By Ankit Chandra
First the disclaimer: Any family member should read this only at his/her own risk, and always pretend that they never did.
Man I so wish I was born at the times of Khajuraho Temples. The reason is either too obvious or it will most definitely be in the due course of this post.
All this while I was struggling to find the right way to sum up my Vegas trip. But intoxicated as I was, it was only now that I could re-gather my senses ( it took 2 days of day long business meetings to get me out of that) to come up and gather my thoughts.
The best way the whole Vegas trip can be summed up in two words is “confused dilemma”. At least for me. No let me correct that. I can safely say that for a good number of people from India. Dilemma of what? You see, there is this historic side of India all Indians so proudly brandish and brag about. Well at least we think that out past was glorious (if not the present) and that we proudly follow those traditions in our daily present day lives. In one of my first blogs, I had talked about the great Indian divide. That exists between us the eligible guys and them the eligible-yet-no-where-to-be-seen girls in India, coz their fathers keep them away from us. A very well made documentary film on this by a musician called Ishq Bector is here. (go to the link only if u wanna know how Indian parents ‘mind’ their kids 😀 )
So how does this all link to each other? I mean the topic is Vegas, and I’ve talked about Khajuraho temples, Indian culture, contemporary Indian parents, and then the acclaimed (eh?) new age Indian musician? hehe so at least the ‘confused’ part of the problem is clear.
So now the other ‘dilemma part’. Despite the assurance by the Americans : “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”, poor Indian graduate students, who haven’t even ever been to a dance bar in India ( trust me!) are left to the mercy of, shall we say ‘ladies’ in ‘non-indian’ dresses.
Have you ever observed your tongue become so long that it blasts it way out of your mouth? have you ever felt your neck crane over 180 degrees trying to help your eyes dig deep into certain things that are usually never to be seen? Have you ever had anatomy lessons in the middle of a casino? Have you ever had guys on the roads selling phone numbers of the other sex, instead of T-shirts? Have you ever sooo wanted to be behind a certain curtain, or behind a certain door that the only way you could take your mind off it is by concentrating on another similar curtain and door? How many times the truck in front of you carries a larger than life ad of something that you would want to give your right hand for? and that too at 50 Dollars an hour? 😀
If all this happens in Vegas, how can a poor Indian graduate student forget it all in Vegas… But thats exactly where the dilemma starts. The point is, despite all that happening to me, I couldn’t do anything but stay/stand/walk on… Call it a culture shock, or sheer cowardice, but anytime such opportunity arose, I couldn’t take the dive. For better or for worse. Be it a girl asking me to merely stick my tongue out for a picture, or a guy on the road asking me to just look at the card and the picture on it, I couldn’t stand up to the moment. Why? coz we as Indians aren’t supposed to do that stuff!!. Damn! now I am confused.
In one of the pubs there, I was standing upright and uptight (God knows why) and just then someone brushed beside me. Her hand came into mine and she held it tight for a split second. In that moment, that split second, I sooo wished it was in Madhya Pradesh at the time of Khajuraho. Just so that I could follow my traditions and glorious past 😛