Thursday, July 9, 2009

H4 saga: Part 2a: What you say?

"How can you say Amaerikka is boring??? Your appa and I watched that movie "Amaerikka Amaerikka" only last week. So many cars, such tall buildings, all those fair girls with yellow hair you should be so happy to be there..." amma's gyan

"Just try to adjust it will become ok after a few days" appa's logic

"All you young girls have got one word, "bore" everything is 'bore". We never complained about anything. Have a baby then you won't be bored anymore. When I was your age I had 4 kids and..." ajji's rubbish

"How I can make them understand? Compare maybe?" thinks Rani and does just that.

1) Meeting friends:
India- Call them up, fix up a time & venue and meet up.
US- If you are lucky you might have friends here. If you do, then you must be doubly lucky to have them living in your state. If you want to meet them, you MUST know how to drive. There are no autos or buses that ferry you. Or you can wait for your husband to take you (which means you cannot bitch about him- what's the use?)

2) Grocery shopping:
I- Walk to the market or wait for the vegetable vendor to make his morning rounds.
U- If you are lucky you might have a grocery store within walking distance. If not, you have to wait for your husband to come home and take you because you cannot drive.

3) Learning to drive:
I- Go get into a school do the lessons, take driving lessons, then the road test.
U- If you are lucky and have a social security number (SSN) and the people at the DMV office don't make your life a living hell, then you can take the learners' permit test, then go through the alcohol and drug classes, 101 tests, learn that wretched parallel parking and finally pass the road test.

4) Calling home:
I- Pick up the phone and dial.
U- First google the time in India. If you feel your relatives are not in zombie state call them.

5) Studying:
I- Put in an application for a course, pay the fees and go do the course.
U- Clear GRE and TOEFL write a mind blowing SOP, apply to 10 schools hoping to get into 1 of them. If you are lucky you will get in. Next pray that they give you aid, if not a complete aid at least in-state tuition.

6) Weddings, funerals, baby shower, baby-being-put-in-a-cradle ceremony, naming ceremony, thread ceremony, birthdays, Ganesh chathurthi, Diwali, Holi and all other festivals and poojas:
I- family, fun and food.
U- If you are lucky you might get some desi friends to celebrate birthdays and festivals with you. For the other events that happen exclusively in India like weddings and funerals, you can either pay 1200$ and fly there or sit whining/crying here.

"Hello A? Remember, last week you were telling me how our honeymoon was so short and that we should go some place exotic for a 2nd honeymoon?"
"Oh yes, dahling. Plan something I will look at it when I get back from work."

Google: Cheap tickets to India.

I had no intention of doing this post. But a few people(who read my previous post) felt that homemakers in India are sailing in the same boat as people with H4 visa, I don't think so. Then J read this post and felt I was not the right person to make a comparison because,
a) I am biased, this is true I hate H4 visa.
b) I have never been a homemaker. This is true as well, I was working full time in India and I stayed at home for just 4 months in the US before I started grad school.

So dear readers, what you say?


  1. Ohh man this really does sound depressing:( On the other hand, I do LOVE your witty style of writing, it gives something to smile about when my balance sheets aren't equalizing!!!

  2. Please tell me Amaerikka Amaerikka is not a real movie?!! LMAO!!!

  3. I guess J is right .. If you have never been a full time home maker, then you would never how it feels .. From my perspective, Life of a home maker is no different in India if you live in a nuclear family. I was as bored as in the US as I was in India .. The only advantage abt being in India is that a lot of things like driving around etc is much easier than the US .. But if you decide to like in any country, you wud just adapt yrself to suit that lifestyle .. But boredom continues in any place

  4. I really dont think homemakers in india and in US are facing same situations, to think about it, its quite diff, atleast in india we have the freedom to do shoppin or call or meetup with friends or spend sometime with family etc, living without friends and family in india would also lead to boredom if one doesnt have a fulltime work, so i guess it all depends upon the scenario..

  5. I say HAHAHAHAHHHAHAHAHAHAHA and that you raaawk!

  6. I do think that homemakers in India and abroad face different issues.. I too was never a homemaker in India - but I think it might be more fun.. Atleast you get to have help in the house and as you say - autos are at our disposal :) Family is around - if not in the same city - atleast easier to reach :)

    But I guess, I am sure I will find new reasons of being unhappy in India too :)

    Loved your post, though!

  7. I guess if you are a homemaker in India and living in a complete strange city, even then it wont be as hard as in USA to make friends...
    if your hubby has a decent salary you can afford to eat out atleast 5-6 times a week if you want(if not a full meal, atleast chats)...In US,even with a decent salary not more than 2-3 times a week...if we go out 4th time in a row in a week, more than enjoying the meal, desis would be converting the money spent in dollars into Indian rupees and cringing in their seats...:P
    I guess if we got all the channels that we used to watch back home in India here, it woudnt be so bad huh?

    if you land in cities like DC, NY, Chicago where they have atleast something called 'public transportation' then it isnt as bad as coming to a place in March and there is still 4 feet of snow;
    where only 3,000 people live and you & your hubby are the only Indians there, the nearest Indian grocery store is 300 miles away;
    you look at a mexican walking by and jump in you car seat shout to your hubby ""there's a Desi !!! stop the car stop the caaaaarr stoppppppp!!!!! "" so loudly that hubby freaks out and almost rams the car into a pile of snow...

    But as time goes by I guess we have no choice but to get used to the "serinity"(I prefer to use this word instead of "silence" because its more ahem hep...) since we landed here on our own free will (atleast I did) !!! now living in a "big" city with 300,000 population, its not so bad as that village !!!

    oky, I guess I will stop for now, this comment is getting to be longer than the post and Sakshi will be mad at me :D

  8. OMG ...what a comparison.......i still feel many Indian homemakers are worse...

    you guys are making such good friends with fellow many Indian homemakers do this...i tell you it IS painful to adjust in the beginning when you stop working n stay all day at home......
    but rani ki kahani stuck in the comparison...not fair...

  9. wats my story?
    quite different- but the hitch hikes along the road were definitely no free rides!!
    Ran away from the 9to9 scenario in india to come here for a complete vacation and then maybe i got too much of it. when i started to think wats my passion? discovered - i didnt have one!!!

    and then came around ideas..some introspection. For the first time in my life i was being with myself, and i was surprised wit the outcome..i started to get comfortable with something called 'me' and then a new journey began...
    (and here i am in ur comment box ranting about me..self obsessed!!!)

    loved the post..especially thinking of a honeymoon back home in india bit..there is no place like home, coz that home belongs to U!!

  10. Staying out of India has its pluses definitely and esp after marriage, no khit pit of the in law extended family!! No gyan from mom ISD calls make the conversations sweet and short. Plus a lot of Me time. I miss the support system of maids and chauffers in India though!

  11. Danne Ponnu!!
    quit the timepass and start studying!!
    guess wat, a lady just came home to collect tulsis..ekdum excited i am.
    I also gave her a tour of my tulsi forest, my blog, project tulsi..i bet she must be running to her car right now!!

  12. I definitely don't agree with point 3, and some others that I am on the wall.

    Getting a driver's license is not that difficult, and one does not need a SSN to get one. And I feel that every girl should make this as one of her priorities once she gets here. It gives a sense of independence and access to go anywhere you want.
    Lot of us underestimate the importance of this, thinking "where and why should I drive in this country?"
    If I don't make the effort to get out of the house and meet people, no one is going to come knocking at my door!

  13. @Ranj,
    America America is a kannada movie :P How often do your balance sheets don't equalize?
    Yeah! Hi-fi!
    Well, your point only indicates that Indian homemakers are busier and the ones in US are pretty jobless :P
    Hmm..very interesting ;)
    Studying ya I took some time off to find the answer to your riddle.
    Ohhh which state are you in? I had to go in thrice just to get my learners permit. I have asked my friend to give her learners permit sorrow story. If you don't drive in this country considered your life satyanash!

  14. SJ, In GA or WA you don't need a SSN to get a driver's license. But... you will need a "Letter of denial" from the SSN office (which states the obvious about work permit and stuff). It is a few hours work to stand in queue at the SSN office. And that should suffice. Do enquire about it. I would be surprised if they still say SSN is mandatory.

  15. @Anudivya,
    If not SSN, they have various other options which sound as mind boggling as SSN. I could get mine only after I got my EAD. It was SO hard to get 2 address proofs, once I had my EAD it was all smooth sailing. This story is just not mine I have heard this horror stories from few other friends. So point 3 stays :P

  16. Each state has its own rules when it comes to Drivers License. For example: Some states issue license only for as long as your visa is valid. Some states do not look at the visa-expiry and issue it for 2 or 3 years whichever is standard.
    Most states do ask for SSN and most DMVs in those states look at the letter from SSN office stating H4 visa holders cannot get SSN and issue the license.

    But it all depends on who is behind the counter and how knowledgeable they are about the rules !!!!

  17. hmm.. there is no comparison. We can't say all H4 visa ppl are suffering in the US and the indian homemakers have a jolly good time, and vice versa.

    the thing is, in Singapore, i dont have any of the problems you stated. public transport is top notch, i hardly stayed home for 2 months before i started working full time in the same company i was with in india (how rare an event is that?!), i dont drive and have never had to, there is an awesome supermarket just a chicken leg's throw away from our apartment, i pick up the phone and call anyway because india is behind us by 2.5 hours so its still early there and no harm in the mornings since i dont get up before 9 and folks get up at 5am.

    yet, i cant stop whining!

    bottomline: some of us were meant to be in our home countries and not leave. some others just find it easier to adjust.

    end of story.

  18. Now, I was doing some thinking...
    I guess some people are happy to stay at home while some are not...So when people like us who do not want to stay at home are forced to because of the circumstances, maybe the Rani within us surfaces whether we live in India or outside India...But the farther we are from India, the crazier Rani's tantrums I correct or not?

  19. you surely have a good style of writing. And as I read the comments... I could help but think...oh my god what have you started!!

  20. I just moved from Bangalore to Ahmedabad a year back...Life is convinient here, grocery is home delivered, veggie shop down the road, i can call my folks at any time, car was transported and i drive all over town, and still, I crib...Its leaving what you are really familiar with that really gets to you...And I guess, since I work from home, my opportunity to meet people is so low and its so culturally different from bangalore, that I really had a tough time getting used to this place..And at my age, 'making friends' just gets more difficult...
    ajji's suggestion of a baby is a good idea though, keeps you so busy, you wont have time to realise which country you live in :)

  21. I think being a homemaker in India rocks big time. Eat. Sleep.Shove the kids and the husband out of the doors sharp at 8. Let the maid clean and MIL cook. And sit in the car like a queen and instruct your driver to take you wherever you want to go. Easy.
    I was in US for a month and was ready to tear my hair. ( Waise bhi baal bas kam hi bache hai)Had to ask a friend's friend to drop me at the supermarket. Extremely irritating.

  22. @Nags,
    I liked your story made sense.
    Refer Nags story.
    It always ends up like that!! I never have any intention to start anything!
    Ohh nooo!! Ajji's suggestion is good for ajji only!
    YOU ROCK!!!! I wait to get your comments!!! So funny that you and sujata had opposite views! But you and I have same view so hi-fi!!!

  23. Arrrghhh!I can't tell my story. Point no.1 I am a non-homemaker staying in India.
    Point no. 2 I don't stay in the US nor have I been there.
    I sympathise with those people who are going through the above said troubles. So get back to India. We'll have fun and pani puri ;)

  24. Hmmm am I the last one here?? Guess my sudden change in habitat is taking up on me big so late in commenting here. Whoa you have become a cult leader in writing H4 saga and starting a I wish I could be in ur shoes..sobs!

    Well what started as a fun H4 series did highlight certain issues. It's true many of us will crib if we are plucked out from familiar surroundings; I am one of them. And I don't buy the argument try to adjust!! It pisses me off as I know if I had the ability to adjust I wouldn't crib in the first place. The lack of adjustment doesn't make me a bad person though isn't it *smiling at SJ hopefully*

    MY DMV story....well I don't know how to term it sad, horrifying or mind boggling. We went to the DMV office for my learners permit, my husband making sure that we had all the documents they asked for and me trying to recall all the manual I had crammed up. In fact I got a stare from my husband when I suggested I will take my son along for the test as the guy knew more signals than me :). So after they took my pic with rather frizzy hair, collecting all my lifetime achievement documents (including SSN denial letter), the woman at the counter asked show me ur cancelled check! Me being an Indian fished out my check book, drew a big slanting line on it and signed and gave it back to her. She made a headmistress face and said cancelled check! Husband came to rescue after seeing my goldfish mouth and asked her what is a cancelled check and why she needs it. She just said contact ur bank and we need it for signature proof..I was wondering if she had thrown my passport with my very own signature bcoz it was an Indian one? But the lady refused to say anything beyond BANK. I asked M if she was suggesting bribe like people back home? Again a big stare (he is learning the American way too fast).

    So we went to the bank and its a whole new story...but till now I have not seen my own cancelled check and so decided to hire back my own home chauffeur to drive me around.

    Btw Ranju I beat you at the long comment and yeah am angry with u but not for writing a long comment. For using the word serenity!!! arghhhhhhh

    Anudivya any hopes of a job for my hubby in WA?? it ROCKS as you got the DL in one sitting!!

  25. LOL Sakshi, DL may not be a problem, but "job"... that maybe a whole another topic to discuss!

    BTW, did you get the license finally after the DMV experience or not?

  26. Hmmmm the thing which started as fun turned to a unlimited debate i think.....I just gave my point of view....staying back different for different people.....hmm second part gives a lot of comparision between India and US.....again i will say If u r in India and atleast 12 hour bus drive from native.....attending pretty functions....... hmm next to impossible....ha i came just a month back...i may not attend...hmm things like this keep u away dear....hmmm if you are friends have kids and some with job....then bhul jao of meeting them....whenever u call them they will keep on talking about office tensions and kid's do's and don'ts.....and if they are more close like "best friends"......they will always suggest you to have a kid....hmmm how life will turn after a baby and so on and on.........

    I really appreciate the different prespectives coming not gives an oppurtunity to know the pros and cons of the suitation but also helps to what life is from different ends.....

    Hope to see the continuation on this......

  27. @HB,
    Pani puri now you are talking!!

    @Kitchen flavours,
    You gave your point, I gave mine and everyone else gave theirs. Honestly I blog because I like to have fun and read only blogs that are funny not those that give bucket loads of motherly advice!
    I have no intention of starting some women movement or H4 riots here or any unlimited debates!! So chill!!

  28. When i mean continuation.....i mean H4 saga and the life from your end.....i too don't want to play a debate on this......I am always chill.....

  29. Even I cannot compare, as I was never at home when I was in India. When I came to Singapore, I had to quit my job because of my son. Though I had excellent public transport for shopping, traveling. I was bored like hell. I was missing my family & India soo very much. My cousins who have quit their jobs after having a child are very happy staying at home in India. May be because, they have full family support. Though I have excellent commuting system in Singapore & though I work now, I miss my people & food. I know I am deviating from the topic. But, be it at home or work, we miss India because we just love the way it is.

  30. You had to wait only 4 months to get to grad school! I had to wait a year especially so that I could get in-state tuition!

  31. Well, your point only indicates that Indian homemakers are busier and the ones in US are pretty jobless :P

    at this ....i never meant that the ones in the US are petty jobless know well how is the life of an average Indian woman...i just wanted to say that....and where the rani ki kahani has gone??
    where is the fun that i was waiting for??
    especially after the meena kumari act..this is not what i expected.

  32. i felt i just read my mind again. good one :)


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