Thursday, January 10, 2008

Ah! You are from IndiAh!!

We had to install a reactor at work today.
As a Geek ( who is trying to come out of the closet) I must accept that I enjoy such installations. Mostly because
1. They give you a chance to play with machines under the guidance of people who can fix them if something goes wrong
2. You can unwrap a lot of new things and unpack a lot of boxes which gives you an "imitation high" of having done a lot of shopping!
3. It brings you together with people from different backgrounds

We were four at work today. My Greek PhD mate Sergios, A Swiss technician specializing in reactor vessels and an Egyptian lady who specialized in the Infra Red probes. :)
It was an intensive session but these kind of sessions are always seasoned with coffees and lunch that call for a break from the "delta T mumbo-jumbo".
Having an Indian in the group is always useful. The discussion always turns to India and most of the times it begins with, "Ah! So you are from Indiaaah!" :D
The Swiss gentleman who I worked with today had been to almost all the places you can go to in India. So he let all his thoughts loose. It just struck me how much there is to talk about India. So I thought I would enlist the "usual" discussions that I repeatedly have with people who meet me for the first time.

1. Can you make curries?
When I say that I can they instantly want to be best friends with me. So I usually say that I can even though I have never really even remotely tried to design the kind of curry they make in the Indian restaurants here.

2. What spices do you use in Masala Chai?
These people are used to an atrocious packaged tea that includes all the spices that are grown in and around the Indian subcontinent. It is something that has cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon,cardamom and I guess even pepper! So when I tell them that my masala chai is made just around 60 degrees C with cardamom and cinammon they begin to question my nationality!

3. Do you "practice" Yoga?
I really don't know what to say when they do that. These people have profound faith in Yoga. I have met people who religiously do some of the most arduous Yogasanas and also Pranayam. As a fitness freak, I have done all the preliminary Yoga lessons and I am glad my grandfather and mom taught me the basics of breathing and meditation. Even though I prefer "running" all over the city to the good old Yogasanas, I thank aai and ajoba for giving me a half yes to that question. :)

4. Where is Bollywood?
The Swiss technician who I worked with today had been to Ramoji Film city and he is a great fan of Amitabh Bacchan. He listed out some of his favorite Indian movies and Rang Dey Basanti and Black were on the list. He praised A.R Rehman and confessed that Planet M is one of the funkiest music shops he has ever gone to!
Most of them know Shah Rukh Khan and Aishwarya Rai and they think that like Beverly Hills, there is a place in India where we can actually go and say "This is Bollywood" :)

I am amused and honored to be the one who is giving out so many answers for I certainly did not have that kind of luck back in school. :D
I like the intrigue and charisma that surrounds India.
Even though I am this ordinary brown girl who is trying to get a PhD in some difficult-to-digest-over-a-cup-of-coffee process, my country makes me special! So the ordinary brown skin turns into a " Oh! you have a lovely complexion".
Somehow I represent the "Indian Woman" ( and I have to remind them that they should expect more if they are basing any of their imaginary sketches on me!).
I love being an Indian! :)


शिरीष said...

When you areaway from your country and then someone else of a totally different nationality praises your own homeland it must be a great feeling.
I liked your reasons for such unusual installations especially unwrapping the contents giving us the feeling of our childhood days of opening new gifts.You have perfectly said what many of us feel.
Thank God they did not ask you about snake charmers and magicians!

Saee said...

@ Baba
yeah..thank God for that! :)
It is indeed a happy feeling. :D
Will write more about it!

Endevourme said...

have u read "chitraaz.blogspot"? i think u two have a lot in common :D

sameer said...

hmmm...ders something abt india,the word indian itself has dat soothing effect.proud,colorful,innocent,determind yet humble,is wat i feel when i utter the statement "I AM AN INDIAN",especially when ur in group of people from all over the world.saee,who better than u represent the new age india..with ur mix of brown skin,average buillt,curled hair,beautiful eyes,cute face with a determined look,active mind with a humble expression,emotinal built up wid a practical framework,religious wid a realist approach,unconsciously loyal yet gets consciously diplomatic,potential of surpassing all the defined hieghts and also posesses the rght ethical recipe to acheive them,career oriented, yet with a liking for kitchen work...well enough reasons i gues for me to be proud of u rght?? i dont kno abt the indian team but ur surely gonna end up playing a defining indian innings in australia hehe;) tata and luv u lots sweets:)

Saee said...

Hey Sam!!!
I blushed and crawled under the table. :)
Thanks for all the praise.:)
And you should REALLY start writing yourself.
Love ya loads

Saee said...

@ endevourme..
yeah i will take a look. :D
Thanks. :)

Nikhil K said...

Not too far back, India was still the land of Maharajahs and the Great Indian Rope Trick. I am reminded of a funny incident. My roommate had gone to his girlfriend's 'village' in Upstate Minnesota amongst the conifers and the lakes, where even the street signs are in German. When she introduced him to her granddaddy as 'My Indian Boyfriend', he remarked in a puzzled tone,'But,...., you don't look Indian at all'. After some more discussion, it turned out that he had never met or seen a Indian in his life. The only type of Indians he had met were the Ojibwes and the Iroquois! And we sure don't look like them. So, our claim to Indian-ness has been usurped without our knowledge. :D
BTW since when has commenting become a quid pro quo? ;)

Saee said...

@ Nikhil..
LOL@ your question. But there was a time in the earlier days of my blogging when I used to gun-point my best friend Ameya to comment on my blog. :)
And she did it in return of a promise that if ever I become famous and win an award, I should mention her name first in the thank you speech. :D
Yes, there are a lot of misconceptions too.
But I am glad that they dont think of us as snake-charmers and sanyasis. :)

RJ said...

wonderful penmanship !!!