Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Desi-American lifestyle!

A note of caution: This blogpost is not to make fun of any community in particular. I am only listing the steretypes. And this is purely for fun.

It has been almost 4 years since I arrived to the US and have been married for 2 of those 4 years. When I arrived, I was saw that there was a very typical Desi-American way of life. By that I mean:
1. Living the so-called American Dream - more credit than you can afford
2. Buying a house(a HUGE one at that, like most desis do) that you cannot afford
3. A desi car(Honda/Toyota)
4. Working your butt off during weekdays, and desi-family parties on weekends
5. Eating too much, leading to an unhealthy paunch. No activity, no exercise
6. Clothes, home smelling of sambar
7. sending kids to kumon/giddeon classes, kids do well in math
8. no vacations, save money to buy stuff(a huge tv, gold, house in India etc)
9. Only desi friends, invite each other home for lunch/dinner where you only talk about shares/sticks, status of green card, kids and work
10. Going to temples every weekend(or every other weekend)
11. Inlaws/parents visiting every other year. Take them to the usual places(Niagara falls, Statue of liberty).
I can go on and on!

When I saw that most desis fell into this group, I decided I shall try to do atleast some things differently. Let me now tally my status after 4 years:
1. We do not indulge in #1
2. No to #2 as well
3. Haha, here we stuck to the stereotype, a Toyota AND a Honda
4. huh......stereotypical here too
5. We try not to do this. We workout whenever we find the time, but the paunch has a mind of its own!
6. Our clothes smell of some weird combination of marathi and south indian food!
7. We fall behind in this department
8. We do take vacations whenever we can. It is very relaxing and necessary!
9. We have a few non-desi friends too! The Indian friends we invite never talk about GC processing, kids or stocks/money. We have conversations of varied topics, politics, India, books etc.
10. No on this!
11. Here is where we again stuck to stereotype. When my inlaws were here, we went to the usual places, in addition to Vegas, Grand Canyon etc!

I must have missed out on a lot more things desis do. Again, this was not to ridicule or anything, just for fun!


  1. #1 is out of the question.
    #2..I guess with 4 kids, a big house (at least for me) is justified. But then because of #1, we'll never be able to afford one. Until at least, I start working(i think)
    #3We have a Odyssey. :)
    #4Not so much here

    #5Nope, I work out too much for that to happen. And NK is too conscious.

    #6, Mine smells a mixture of Chinese soy sauce, and curry.. rofl

    #7 I have never done this. Firstly, because I have genious and secondly because I am too poor. See #1.

    #8.So in the past 3.5 years, we have gone to WA,Disney,the mountains,Co Springs, Vegas.

    #9..Already blogged about friends.

    #10 Nope, Temple in CO was 35 miles away. We went once every 4-5 months.

    #11.In laws havent visited, My mum did when I had Samar but I didnt bring her anywhere. Horrible me.

    Nice post :)

  2. asaaan - glad u didnt hate the post. I was half expecting desis to hate me after this. I was thinking about all these things last night while reading an article about desis in the US. I feel like we should get out of our desi-only friend bubble and get some outside air!

  3. Here's the thing, the stereo type is not taking parents to places, but getting parents here when one has a baby so that there is help.

    The stereo type is not buying a house one cannot afford, but buying a huge house and not doing anything with it, not decorating , not spending in upkeep.

    I don't think Indians are the credit mongers, they like to save.

    Working butt off in weekdays is not a desi stereo type, it's the way of life for everyone desi or not.

    The other points are very desi typical traits. :D
    Good job writing this up!!!

  4. Megha, agreed! Actually the working thing was 2 fold, working on weekdays and meeting the same Indians during weekends(I haven't written it well). And yes I forgot about the 'getting parents here when u are having a baby' thing.

  5. Dude

    I agree and disagree with the blog...the reasons are...stereotypes are not always that bad you know. There are things I wish I did not do but then there are also things that I would not want to change. After all I am a Desi, no one can take that out of me...

    like what they say, you can take a desi out of India but not the Indian out of a Desi...

    So here is what I think

    -I honestly think that most desi's I know at least are very calculated and most of them are do not fall under #1 or #2

    #3 Indians go for reliability. If a desi is buying anything then it is not going to be junk most of the time...that goes with our choosing Honda/Totyota/BMW over other cars. Yes we have a Camry that we just bought...before that we were strictly American cars only.

    #4 I love celebrating all desi festivals with my desi friends...and you know how many of them we have...so most weekends we are off with desi friends...but sometimes we also do desi-football/basketball MADNESS on weekdays and weekends...

    #5 It is not just desi's now...this is applicable to most Americans.

    #6 I hate that. I cannot get rid of the smell no matter what I do!

    #7 My daughter is still too small for all this...but I am not sure we will put any pressure on her.

    #8 yes yes yes. That pretty much characterizes mine and my husbands philosophy. Though we are yet to buy that big house.

    #9 And I have 95% Indian friends and I do not think an American or Australian or where ever I am will ever be able to relate to things I do. For that matter we have an ABCD friend and she does not get half the thing we talk about, you know...and most of the time is lost explaining a joke that is already dead...

    #10 Not us...we go to temple but that is not a ritual.

    #11 On a case to case basis. I am little different on this because my family lives here and I have personally only gone with them to Niagara but otherwise my dad and mom do their own trips. My husband's parents came here to help us out after baby and also now again and we so suck that we never took them out anywhere :(

    But a good listing and like I said everyone has different lifestyles...but then WE ARE ALL DESI's...living in a different country is not going to change us. And I personally think that there is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of...at least I am not and I am loving being the stereotype...

    There is one stereotype you left out

    #12 Desi's work hard and their bosses like it...

    This one definitely works to our advantage.

    Peace Out :)

  6. Anu - yes stereotypes are not that bad and we do need an 'apna' feeling in this country. But what gets my goat most times is how we mostly end up with desis, and not make friends from other communities, unless we are in school! It only makes us well-rounded beings if we go out of our bubble a little. I see people at office parties, forming their own small indian group.
    Also, about pressurizing the kids, I totally feel its an Indian thing. High expectations and the like!

  7. You forgot the "arranged marriage" the got married on a three week vacation to India. Also the reverting to "traditional" roles at home when the men do NOTHING

  8. Hey @lankr1ta, yeah I did indeed forget!


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