Well, first out I got a bunch of rejection letters which made me feel like crap about myself. But when I finally got in to this school in
But I hated that place. I guess the growing up part hit harder than usual. The school I went to was rich, white and not-WASP’y but rich-frat-rat with a BMW kind, girls all tall blondes who wanted boob jobs for their 21st birthday. Kill me, kill me now...oh wait, I already went through that place, no need, you can put the gun down…on second though, pass it over here please
And I guess I was mentally prepared for having a whole new lifestyle, of approaching work and interacting with people, I knew there would be this whole exotic-fruit thing as Bobo puts it and the novelty, both on for me and for the guys I lived with.
PS: I hate dorm style to this day…you never have any privacy, you can never be alone in the room, there are always people outside. One year was enough for me, next three was in an apartment that was part of the housing department. But there are other reasons as well which I will now go into.
I remember quite a few kids being unfriendly and I figured it would take them more time to warm up what since they figured I knew nothing about American culture…yeah right! No, seriously, I had a girl ask me if women in
But I was prepared for this (not this level of ignorance though, my first exposure to Americans). But when one guy wouldn’t let me into his room (when the rest of the floor was invited…well, except this black kid) or another one said stuff like ‘Hindu bastard’ or ‘towel-jockey’, I wondered if American’s were just twats or stupid. One guy was making fun of me being Indian because his dad was laid off from Union Carbide after the
Anyway, I hated my room, hated the sounds of other people around. And there would be days when I could go without saying a word to anyone. Look, don’t tell me, ‘oh but you could have joined student groups or clubs’. I didn’t know any better. You take a 17 year old who hasn’t lived away from home before, in another country with no one he knows and who is not used to anything, studying the American college way, the interactions and top it off with guy’s who give shit to another white guy who hooked up with a black girl, yeah, you got a great recipe for depressions…
And there were barely any Indian kids in the place either…the one’s who were, were of Indian descent…the ones who were fresh off the boat, well, they had their summer homes in Maine and BMWs (kids of some of the biggest families you can think of in India) and had their own cliques…then there was me who worked part time at the cafeteria and on weekends at the call centre
This college charged about $40k per year to attend. I had to call up alumni to ask for donations. Most hung up on me. One burst out laughing saying that they had taken enough. Another gave me a long string of continues expletives and said, “there, that’s how I feel about that place, really wanna ask me for money?”
I don’t blame them. When I transferred out of there, I got a call asking for money, I told the girl exactly what I went through at the place and asked her if she would give money back…I think I upset her…oh dear
And then every other weekend were dorm dinners and the ones who wouldn’t go…because they didn’t know about these dinners were this black kid, this Asian kid and me. And even then I didn’t do the math. Because this is
I didn’t want to believe it.
And I don’t want to think about depression either. Why? Because I don’t want to and don’t ask either. Those months are one set I wish never happened and I don’t want to remember what I was back then… or where and I don’t mean location wise either
Anyway, I remember when I transferred out of there, I remember getting the letter and I was ecstatic. And there was this one semi-decent guy who was a nice guy (was 6’2, Irish, drank like an Irishman, wanted to teach middle school kids…I hope he is doing that now)…and he asked me why I wanted to leave…I guess I had had way too much vodka (don’t ask with whom because I wont answer) and I guess I broke down and told him everything and remember saying ‘I can’t help it if I’m brown’.
I remember being so happy packing the next day, I was going to go to
The flip side...
The flip side...
Anyway, I left without a regret. And thank god for the other place I got into. I knew I wouldn’t ever be able to go back to
But yeah, in hindsight,
- I realize I don’t have to put up with crap from anyone about anything, least of all being
. If anything, looking around and what I do and how I got here, I love being who I am and a large part of that is being Indian India
- if I meet an idiot American, I have no problem telling him exactly what he is and what I think about him
- I know I never want to settle down in the
ever. US taught me where home is and where it always will be Boston
- If I can live through that, bring it on, I can live through most anything
- if I ever hear a racial epithet, I will lose it and now that I am completely justified in doing so
And heck, it isn’t something that gets me emotionally choked up any more. My room-mates at school (the one I graduated from) where great guys. In the third year it was me, two white guys and this black guy. We used to make so many racial jokes toward each other, me pointing at them during parties at our place, telling a girl really loud ‘look at ‘em white boys, they can’t dance for nuts!’ and those guys laughing their ass of, me making my way with great fan fare…or the black guy looking at his palms one day (which were really white) and quietly going, ‘oh, I’m finally evolving…’
And all of us just sat stunned because normally it’s the most insulting thing I can think of but we all treated racism as such a fantastic concept, that we just had to joke about it because who can take it seriously?
So, between camel-jockeys, differences between Indian (no, you aren’t the Big Chief kind, you are the dot kind…you know, Native Americans vs. the bindi kind)…we were just so irreverent about it…course, the penis jokes just flew what with one black guy in the apartment, two white cracker and me … hell, like we were laughing about it (and the girls in the apartment were shocked we were insulting each other like that…they caught on when I explained to them, that between the white boy and the black one, I was just right)…
Then one Halloween, Leo, the black guy was doing laundry, and he walks out into the living room with a sheet draped on him…and he goes (he always had a deadpan voice), “I’m the Grand Wizard (of the Ku Klux Klan)…now watch me lynch myself” and dove into the carpet. Or Jason, the other white guy who came out wearing all Fubu and a Hoody and fake bling rapping about being a white boy…of course, no one took it outside the apartment but it was just hysterical.
My roommate came from a small town in
But again, see, Ben’s grandmother was from another era…how do you explain kid’s who are my age, live in a metropolitan city in the world and still believe this stuff.
One of my favourite imaginings is to be working where I am, perhaps a few more years senior, have one of those kid’s CV’s land in front of me, call them for an interview and teach them a thing or two…anyway, if karma has anything to do with it, I hope they end up working for a non-white guy…
And this is why, I never want to settle anywhere but in
Let me leave you with this...just so you shake your head in wonder and go, What. The. Fuck?