Monday, July 6, 2009

Fourth of July

I went to visit my mamaji over the weekend, and we went to a Fourth of July picnic with some friends of his. The guest list comprised of people with varying ethnicity and professional background. This was in a neighbourhood where they had about two dozen lots, with houses built on only about half of them. The wide open spaces always make me feel good. It's also nice to see all the kids playing in the yard. There are some random things I observed about life and people.

Contrary to what a lot of people in places like India seem to think, people here are pretty family oriented and worry about where their kids go to college and how they would pay their way through. It's just that they try to make them more independent and more aware of the value of money earlier in life. That is actually a good thing. These people also nag their kids to get haircuts and thank their stars that their kids are not graduating from college this year, given the state of the economy. There was one girl who did graduate this year and could not find a full time job. She went back to live with her parents, and they had no issues with that.

Fireworks displays are a big hit with these people, but it's not like Diwali in India where everyone sets off loads of them in their houses. They only have firework displays in various places, and the crackers are set off only by people who are trained and know exactly what they are doing, not by every kid in the neighbourhood who may or may not be aware of the hazards. And they only use rockets and such things which spread out sparkling lights into the air. Explosives are illegal, and there is a time limit for the crackers and the time limit is respected by people. That way you have fun without doing too much damage to the environment or causing trouble to asthma patients. And it doesn't fill the house with smog and litter the roads with the wrapping on the crackers. One of my uncle's dogs is afraid of loud noises and she hides in the basement whenever there is thunder and on this holiday. I don't know what the poor thing would do for a whole month around Diwali if she was in Delhi!

It's a different world here, and yet so similar in some ways.

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