Every coin has a flip side- Part 3

TOURIST EXPERIENCE

The tourist places have high prices everywhere. I remember D once told me that he paid $5 for 1/2 a gallon of milk in Las Vegas, (that was over 10 years ago too). I once bought a dress from kohls for $3 in my small town. The same dress in NYC was $20. D told me that they took a RV on vacations to avoid staying in the high priced hotels in tourist areas.

Why then tourist = super rich attitude in India? I think this arises from the difference in culture. Indians think only rich people travel around the world. An ordinary middle class Indian will never even dream about visiting Nepal, forget about UK or some other country. In Indian culture, parents are responsible for saving money and passing it on to the kids. Westerners don’t usually follow that, so one is freer to spend his wealth. The concept in the west is different. If you like to travel and have some money, you go on a vacation. The concept of barely being able to afford a flight but still planning a trip is not what Indians are used to. Indians plan a trip only when they have a lot more than required for the trip. That’s why we think tourists are rich.  Added to that there is the association of white person= rich. I know it’s racist, but for a long time we did not have people of other ethnicity in India. I only saw one white guy and one black lady all my life in India.  The first time I heard the word “racist” was in India vs Australia cricket match. We were ruled by British, and they were rich, so when we see white person we think they must be rich.  When I was in India and saw a tourist, (which did not happen very often,) I thought they were super rich. I was of that opinion until I came to the states. It was a shock for me to learn there are poor people in states. Now, I understand that culture difference: All people who go on a vacation to a foreign country are not always “Rich”. Many Indians are not as lucky as me to experience different cultures, so they are still ignorant. Maybe if more westerners visit India we can broaden their understanding.  There you go. I said my tourism pitch. (Am I an awesome Indian or what? Lol.) So, all you foreigners please visit India more and spend all your money. We will be very happy to take it. (lol).

When I came to America, I knew I was going to pay my high priced tuition and  also 50 RS will make $1. I made an informed decision, and no one forced me to do it. In the same way, if someone is coming to India, it’s your choice. No one forced you to come. Then what is the point in complaining about the unequal prices? I think any foreigner pays the same higher price so its, not about the skin color discrimination. (Correct me if I am wrong. Are white people the only ones to pay higher prices at tourist attractions?)

Local vendors are independent. Private hospitals are private businesses and government does not dictate their pricing. I remember once I saw a Christmas decoration and complained to D, “ It is ridiculously priced.” D replied “that is the power of capitalism. The seller can decide his price and buyer will pay the price if he wants the item.” So, this exists everywhere. Don’t buy if you don’t think it’s fairly priced.

MY ADVISE- When you plan a trip to India, it’s important you research the good, the bad and the worst.  This will help you to know the prices, the environment, the people, and the culture so you can make an informed decision. Why waste your money and not be happy about it?  So, personal responsibility guys: epitome of American culture. When you travel to developing country they will charge you more because they know you can afford more. The one thing that really bothers me is why use the word “racial discrimination” when it’s a rate for tourists? They are not making you pay high price because of your race, but because they know you can afford. I know they treat Indians the same if they know they can pay.

In India, there is saying that if you point one finger towards somebody the remaining four fingers point towards you. Let’s play a game to demonstrate what I mean:

You say

I say

Jyothi Pandey

Amanda Berry, Michelle Knight, Gina Dejesus, Jaycee Duggard, Natascha Kampusch, Elizebeth Smart and many more

Female feticide

Pedophilia

Eve teasing

Sex Offenders

Patriarchal society

Divorce rate high

9/11

Drones

Racial profiling is okay because of 9/11

Charging tourist a different price is okay because we are poor and you can afford

Scams

You have them too

Corruption

Gun and Drug problem

Not sanitary

I agree. Every country has unsanitary places. NYC subways have rats.

mosquitoes, cockroaches and houseflies

 ticks and bed bugs

Indians are poor. Lots of beggars.

Yes, we are. But there are poor people everywhere.  What do you call this sign “Single mom on assistance, cannot work, need money.” I have seen this sign in America.

Politicians

They are hopeless. Same story in every country.

Close-minded

Reason for civilization still being around after many foreign invasions.

Skin color discrimination

We have enough castes to discriminate among ourselves

People stare

 Most of us never see a person from another country. We are intrigued when we see you. Just like when you gather around an Indian to know more about our culture

Traffic

I know we are poor and did not learn to follow the rules yet.

Britain is the reason Indian’s hate white people

Long forgotten history

Indian MIL wants me to be uber traditional

She is overcompensating. Try to get her to love you and she will do whatever you ask for and more.

You are a hypocrite

You are too.

 India is awesome

America is Beautiful

The whole point of blame game is every place has good and bad. What is the point in whining about the bad when we made a choice? Every coin has a flip side. It is not a good idea to generalize the behavior of a whole nation based on one or two people’s experiences.  No matter which country you are from, you will feel the need to defend your culture and heritage if you are being attacked repeatedly. That is just human nature, which is another reason to say we are all the same. We need to stop our urge to show how superior or powerful we are compared to our fellow being and realize we are all one. After all more than 95% of DNA matches one another.  Then how can we be that different? STOP DIVIDING AND START UNITING. Let’s stop thinking as citizens of one nation and think as citizens of “MOTHER EARTH” and strive for global peace. This is the theme of my blog: “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam- Earth One Big Family.”

TO PEOPLE WHO ARE IN RELATIONSHIP WITH A PERSON OF DIFFERENT CULTURE: We have made a choice, a commitment. We could have walked away and had a simpler life. Instead, we chose to have a complicated life. No one said it’s an easy task to mix eastern and western culture. There is a reason why East and West have had a different culture for as long as the world has existed. As an outsider, we are going into a family with a different culture. How do we expect them to accept us when we cannot respect their culture, the good, bad and the ugly? That does not mean we cannot get frustrated, criticize, or have an opinion. After all, we are humans.  It only means we need to have more tolerance, patience, and acceptance because we chose them and not the other way around. We cannot go to someone else territory and expect them to follow our rules. Let’s just accept their culture before we expect them to accept us. Let’s be proud of our spouse’s heritage so our kids can be proud of who they are.

-Thank you. I really appreciate your patience if you read all the three  or even one, (complete,) post of “Every coin has a flip side”  series. Please share your thoughts.

-R.

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30 Comments

  1. And I also agree with Grace that exposure is more important than education. Exposure IS the real education. The point you brought up about Indians not wanting to travel was a good one. My husband said this is true, that they don’t see traveling to Europe |(for example) as not an investment, just an expenditure. And if they do go, they have to have tons of extra money, and bring the whole family. So I think exposure is key.

    Reply
  2. @Raina, same with our family. I’m the first foreigner and on the Andhra side my husband is only the second one ever to marry out of caste – and the first ever to marry out of country.

    Reply
    • Raina

       /  August 6, 2013

      Recently I got the result for one of my medical board exams. I called my extended family and my aunts and grandma said “it is time for you to get married soon. We will find you a nice guy soon.” . It was that day I realized of all the people that I should get approval my parents would be the easiest. lol.

      Reply
      • Yes, I can tell you from personal experience…your parents’ will be the EASIEST to win over! lol…everyone else will come around later.

        Reply
  3. I enjoyed this post and understand its point, but throwing words out there do not make the issues in India comparable to the issues in the West.
    Surely you have seen Satyamev Jayate and I will say no more.

    Reply
    • Raina

       /  August 6, 2013

      Hi,
      I am sorry if I offended you by the table. My intention for writing the table is to make it simple for the reader to understand my point “there is good and bad everywhere” and “hate is reciprocated with hate and love with love”. I was not trying to compare issues. If you see Madh-mama’s blog, she refered to Sharell’s blog. It is just sad to see people splitting into two groups and hating each other. So, I was giving the example how these arguments can get ugly pretty soon. Every one has an opinion and we can respect each others opinion but to say ugly stuff just to win an argument is not right.
      I think Satyamev Jayte is just another TV show which is based on sensationalizing. After all they are there to make money. There are lot of TV shows around the world that are based on the same concept. If they present an issue and bring 3-4 victims does not mean everyone in India (1.2 billion) have faced the same problem. So,it is selective on what message they want to send in that episode.

      Reply
      • Definitely the show was sensationalised but needed, laws have been passed since the show, moneys have been donated because of it. As per North India it is a realistic view of middle class and rural families buy I accept that South India is far better for women…

        Reply
        • Raina

           /  August 6, 2013

          Educated women make all the difference. When I was in school, our textbooks had cartoons on the back cover. They were public service announcements. One of them said something to this effect “educated woman=educated family- Educate your girl child.”
          Yeah you are right about South India treating women better. Some south Indian parents stuck their nose even after their daughter is married and sometimes have more say in the decision making then guy’s parents. lol.
          India is still young and learning. There has been decreased unemployment only in last two decades and that is because of IT boom. Before that there was lot more poverty. There were not a lot of regulations in place and may be “0” enforcement. I always tell “D” that there are two many laws here and not any India. Something in between would be so perfect. lol.

          Reply
          • I think exposure is just as important as education. Many educated people adhere to the same backward ideals and many illiterates do away with the same. My FIL’s Dada was a doctor so though our family has been highly educated for long enough to gain exposure, the new money, educated middle class were raised by people who were as backward as they come. In the next generation immense change will happen as global exposure is easily accessible for today’s common man.

            Reply
            • Raina

               /  August 6, 2013

              Yes you are exactly right. That is something I experience with my parents everyday. They raised me to be independent but they are so scared about my relationship with “D”. There is no one in our family or friends circle that were even involved in a love marriage. My mom points to our family and friends and thinks that completes the world. lol. Its the fear of unknown I think. Like you said globalization will help decrease the unknown.

              Reply
              • In our extended family there are a number of love and interreligious marriages not to mention punjabis have been marrying foreigners for a long time, even my FIL has a friend with a British wife which probably made things easier for us, that and hubby being stubborn…
                Not just FIL’s Dada but much of the extended family, especially women are educated. We have lots of strong working women setting a proud example too!
                Then, there’s me and my MIL the chubby housewives lol!

                Reply
                • Raina

                   /  August 6, 2013

                  Yeah that is true Punjabi’s have been marrying foreigners for a long time, south Indians (especially those from Andhra) not so much. There is the paradox again we never had gunghat in Andhra ( I mean more empowerment to women) but when it comes to marrying out of your caste we go bonkers. lol. Contradictions, contradictions. lol.

                  Reply
                  • Lol, maybe to protect you from uncouth Punjabis… Sikhs come from a religion that outlaws face coverings and calls for equality, the reality is a huge contradiction though!!
                    In the west and for me, daughters are the family jewels!!!

                    Reply
          • Everything in moderation and I agree a midpoint is ideal… Australia again is very different to the US!!!

            Reply
            • Raina

               /  August 6, 2013

              Does Australia have more or less regulation than US?

              Reply
              • Hmmm similar, mire regulation with regard to roads, speed, seat-belts but less of this lawsuit culture…

                Reply
                • Raina

                   /  August 6, 2013

                  Oh okay. I was thinking all my knowledge is based on American culture, I wish I knew more about other countries around the world. Exposure to different culture changes you as a person completely. I actually wanted to go to UK or Australia. UK because like I said I love their accent. lol. But I thought “it would be such a dilemma to not know which side to cheer for during a cricket match.” JK.
                  I wish I can visit more countries in future and broaden my horizons. It is always interesting to understand why a particular person holds a particular belief? What is the thought process that makes them to come to certain conclusions?

                  Reply
      • I was not offended. It is true that there are good and bad sides to every country. But with India, most foreigners don’t get to see the good side unless they marry into the warmth of an Indian family 🙂
        I love Satyamev Jayte. I think Aamir Khan is brilliant for starting it. I think it’s healthy to talk about personal experiences and open up a discussion.

        Reply
  4. I have just read part 1, 2 & 3 and just wanted to say that it is very well said. The more you talk about India and Indian mentality, the more it actually reminds me of American mentality. The U.S and India have some insane similarities: patriotism, discrimination; and especially what you said about Indians not seeing the need to travel outside of India. Many Americans are also like that, only traveling to Miami, for instance, because they want the same food, same language, same culture. Many Americans are extremely fearful of other cultures, especially more so since all the outsourcing. But both India and the US are really friendly people underneath it all…but you have to be one of them to fully get the royal treatment. In a sense, you have to sort of `convert“.
    The only difference is that the US is safer for women. There is a public sex offender registry, and you can generally get justice quicker, there is less victim-blaming – due to the fact that it`s not a patriarchal society. Nobody cares if you have a boy or girl child, women can remarry and have a life after a divorce, stay-at-home dads are becoming a norm while women are the breadwinners. Now India is changing due to the aftermath of Jyothi, but it is still not safe for foreign women, thanks to the media. According to the media, we are the divorcees, the promiscuous Basic Instinct females who open their legs to any…
    In a sense, there is more freedom in the West (especially for women) – but my husband says this is because everybody lives separately and nobody has any responsibility to their family (no joint families).
    Regarding the racial discrimination in the US, America is a land of the fearful. On the news everyday about terrorism this and that – that`s why many Americans confuse Indians with Arabs – they think all brown people are bad.
    It may come as a surprise that I have also been targeted – but only twice. Once was at the Statue of Liberty I was wearing a kurta and the guard was very ignorant and gave me a hard time. The other time was with my husband at a US border crossing when they wanted to know what was our relationship…as if I was just giving him a ride!
    Everyone who goes abroad gets homesick…it`s part of the process. You grow and learn so much when you live far away and far away from your family, especially in a different culture. And then you go back home and realize that nothing has changed, except you…
    I lived in the US for 6 years and the whole last year I was so homesick.

    Reply
    • Raina

       /  August 6, 2013

      I have many Americans tell me that I am “brave” to travel so far away from my home. It just surprises me because I always thought Americans are so much more open to travelling around the world. But, I guess no one ever tell them that their goal would be to go to “XYZ” since they were kids. “D” does not even like moving away from our town. He thinks he will get lost in a big city even within USA. I had to really work hard to make him understand, why moving to a big city would be good for our careers? He is a little bit more flexible now. I still worry how he is going to do when we really move.
      About the royal treatment thing- I think it is the fear of unknown. If people cannot relate to you they do not accept you as a part of their group. It is just like bullying at schools. If kids see something different about one kid they all bully him. It is sad how we rely so much on outside appearance and not bother of what is there in the inside. I think we should really work hard for people of different culture to embrace us and make us a part of their group. We need to earn their trust.

      Reply
    • Raina

       /  August 6, 2013

      Safety- I think depends a lot on familiarity. Personally I feel lot safer in India than in USA. That is because I know the surroundings, people and how to deal with them. I have been teased myself when walking on the road. It is irritating and I put my head down and walk away without paying any attention. After a while they will stop because they are not getting the attention they want. Replying or responding to these people would be a big mistake. There are some sayings in Telugu like: “Penta meedha gedda vesthe nee moham paina chinduthadhi”- If you throw a stone in the dung it will spray on your face (Kind of crude but you get the idea) ,also another one “ Ainugu velthuntae kukalu morguthayi”- When elephant is walking on the road dogs bark from the side of the road. So, I know they are dogs and they are nothing more than dung.lol. I also know that if anything they will shout but not do more than that. Therefore I just do my thing and not let the idiots bother me, after all they have nothing better to do.
      I am used to having my head down and walk or sometimes cut my visual field. Believe me it works not to pay attention. It also helps you because you are not being bothered by some stupid comment by a stupid person. I think most of the times teasing would not become physical. They are not brave enough to do anything other than use their mouth to say CRAP. I follow this “head down” technique even when I am in USA. When we go for a walk and I see a bunch of guys my head automatically goes down. I think why bother with hi/ hello stuff with unknown people. “D” is not like that he has to say “Hi” to everyone we see in the neighborhood. He says it is the polite thing to do because they are our neighbors. Once this lady showed him the bird, and that gave me an excuse to tease him. I watch a lot of reality crime shows. I try to be very careful and the risk of sounding paranoid. Better safe than sorry. At least once a year I check the local sex offender register. It scares me that there at least 10-15 sex offenders with in 1 mile radius of our house. Our house is not even in a bad part of town. I know these people are trying to change their life and all that good stuff, but it is still crazy. Then there are all these recent shootings. The crazy batman guy and New town are the horrible of all. The year I came here there were two shootings of Indian students at different universities. All my relatives were giving me tips on how to be safe? What to do when someone is mugging you? So, I think it might be the familiarity, family support, and knowing gun is not a common commodity makes me feel safer in India than here. At least I will not lose my life in a split second.
      I understand it is different for you because you are not familiar with India. Also a lot of this depends on which place you are in. Hyderabad you don’t see a lot of eve teasing, but if you go to smaller towns or tourist places there are lots of crazies there. The place where I went for my medical school it was horrible how people stared at you? They used to do this 360 twist when you walk on roads. One time I was coming home at night on my scooty and two guys followed me . They would slow down when I would and speed up if I speed up. I went to the hospital I worked in and asked my colleagues to go check. After an hour I made sure I was not being followed anymore and went home. Sometimes it is bad, but like I said I feel I have support. Detroit is horrible now. I recently wanted to go to Detroit for something “D” said I would rather go somewhere else than Detroit.

      Reply
      • Yes, Detroit is very dangerous – I would say the most dangerous in the US. The gun issue has become a HUGE issue in the US, thank god I left or else I would be freaked out too.
        I was only 17 when I started to attend college in the US without knowing anybody down there and no family. I used to go dancing with my friends and come back at 4am, walking back alone in the dark, but I never felt unsafe – maybe I was lucky though! I also did the same in larger cities such as SFO and NYC when we lived there. I think it is true what you said about familiarity.
        I think the problem is also that in India, I always look at people in the eye, even if they are male – which can read to Indian men as “forward”. I have been harassed aggressively in front of my husband by huge groups of men, but that has never happened to me outside of India. Maybe it feels more frightening because of the language barrier, and culturally I don’t know what I’m supposed to handle it. When any men do eve-teasing, it’s all just crap-talk.

        Reply
    • Raina

       /  August 6, 2013

      Media makes me crazy with its portrayal of West. It might be Hollywood or Bollywood. My mother thinks American culture is like Hollywood culture. “D” even discussed it in the letter he wrote to my parents. Indian movies show this crazy dance sequences but no one does that in real life. Same with the Hollywood movies it is not the description of real Americans/West. My Indian friends told me that cussing is normal and it is a fashionable to use the “F” word. I think they got that idea from the media too. Then “D” told me that it is not good culture to cuss. Now, I see more Indian people cussing.

      Reply
  1. What do I stand for? | Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (VK)
  2. “Let the 21st century be a century of tolerance and dialogue” | Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam
  3. 67 years of Independence | Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam
  4. Rakhi Sting-Part 1 | Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam
  5. Rakhi Sting-Part 2 | Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam

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