Monday, May 10, 2010

Spare me the details

There was a time when I did not know that Microsoft has an office in Seattle and Google operates out of Mountainview (or Mountain View or Mountain-View).

For that matter, even now, I have absolutely no clue about which visas mean what to Indians in the US. H1 reminds me only of the H1N1 influenza.

Don’t drop down dead yet. I do not know whether Texas is on the East or the West (of the US that is) or how many hours one might take by road from Pennsylvania to Pittsburgh (or whether they are even connected by road).

I can hear you going “Oooh how could she! Bring on the highest degree of corporal punishment, for this crime deserves nothing short of the IPC 302.”

Meanwhile, as you prepare the noose and related entities, let me flaunt off my limited wisdom on certain things that actually make a difference to my life.

I do know where the companies that I keep track of have their offices in India. It is actually quite straight forward, you know. I can just say ‘Mumbai or Delhi’. 9 out of 10 times I would be right.

Also, I seem to know about the existence of something called the Schengen visa – the only visa that might ever matter to me, as a Euro Trip is there on my ‘Things to do before I die’ list.

Despite my in-depth lack of expertise in geography, I know that NCR stands for National Capital Region and Mumbai is almost an island city. That is because I have traveled to or intend traveling to these places quite often.

In order to set the context for all these self imposed confessionary statements, I need to go back a little in time.

A few months ago, I had a slightly amusing conversation with an acquaintance of mine who had wanted to connect with me over some social networking site. I, out of courtesy, asked her the customary “Where are you working?” question. She said, “Of course I work for Microsoft, why else would I be in Seattle.” I was not aware then that it is such an obvious thing to know. Incidentally, those were the days when none of the people who matter to me had yet started working for the mighty Microsoft or the great Google.

That conversation set me thinking. My friends who are currently in the US have always spared me the painstaking operational details about life there, except for vague mentions of “I need to get something something stamped by some some time.” I retain only the dates in memory and follow up on whether they have been successful with doing the ‘something’ that they have wanted to do, nothing more. For my part, I too spare them of unnecessary details like how there is always a long line of flights waiting for take-off at the Mumbai domestic terminal.

So, there! It might not be that big a crime for me to not know about how certain things work in the US, except as part of a “Learning how things work for Indians in the US” course. Fortunately for me, that is not going to be part of my to-do list any time in the near future. When I am faced with such a dire need, I solemnly promise that I shall place a call to all those people who are dying to share their two pence on those nitty gritties and why I should be living my life there rather than anywhere else on Earth (or maybe the Universe). I also promise that I shall not Google up for such information as that and thereby deprive those well meaning people of the honor, pride and what-not they might derive out of providing it to me themselves.

Till then, spare me the horror of it all. There is enough information over load in my life already.


Yogesh said...

Same pinch!

Deepa said...

Very rightly one point in time I was almost ashamed at not knowing the US geographies being reeled out, but thank God, I recoiled in time. US is not "us" man !!! I don't know Chattisgarh yet, why the trouble with Seattle ? (incidentally both Chattisgarh and Seattle are on my lists to see before I die :-))

Shreya said...

Chhatisgarh? Dantewara? Gondia? ;)
I empathize in a slightly related way. I have always debated with myself whether knowledge of trivia is equivalent to possession of wisdom, that so many people make an obsession of it ;)

Anonymous said...

Next time, if someone says Seattle, you can ask them about Boeing too:D..there you go, my 2 cents :D...

Madhurjya (Banjo) said...

Unbelievable :) Exactly what I feel. Friends feel offended that I don't know where their universities are.

மணிகண்டன் (Manikandan K S) said...

Same here. I get totally lost when people talk of East Coast and West Coast.
@Deepa: I want to visit Chattisgarh too. Dantewada.

Ashes_of_roses said...

I Fully agree..!! pictures of Seattle or Texas or Kansas or wherever on these Social n/w sites calling attention to their living and bombarding it here, there and every where..,Like you said, there is more to it than deprive those well meaning people of the honor, pride and what-not they might derive out of providing it to us themselves..
Very well written!! You spoke my mind !! :)

priya said...

nice post. i was of the impression that i am *the only ignorant* person in the crowd.
looks like there are a whole bunch of ppl who feel exactly the same ..

Kavity said...

Thanks guys.. Did not imagine so many of you must have faced this sometime in life!

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed reading this. About saying 'just Mumbai or Delhi and being right 9 out of 10 times'-very true and funny as well:) Have had similar experiences.