Jalandhar, and food, the festivities. But there is one very big other reason as well that I miss India for – the medical support system back home in India. And this dawned on me only recently, when my wife took rather gravely ill.

Growing up, one always had a family doctor – or Doctor Uncle to be more precise. I can safely say that most upper middle class families in India had one, and still do; mine being no exception. No going to hospitals and clinics and waiting for hours. No filling out of forms and insurance headaches. Doctor Uncle would regularly drop in at home, and in case there was any trouble, he would be there in a matter of minutes. In most cases, he would diagnose the problem right there at home, and prescribe medicines. And if it were anything more serious, he would escort us to the concerned specialist; again, no lines, no waiting, no formalities.

And this is what I got reminded of when Shalini fell ill with a really severe flu last year here in Chicago. Don’t get me wrong, I admire the thoroughness and quality of the medical system in the US. But one couldn’t help miss two things dearly. One, the family doctor who would just come in and take care of everything and you wouldn’t have to worry one bit. And two, the support and constant presence of family, who would ensure that the ill family member would recover among love and care at home, rather than at a cold and lonely hospital!

Fortunately, Shalini did get better quite soon. But it reminded us that falling ill in the US, is probably a lot worse, not to mention a lot more expensive, than back home in India.

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