For the past one week, I have been haunted by my onsite nightmares. It would not have popped out if I had not read the book “The inscrutable Americans” by Anurag Mathur. Before getting in to the nightmares, let me tell you something about the book. It is all about a rustic Indian teenager’s life in US soil. No doubt, the book is hilariously written but it made me more sarcastic because of the fact, the protagonist in the book keep reminded me of my goofiness in US.
Since it is customary for an S/w engineer to visit onsite, I was also given a chance to visit US for three months. At that time, I was too naive to grasp the full horror of the trip blessed to me. I am not blaming US. It is just that how terribly I struggled to adapt myself to that new ambience. If I had any of my uncles, aunts ,cousins already got settled in US, Australia, Singapore, etc ….. I might have had some exposure to these foreign places but I am the first one in my family to become the victim.
From the moment, I entered the flight (unfortunately, which is my first air travel) I felt like drowned in to the sea of uncertainty. I don’t know whether it is because of my ignorance exposed to everyone suddenly, everything I do after that I expect some one to say, “you fool! That’s not right”. Soon I turned out to be a worst plagiarist. In the flight, I had to copy the fellow passengers for every strange thing I was made to do. After so many weird formalities, we (my colleagues and me) finally reached Los Angeles.
The first thing that struck me was the climate. The weather was too kind and cool to turn my body numb. It must have been a huge shock for my skin to embrace the ruthless cold, because earlier it was exposed only to the Chennai’s pricking hot sun and a moderate winter. So to support my skin I had to burden my 42 kg poor body to carry some additional mass (Jerkin, sweater, gloves, thermal wears….).There is no point in wearing beautiful clothes because in most of the photos you can only see my eyes peeping out between that monstrous jerkin and fur cap. To be simple we looked like a bunch of astronauts in the space!.
The next thing is money dealings. As soon as I landed US, my mind takes the additional responsibility to act as a manual calculator. Any thing that deals with money my mind would start rapidly converting the dollars to rupees and see if it is worth spending. Phew! It is an illness, which still haunts me. I believe no Indians would have escaped this.
I imagined my onsite office only with Americans. To my surprise, it was crowded with whole lots of people from different Asian origins each with their incomprehensible English accent. I had to struggle very hard to grasp their conversation but it was no use. I always end up with a headache. To avoid any chaos I always give a charming smile(meaning i have nothing more to add) at the end of each chat to avoid any further chats.
I am not a foodie. One thing I never want to do is experimenting foods but I was forced to do that in US. Name a country you will find their cuisine. Our mates dragged us to many such cuisines but strictly not Indian cuisines (they are so allergic to our spicy foods!). It is such a wretched thing to see people sitting next to you swallowing high calories of food but you have no clue on which one to order. Again, I have to show my skills of plagiarism. Each time I order some new food only to find out that it tasted like some paste. Inside my heart would bleed for Sambhar dosai and methu vadai ….
In India, never in my life I walked alone in a road. It is only after seeing their (US) roads I began to give serious consideration for India’s population. There roads remain so clean may be no one ever bothered to walk on it. All you can see in the roads are cars, cars, cars …and some time huge trucks. Even though hundreds of cars accompanied me in the road, I terribly missed the human presence and felt desperately alone.
We visited many places universal studios, Disney land,. and many more theme parks. Grand Canyon simply astounded me. It is inevitable to face awful experience while visiting those places. One that I will never forget was the trip to Las Vegas (Proudly claimed to be sin city).A city dedicated to do any legalized sin. I don’t know why I went there ……hmm ..oh yeah I went there because it is some what nearer to Las angeles. The whole city is thronged with casinos, strip clubs, bars, hotels. It was a big cultural shock for us. I felt like all the demons were dancing in front of me. Don’t think I am creating a scene. I am brought up in a society where watching the films like NEW , BOYS were considered not healthy !. Over night, how can I transform myself to hug the western culture? …I still remember the night I stayed there in a disturbing hotel. I was so preoccupied about the room that my mind persistently tried to imagine all the rummy things that could have earlier happened in that room.
Oh god pathetic it was!.
According to me, there are two sides behind every onsite trip. One is the bright Indian side where everyone thinks that I am so happy and contended to visit US. The other side is dark US side or simply my side, which knows what actually happened during my stay. Even now when someone boast about their first US visit or any other foreign visit I cannot help but throwing a mocking smile…