Saturday, October 4, 2008

Rohit's American Adventure: Chapter 2. The Parekh's

I felt at home with the Parekh family. They lived in a home which I could have only dream t of. There were plasma TV’s in each room and even a grand piano in the main room. I was given a room in the basement to live. Just outside my room was the home theater system which was out of the world. One could only dream of having such things having lived in India. At night, Yogesh mama dropped in. Yogesh mama was brother of Charu aunty. He had migrated to USA about 10 years ago and spoke like an American. He had applied for citizenship but got rejected in the writing exam. I loved the way, he said "Yup", in his American accent. He had a smile on his face and spoke in Hindi with me. It was interesting to know that he remembered every nook and corner of my locality. I liked him instantly. Of the many things he said to me, the thing which struck me the most was, ”Raja ! There is a lot of money in USA as long as you are ready to work” He also gave me advice on people to hang out with. He told old people in USA will love you and take care of you if you are good friends with them. As it was getting late, he had to leave but it was a memorable conversation I had with him. Later on, I met Maushmi, Raj’ s elder sister. Maushmi had the typical American accent and tried to be loyal to her Indian roots. She spoke with me about life and career plans. It was nice talking to her. She carried herself well. Jaimin dropped in later and he too was accommodating. We spoke about movies, my university and life as a student in USA. I didn’t speak much with Narendra uncle(Charu aunty’s husband) that day and was eager to speak with him. I slept that night trying to digest the world and place I was in. The Parekh’s seemed perfect and the honeymoon had started.

I got up the next day and when I went to the kitchen, I was given chai (tea) by Charu aunty. It wasn’t the same as back home but I drank it. I appreciated the efforts she had taken. Raj joined me and asked me if I had a goodnight sleep. He asked me if I wanted something to eat. Narendra uncle just happened to be in the kitchen by that time and he took a packet of chips and powered it in the bowl in front of me. He told Raj, its Indiana culture to offer even if the person says no. I smiled back at him and Raj. Raj switched on the TV and there were news flashes of a bombing attempt by Al Quaida on British airways carriers foiled in Heathrow. I said to myself,”I was there at that place 24 hours ago and it could have been on that plane held up at the airport. “. I was glad that I had reached my destination safely. I thanked God and prayed for things to return to normal. I can’t imagine how stressed out my family especially my mom would have been had I been one of those stranded at the Heathrow airport as the result of the bomb event at Heathrow airport. I only prayed for the situation to ease and everyone to reach their destinations safely.

I spent most of the time chatting with folks back home or reading books at the Parekh families place. I did have occasional visits to shopping malls with Charu aunty. These shopping malls were huge and they required membership. The good thing was you could have a breakfast by having a stroll at all the counters where they were offering free servings of their food products to try. Charu aunty insisted Saturday was the right time to visit as more food samples will be available to feast on.

Since I was in USA, chappals (flip flops) had become extinct for me. Everywhere I went I used to wear shoes and shorts. Another thing which Raj had pointed out was to tuck the shirt out (outshirt) and never inshirt. People were very helpful. I observed this when we used to go to a restaurant or someplace, Raj used to enter first and hold the door open for me to enter. I guess that was part of the American culture.