Indian Emails
by Jay Tekwana

From: john.lobo_at_lichmond.edu  
To: rahul.malhotra_at_xahoo.co.in, mohammed.shah_at_fmail.co.in

 

Subject: A funny experience

 

Hey lazy fellows,

 

It has almost been two months since we guys had a conversation. Seems like you guys are too busy studying (just kidding, ‘studying!’, sorry if I offended you). Anyways I had a very weird experience I would wanna share with you guys.

It was a Friday night and as usually I and a bunch of my friends had nothing to do. We were aimlessly roaming around the deserted campus. Almost everyone in my college goes to lodge parties, which are organized by fraternities (a kind of brotherhood). I had never been to one but I had heard it is a lot of drinking and crazy fun. I thought since the parties are crazy, a sane man like me had no business there. On this aimless wandering two of my friends start talking,

‘Dude we are now in the US?’

‘So…’

‘So we are supposed to party, drink and go crazy. That is what Americans do on a Friday evening.’

‘Since when did you become an American, buddy I though you are from Pakistan.’

‘No, I mean we are here in the US, not just to study but to experience the American culture.’

I quickly interject, ‘So wait, you think this drinking and partying is American culture.’

He replies, ‘Listen we are now in college, college is all about having the freedom to expose yourself to various things in life and then to decide.’

The other friend says, ‘I agree, we need to suspend our judgments about lodge parties being bad and go there ourselves to check out what happens.’

I don’t know if you know this but in a group of three close friends when two say yes, the two don’t even bother asking the third one if he agrees since his agreement is automatically assumed. The next thing I know is they drag me to the lodge party. I enter the small room and the smell of beer fills my nose. Even before a single sip of alcohol, I feel intoxicated. I think they spray alcohol in the air for people who avoid drinking. They believe that beer in glasses is not enough, so they also spill it on the floor. As a result the floor was sticky and muddy, frankly, I started worrying about the new shoes I was wearing. With apprehension in every step  I moved  forward to a large, more open space which for me was the most ‘open’ space I had ever seen. Oh My God! All the girls and the boys, I mean each couple was dancing like they were conjoined. I could not stop staring at this marvel for a few seconds, but I lowered my gaze  when I realized this ‘open’ space was also a private space.

So a friend of mine through the ear-deafening Papi Chulo whispers in my ears, ‘dude, grinding!’ He then brings a big glee on his face and winks at me. I felt stupid because I winked back without understanding a single bit what he meant. However, overcoming my hesitation I lied, ‘What did you say, I wasn’t able to hear you because of the music?’ He says ‘I said grinding’. The repetition did not foster my understanding in anyway. Feeling dumb I asked ‘grinding what?’. He cracks up laughing and says ‘dude, the way the couples are dancing is called, grinding.’ He explained it almost as if it is an established form of dance. Taking forward his academic definition I added, ‘Don’t you think this dance form is inspired from…you know what I mean, like doing the whole act with clothes.’ He cracks up laughing and we could not stop laughing about this conversation for the next two weeks.

Anyways that is me, you guys tell me more about you guys? Hey Rahul how is your new business? Man I must say you truly followed your heart and started your dream-project right after school. Mohammad, how is your journalism major treating you? I always love your essays, tell me if you’re working on some interesting journalism essay?

Thank You

John

 

 

Nice job fleshing him out, Jay. Make sure, however, at least in the first mail, that he remains in character; this refers to the words he is using—I pointed out a couple of instances—as well as to what he is relating.

 

 

 

 

 

From: mohammed.shah_at_fmail.co.in

To: rahul.malhotra_at_xahoo.co.in, john.lobo_at_lichmond.edu

Subject: Once a nerd, always a nerd

Man, I just can’t stop imagining your shocked expression at the party, seems like you got a huge cultural shock . You ended up perpetuating the Indian stereotype; we are all nerds who keep doing math and natural sciences. But let me tell you this, your cultural shock is not because you are in the US, but it is because you have never seen such a party before. They happen every time in Mumbai and across India but you in your nerdiness, sir, have never been to any. I still remember your response when I asked you to join Rahul and me in that party in Colaba. As you said in your email, we had assumed according to your law of consent amongst three friends that since Rahul and I were going, you were coming as well. But you, being you, decided not to come. ‘I am not sure I wanna expose myself to a party with alcohol.’ But don’t worry we love you the way you are !!! Ohh BTW Mr. America, in India we call it Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism; you make me laugh ‘journalism major’. It seems like someone is quickly picking up the American jargon. You seem to be on a steep learning curve, don’t worry you will very soon also pick up on ‘grinding’ .

Let me tell you something about my ‘critical analysis of journalism’ project. All the newspapers up until very recently were inundated with articles on the US Presidential race. Some believe that the US Presidential election was given undue attention and more coverage than it required. They further argue that the election is not so important because the outcome of the elections had no significant impact on the dynamics of the bi-lateral relationship between India and the US. However, there are others who believe that the US Presidential election should indeed be closely followed because the result has global impact. The US President is arguably one of the most powerful and influential individual on the face of the earth. The other aspect of the issue is, sixty five years post-independence, we are still too concerned with what the west is doing, while there are issues in our neighboring countries, which may have direct geo-political consequence. For instance, the political changes or stagnation in Burma has a significant impact on Indian investment in Burma, the Burmese refugees in India and last, but not least the geo-political advantage over China of having a Burmese government more favorable to India. However, the issues in Burma very rarely figure in the Indian media. So the bigger question is what is the role of the Indian media? Is it to show to the Indian viewers the news that they enjoy? Or is it to show the news that may really impact India? I believe that both are important and so I will analyze where indeed lies the balance between the two attitudes by the media?

That, for you, my dear friend, is my project; it is really interesting but very tedious. Ok you can give me some input now that you live in the USA. Knowing you I know you definitely read the US Newspapers, so can you tell me how the US media portrays international news? It would be an interesting comparison to the Indian media.  

Thank You

Mohammad

 

P.S. The craziness in the parties across the world is the same.