Monday, January 17, 2011

The Immigrant Experience!

As an immigrant living abroad, sometimes your first exposure to the foreign culture is through your children. For instance, only when I started shopping for my son’s Halloween costume, did I realize how Americans go all out when it comes to spooking it up!! Similarly, I never knew Valentine’s day meant much more than romantic love until I came to the US. In Abhay’s school, friends give out V-day cards to each other, you wish your teachers and parents on Valentine’s day… would be a good idea to the get the Hindu cultural police in India to see this !! :-)

So today, wrapping up my week-long Indian/Asian authors special, I read “Big Red Lolliop” by Rukshana Khan and illustrated by Sophie Blackhall. A delightful tale of sibling trouble in a foreign land with a clueless mother! Rubina gets invited to a birthday party of her friend. Not aware of what a birthday bash is,her mother insists she take her younger sister along, in spite of Rubina’s protests. Left with no choice, Rubina ends up with her younger sister Sana at the party only to be embarrassed by her immature ways. The only time Rubina enjoys the party is when each girl gets a big red lollipop at the end that she stores in the refrigerator and goes to bed dreaming about relishing it the next day. Reality strikes in the morning as she discovers her big round lollipop eaten into a tiny triangle. She knows who is the culprit and is all set to get back at her little sister who hides behind mom! We can all guess who’s expected to give in! Days later when Sana gets her own birthday party invite, Rubina is in a dilemma – will it be sweet revenge for her or will she play the magnanimous big sister. Being the elder one is sure hard!

In a foreign country, there is a lot to learn from kids both in terms of the new culture and how quickly they orient themselves to an alien environment. It’s because of Abhay that I went to the local library and discovered the world of picture books and that rekindled my interest in writing!! Though you may have no idea at the moment…..thank you Abhay!!


  1. I/We too want to thank Abhay. But for him we would not have known many things you have been writing in your blog and more importantly your writing skills and the fact that you are good at it. I remember you had in mind Journalism as a carrer option before you took up Law as one.
    Considering that you express and articulate your thoughts so well and vividly, it can very well complement your writing skills with oratory.
    Keep it up!

  2. Thank you appa for those encouraging words!

  3. Div, on a serious note, you must write about the Valentine's day culture in the US - for an Indian audience. I think the Deccan Herald or the Hindu supplements will be more than happy to carry it. You'll agree with me, a lot of things cultural we believe to signify a certain sterotype, actually has a history that can surprise us. This post of yours that mentions the Valentine's Day practice is one such for me.

  4. Very true Sahana! I should say V-day has a tarnished image n India.