Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Annnnd back to reality

It is so ironic that this post should come on the heels of one that speaks of escapism and how perfect the Harry Potter world is.

So we just finished watching a new Telugu movie vedam. The movie was a breath of fresh air with superb performances. However, it was also a tad depressing. It highlights the many social injustices that happen in India and it has filled me with a lot of anger. I will admit (and again I run the risk of sounding like a stuck-up NRI), that had I never left India, perhaps I wouldn't have had such an angry reaction. I mean, social injustice is so rampant in India that you almost fail to notice it. But having lived in the US where discrimination and harassment are taken so very seriously and one couldn't even remotely imagine cheating someone out of their kidney or bonded labor, the contrast makes me that much angrier. I mean, a woman who got fired for dressing sexy is on the news like every hour for God's sake! Compare that with the things you see on NDTV everyday.

I had a similar reaction when I read The White Tiger about an year ago. The book highlights things that are not new to most people who've lived in India. I mean how many of us haven't had our driver or watchman or maid run errands for us that were out of their job description and weren't paid for? How many people treat their domestic help with respect and dignity? There wasn't one thing in the book that was news to me but it felt like someone had just dunked me in cold water. And Arvind Adiga's matter-of-factly narration of most of those things really drives home the point. Having lived in the US where one's social status does not dictate how they are treated, made the reality of it all that much sadder.

This post is not meant to criticize India at all, and I hope it is not misconstrued that way. It is what it is, and God knows we Indians stand by our country no matter what and will defend it to the hilt. But I cannot help but envy the freedom and justice in the American society (it may not be perfect, but it has come a long way), and wonder when we will get there.

P.S. - This post has been composed in a fit of emotion, but then, that's when I'm most eloquent so there.


  1. Good Expression of Anger!!! Well the only constant thing in the world is CHANGE....wish some positive changes takes place in India too...

  2. Anonymous, I've always been excellent when it comes to expressing anger ;) I'm sure change will happen with time, no doubts there...

  3. But this is so true, until I came to US I didn't realize how passionate or defensive I can be about India...
    Things are changing in India.. slowly but surely.. fingers crossed !

  4. Things have changed a lot and will change more. I actually grew up without knowing my caste or even gotra. And I did that in a place like Vizag, you know?

    I just hope we have the sense not to throw the baby out with the bathwater like the Americans have done.