Discussions over Tea (Of course, cutting maar ke)

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

LIFE : The Indian On the Train

It is always amusing watching an "desi" on a train in the USA. These are just some snippets, observations if you'd like to call them, on the daily commute in NJ/NY.

  • The first sign of the "desi" is that tendency to occupy that little bit of space that is available, which the average "resident" would pass over. The distance the desi maintains from other people around, and the space he allows others is directly proportional to the time he's spent in the US.

  • The second sign, if he's dressed in casuals, is the shoes. The Indian, if not always, will wear white, no, screaming white, sneakers. No other colour will do. It's like they're not sneakers, if they're not white.

  • The third is the book he reads while whiling his time on the train. In the NJ/NY area, the average desi will either pull out a copy of the latest book on investment banking, option pricing, black-scholes model and the whole hoo-lah, or else he'll be updating his programming skills. So expect a book in C# as the likely contender.

  • Obviously, if he's not reading anything, he'll be checking out all the people in the compartment. Specially, the women. He stares so hard, he could drill a hole. Obviously, in that one stare he can check out the entire anatomy... a skill perfected by practice.

  • If you're travelling on the weekend, you're bound to see entire groups of desi families, mothers and mother-in-laws dressed in traditional sarees, fathers and father-in-laws dressed in two piece suits (no, they're not bhaiyyas) or a simple half-sleeve shirt with trousers and sandals, the son/son-in-law in jeans and the abovementioned sneakers and the daughter/daughter-in-law in jeans and jajjy sandals all set to see the Big Apple, and a darshan of the usual sites... Wall Street, the WTC site, the Statue of Liberty on the "free" ferry ride and of course, followed by a visit to Jackson Heights (the desi heartland in the big, bad, city).

  • As winter approaches, the jackets are a dead giveaway. The desi geek would be dressed in the, inevitable, leather jacket, imported en masse from the motherland. The desi investment banker would wear a checked/tweed-like suit and would still be reading the same book, he was in summer.

  • If you ever see a desi on the train, talking to a "resident", the roles assumed by the participants would be as follows - the resident is the speaker, the desi is the "speakee", always deferentially listening to every pearl of wisdom that drops from the resident's mouth.

  • Before leaving, the surest sign of the desi is the quintessential Honda Accord, which is the official sponsor of the desi in firangland, which will be driven by the wife, to drop the hubby off for the day, following which she shall get the housework done at home and wait eagerly for the chap's return in the evening.

End of Post

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