Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Great Indian Farewell Party In The USA [June 09 7:56 PM]

With humiliation and a sense of disgust my hands went up the air, palms twisted skywards; head shaking sideways and lips tight.

When a disaster that is out of human control happens,
When nature out powers -- all human efforts to protect their belongings,
When a calamity such as a fire destroys all the hard earned property,
When a flood washes away everything, ...there is nothing one can do to stop it.
You can see people beating their chest and crying.
At least you might have seen their hands going up in the air palms twisted open skywards.
It's the nature of Homo sapiens. Gorilla and monkey included.

Yesterday morning I got an e-mail to my office ID.
It's subject reads: Farewell lunch to our colleague Mr.XYZD in hotel LC.
It was a formal proposal with options: Accept, Decline, Tentative, ProposeNewDate
By it's looks, I thought it might be official and my room mate confirmed it in his style, with supporting words like "Mr.XYZD worked for a very long time for the company, ...". I responded saying "Accepted".
After all, this invitation for me is first of its kind in my two year job career.

The day has come and all "the invited" met at hotel LC for "for farewell party".
The "organizers/initiators" of the event were also present; they reached there a little before we did.

"The invited" + "organizers/initiators" = "colleagues living in Lakewood" = CLiL

A long table is arranged for the esteemed bunch.

Why not? There was an order before hand from the "organizers/initiators".
Lunch has started slowly with appetizers and people ordered what ever they wanted from the menu.
Our project managers (bosses) have not come. And a few guys were also missing.
Lunch finished. It’s time to pay the bill. Waiter asked if he can get the bill.
CLiL started to look into each other's faces. He got confused.

A meek voice came up saying "get individual bills".

Looked like almost everybody except a few are OK with this proposal.
I got shocked "Why is this called a party? why is this called farewell?"

I waited for some one to deny the proposal. Not that I don’t want to pay for my lunch but to avoid the embarrassment.

We’ve ordered for a long table in the name of our client’s company (a big name in the area) as if it was a formal party.

And now, after everybody has ordered and finished hogging, we are asking him to figure out who ate what and produce bills.

I felt it was an insult to the community. But who cares? After all I am latest addition to the community, to say my word.

Many of the CLiL didn't even greet Mr.XYZD during the infamous lunch.

They just enjoyed the food. 

Don't raise any questions about Mr.XYZD, I can't answer.
Every one concentrated mainly on reading the menu and selecting their choice to order; "organizers/initiators" no exception.

Waiter said "It would be very difficult at this stage."
A wise man almost murmured "we should have told this in the beginning itself."
Seconds are passing by. CLiL are looking at each other, giggling, transferring private jokes through ears.
All through this -- the waiter was standing waiting for the final decision to arrive.
”Organizers/initiators” kept mum.

There was a push in me to say, "I will pay the total, you can give me later."
But I am the new one that has joined the community.
There were one or two "like minded people" moving impatiently unhappy about the situation.
These people are living in the community for a very long time.
I remained reserved gulping the agitation, waiting for the above said "like minded people" to react to the situation.

After a few moments of my frustration, among the giggles and private jokes he appeared with a lot of papers in his hand.
”Individual bills” He announced and started distributing them calling each one by name of the dish ordered.
This has drawn attention of a few Americans in the hotel.
He had a special $11.00 bill too: A combined one for the drinks (all soft). I had just plain water.
Every one who ordered drinks escaped from the very sight of it.
Don’t ask me where the "organization/initiation" has gone.

Finally a "like minded" guy responded impatiently.

Said, "I am paying cash for Ramu and me for our drinks also. I don't care for the rest."

And he was about to do it, a voice raised "What about the $11.00 bill? will you share it?"

Matter of just half-a-dollar each but the guy was very particular about it.
There exactly I involuntarily made the gesture as I said in the beginning of this story.

Probably as an attempt to pacify the bad impression caused by the “individual bills” and the “You will have to share $11.00 bill” he gave a lot of tip to the waiter and paid for my plain water also, which is not usually necessary.

I never have lived in this kind of society. May be I was not aware that there are people like this.

At the time of writing this, there is another farewell party going on in CLiL campus, on the name of Mr.XYZD and KMAM (who is returning to India tomorrow).
A few housewives volunteered for preparing food. Some are forced or trapped or pushed to.
I called KMAM to say that I am not willing to join the so called party. But you know what KMAM told me?
"Em party maama? Naaku yemee teleede!. (What party buddy? I have no clue!)"
Farewell party without involving or informing the very living organism the center point of the party!!!
But, yes, the "party" is going on.

All CLiL are the so called "Professional software engineers" representing the great mother India in the USA.

Being a part of this community I literally hated myself, felt like burning my body to get purified.

Why has my best friend joined the party? He told me why. …just before convincing himself to join the group.
He is obliged to. He “had to be helped" by the CLiL in his initial days in Lakewood. So that's it.
He was not as lucky as I am. He had to depend. Now am in the protected shield of his plights.
It's the response from him in case if there is a “show-cause” notice from you. I got this hint a bit indirectly.
But I have to know why the "like minded" well-wisher insisted me too to join the party.

Probably he might have felt I was over reacting. May be he is right.


1 comment:

Vissu said...

this is very common in USA especially for Indian companies projects being executed in US. I was also part of such community once and I hated to the core. but you can not avoid it.