India is my country. All Indians are my brothers and sisters.
I Love my country. I am proud of its rich and varied culture.
I shall always strive to be worthy of it.
I shall love and respect my parents, teachers and elders.
To my country and my people I pledge my devotion
..So goes the Indian national pledge as most of us remember. Even if we forget the other lines, the brothers and sisters part is unforgettable and many a joke has been formed using those lines..
Never have I been made to realize and understand the brothers and sisters as much as after coming to the US. If you are thinking that my bros and sis talk was about comradeship, explaining how I realized desis are the epitome of friendship in Pardes, you are no where near the truth. Here, let me…
When I joined NSC in 2000, wondering how the new firm will be, hoping to set my eyes on some Desis ( not that it is very difficult in the bay area) , little did I know that we Desi girls all look alike to most people..little brown girls, clones of each other. In due time, I found a couple of friends in K and her buddy A. K was a south Indian, tall, 70%wheatish and 30% bordering on fair, short hair,not so sharp nose,a wide smile where as A was from Delhi, tall, 70% fair and 30% bordering on very fair,long hair, sharp nose,smiled very rarely. They were often confused for each other and asked if they were sisters…making one wonder how everyone knows about the Indian pledge.
Note: The skin color is purely based on Indian Standards.
I was often confused for either K or another girl S. For some more descriptions, I was short with short hair, 20%black,30%brown and 50% wheatish , with a perpetual frown on my face just so I could pretend to be busy and S was also short, long hair , 20% black,40%brown and 40% wheatish with a manly gait.( Yes! I considered myself 10% more wheatish or rather better looking by Indian Standards). Now, how in the world can S and I be mistaken for each other, tell me..
The other side of the mirror:
I didn’t know the difference between Chin , Soo ,Kowamoto or Tran. They all looked and spoke the same.
In this world of juggling jumbles, you learn and adjust, albeit slowly. You accept their ignorance and sometimes make use of it too. You can get away by blaming S when you break the scope in the lab. You get to identify Chin from Tran. Chin calls Suresh as “Sure” ( pronounced as Su.Rey ). Tran calls Sort as “Sors” . Soo actually is sweet with his own slang and Kowamoto doesn’t actually resemble any of them. At last, you realize they are not brothers but are actually from four different countries and hoping one day they all will recognize You too , without any confusion. I can see that I am digressing and even changed the tense..Back to..
In 2004, I switched jobs and the search for desis continued. Alas! I was the only Indian other than the girl in another building. No more confusions. Unique. Oh! The Indian girl? That would be Shoba . How Sweet! . I had adjusted to a life of pure bliss where I was recognized just for who I was, the 50% wheatish girl , when last year,with a shattering roar, all talking in Hindi, six Indian kids including two girls entered the scene. Should say I was also guilty of recruiting one of the guys. My own Indian brother ! The managers came with their tots in tow, to introduce the prodigies to their Indian Sister….. the Elder Indian Sister ( Sob! Sob !!)
Cut to the present, yesterday myself and R were having lunch and in comes this Cambodian Guy , wanting to know if we are from India and if we are sisters? Seriously, after working in this place for 5 years, where I presumed I was numero Uno and everyone knew me.. Hello!! R might be my height,with a perpetual frown on her face just so she could pretend to be busy but have you looked at her complexion? She is 10%black, 60% brown and 40% wheatish.
That is a full 10% less wheatish than me !! Give me a break !! Sisters..Tut..Tut..