Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Reading NRI blogs, being one and living amongst NRIs has made me realize that many, if not all, NRIs go about their life as if it were some kind of a movie running for the benefit of parents & relatives back in India. They extensively communicate small little 'behind the scenes' details, pause for applause, and complain when attention or applause is not forth coming. These trivial details in-turn are relayed by parents to several other 2nd tier relatives, who listen to this type of talk only because their are waiting for their turn to talk about their NRI children.

Reminds one of the plight of parents living in Chettinaad and Nellai districts, whose children had migrated to Bombay or Madras. A group of relatives will surround the postman (or school vadhiyar as the case may be), who reads out from an inland letter, minor little details involving trips to Gateway of India. This system was more efficient because the postman read out all such letters to a common audience and so the second-level relay of communications was rendered unnecessary.

For the NRI, the passing away of the audience to their movie, is sorely missed, if it occurs well before the "transition time". Then the NRI is rudely awoken from a dream sequence. Transition time is when children get bored of playing out this elaborate movie for their parents and instead turn around to start watching the movie of their kid's life.

This is where a joint family system is valuable. The pain of having to communicate every minor little detail to parents is unnecessary. There is no need for the NRI to pretend to folks back home that he is a "modern man" who (a) helps around the house and (b) is demonstrative about his love for children and wife. One can move on unmindful of these silly botherations and can cease to be this 'live show' for people in far away lands.

One can just live life.


Pradeep said...

Cannot relate with this nor am able to understand this! Obviously a non NRI. But nice post!

Anonymous said...

As an NRI I confess that this is soooo true.

An unexpected and sudden insightful post out of nowhere from you. This just stands out like a gem from among your other recent posts :-)

Sreekrishnan said...

puriyave illa !

Valli Doll said...


blackaccord said...

appo joint family life thaan lifennu solla vareengala? unfortunately it doesn't work out for everyone..

Anonymous said...

Dude, you are not just NRI. You are a tamil NRI. That is why everything seems like a movie. Previously I told you there is no real Tamil Nadu state, Tamil Nadu is just a large film set with extras nursing stardom fantasy. Well, some of those extras get H1B and move to Seattle and continue to nurse the fantasy, that's all.

Pradeep said...

@ above anon: Random comment

Anonymous said...

@ Anon 2

And you are a golte or a northie and you are one of those extras to boot too?


Alan Smithee said...

Glenn Beck says there is no flushing toilet in India. As someone higher up in the NRI-blogger food chain, you should have something to say about it and put it in perspective. Else patrix will write about it and conclude that Bush is bad and get wet dreams about Obama.

Hawkeye said...






sometimes i feel the same way too.

valli doll,



No. everything has its thondharavu. but at least we can get rid of this one.


Maybe tamils are different from rest of India. but one commonality they share other indians: they too think this post does not apply to them.


who is glen beck? there is a controversy about toilet?

AnotherNRI said...

The second commenter stole the words out of my mouth... Exactly what I wanted to say!
Good post!
And, another thing I liked was your response to Alan Smithee!!!

Karthik Narayanan said...

Heh! I dont think the audience is in anyway diminished...

Do you know the demand that still exists (especially in brahmin households) for a foreign maapilai?

Parents putting out their life savings just to play the POSTMAN's role

Anonymous said...

Glenn beck is another one of those stupid commentators on the conservative fox news channel. His exact comment was something like "countries with stupid names like India,....etc that do not have a western toilet". Fellows like that should be made to spent mandatory time outside his country.

Anyways, good post hawk!

I said...

Life is a movie, all men and women are character artists and extras.

Astonishing mother with photos of first rasam one makes and the small swami-shelf had fizz sometime ago. Hopefully Obama by his policies will convince young Indian undergrads hailing from 1/2-ground engineering colleges to stay in India. Then, the chocolates from Wal-Mart and 1 dollar store will be in vogue again.