LIFE OUT HERE
It's time for a confession. Truth that no other bottled water sipping,
Ralph Lauren wearing, "oh I can never drive in India" NRI has ever
divulge. Come closer now, I must confess this closely guarded secret
Our life is actually - yes, you heard it right - pretty boring,
and uneventful! Shocking, eh?
Here's an insider glimpse into what we NRIs do in our spare time. Our
weekends are largely spent on one of the following activities:
1.The NRI weekend get-together - This is our default weekend activity.
Various NRIs, mostly IT professionals with a smattering of doctors and
MBAs, gather at a restaurant, or at someone's house.
These events typically begin about ninety minutes later than their
scheduled time. As people arrive, jokes are cracked about their sense
schedule, or the lack thereof. These are the exact same jokes that were
cracked the previous weekend and the weekend before that.
Everyone laughs. Men and women split into separate groups. Bottles of
are popped open - red for the men and mostly white for the women.
Discussions are usually centered on a few major issues - how India has
completely changed in the past ten years, how Bollywood movies are so
different, how cheap it is to call India now, and why we all should
back to our homeland soon.
2.The NRI "Surprise" Birthday parties - These are occasions when
in most cases a woman (the chief conspirator), throws a surprise
party for her unsuspecting spouse (the victim).
The activity begins with the chief conspirator sending out emails to
friends (co-conspirators) informing them of the upcoming event. The
is excluded from these emails, to maintain an element of surprise. A
Plans are made to lure the victim away from home at a predetermined
using a lame excuse. Hushed phone calls between conspirators generate
The day of reckoning arrives. The conspirators turn up, one at a time,
park at secret, pre-designated spots. They enter the victim's house and
wait patiently. They keep a close eye on the driveway, through the
As soon as the victim's car pulls up, a stern "silence" warning is
Everyone complies. Except for that one odd guy, who despite ten years
attending surprise parties still hasn't quite grasped the concept. A
begins to cry.
The hapless victim enters the house, thoroughly bored. People wait with
baited breath. As soon he walks past the corridor and into the kitchen,
"SURPRISE!!" they all yell in unison. The victim acts shocked and the
conspirators break out into rounds of self-congratulatory
They recount exhilarating tales of how the event was planned. The chief
conspirator talks about the difficulties encountered in convincing the
victim to leave the house. Everyone asks the victim if he was aware of
plot. Unwilling to extend this torture anymore, he quietly shakes his
The women squeal in sheer delight. Bottles of wine are opened, red for
men and white for the women. Discussions begin. On how India has
on Bollywood movies, on international dialing rates, and on how great
would be to move back to India.
3.The NRI getaways - At one of these above mentioned parties, someone
mentions the need to break away from it all, to do something different,
be adventurous. A getaway! Everyone nods in agreement. Vigorously.
In the coming weeks, schedules are reviewed. Suggestions are made. The
absolute essentials for such a getaway are listed. They are identical
the last getaway of course. A table tennis or a pool table, a
preferably a hot tub. Oh, and definitely not more than two hours' drive
from home. There are limits to adventurism after all.
The internet is googled. Phone calls are made. A decision is arrived
Everyone concurs. Everyone except that one hard to please couple.
So, the search starts afresh. After a few attempts, a consensus is
On the designated long weekend, everyone arrives at this paradise on
a 90 minute drive from home. The men hit the beers and the pool table.
women hit the wines, white of course. The kids hit whatever they see in
front of them.
The hot tub goes unused because the women are reluctant to wear
in front of other desis, no matter how friendly. So, a few rounds of
Antakshri are played instead. Discussions begin. On how India has
on Bollywood movies and?.well, you get the idea.
So the next time an NRI gives you any grief about the exotic, alluring,
bacteria free life in the US or England or Canada or Australia, just
remember this NRI's confession, and smile. Oh, and pass those
jalebis and paan please - they are to die for!