Party Politics

I don't like people. Which is why I don't understand racism. Of all the things that you could hate someone for, you are going to go with 'color'?
-Shalom Auslander (quoted approximately) in today's episode of This American Life
Unlike Mr. Auslander (interesting name for a misanthrope!), I do like people. Usually it's hard for me to shut up up at parties, but occasionally I do listen and it's just as much fun. Of course, at parties where people know only a few other people, everyone is being very nice and polite to each other. It's supposedly called the 'cocktail party' syndrome. Though, I think that actually having cocktails would loosen a few tongues. Since this party was a high school graduation party, coupled with the fact that it was for an Indian kid, the alcohol was securely locked up. In any case, Indians are not so much into drinking as they are into eating. There was good food and plenty of it!

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It's always too late when you realize how good you really had it. I was trying to pass myself off as a student and heaping more food onto my plate when someone blew my cover. Suddenly, I had to stop eating and say something intelligent. I surprised myself, given the short notice, that I managed to say something a few profound sentences, throw some technical terms and then went back to my eating. Personal Rule Never, never disclose your dissertation title or topic voluntarily. No one is that interested. The only people who ask you about your PhD topic are the ones who have similar degrees themselves, or are potential aspirants for one. The rest of humanity screams, "You didn't have to. You had me at Dr.?" The biggest bummer has been to lose my 'student' status. Suddenly, prices for conferences, movies, museums, and even the gym have gone up. You are expected to 'grow up', start wearing nice clothes, and stop pretending to be a starving student. Paradise Lost!

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Cricket has a slight emasculating quality that does not really qualify it as a sport, IMHO. I enjoyed cricket and played it often. It's really impossible to avoid. My style of batting was 'hit out or get out' and thus extremely suicidal. I almost always got out being caught off a mis-hit, never bowled. There were a few times that I was run-out and it was because of some turd of a person at the other end who wouldn't risk it. I stopped following cricket after I got here. There are ways and means to play and follow cricket, but the sport did not have that sort of attraction for me that I would bother waking up at odd hours, or attempt to download some obscure software to watch bootlegs. Now an Indian not showing adequate enthusiasm for cricket are possible grounds for loss of citizenship, or at least the love of your friends.

The talk at the party was mercifully not about cricket (which I didn't know anything about), but about Indian politics. Like cricket, this interest was also abandoned after I landed in Columbia, a.k.a. the home of the brave and free. It seemed rather peculiar that Indian expats love to talk about Indian politics even after embracing American citizenship. At this party, I did not hear American or even world politics being discussed at all. It seems odd that while most Indians vote Democrat, their visions and views of Indian politics and policy are so much like the Republican agenda. It is bewildering to keep track of the sudden shifts and current math of coalition politics. Given my lack on interest in Indian cricket or politics, I am one strike away from losing my status as an Indian citizen. I am wondering what's gonna be the third strike.

4 comments:

Tim Marzullo said...

You started going down to the dark (or light?) side when you begin listening to Elvis and learning Tango. It's good to know being in the states near seven years now has rubbed off a little on you. Maybe you will take up surfing soon and get a California accent. Now that would be something.

Hirak said...

That's also the fear: To give up one set of prejudices for another isn't really progress is it?
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Does the UN grant citizenship?

Arka said...

third strike I suspect would be when bollywood quits you or vice versa

workhard said...

Good post




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