Friday, April 26, 2013

Here's looking at you, America.

Minutes after the Boston bombings, Facebook exploded with prayers, outrage, profanities and shock. The victims weren’t just random Americans. They were innocent people who had lost their lives on a day just as innocent as them. A day of celebration and joy.  

But then something else happened. Resentment surfaced. Not towards the terrorists but towards the media and hundreds of Indians who had shown their sympathy for good ole USA. “What about Yemen and Afghanistan?” “What about the hundreds of children that have died in Pakistan?”  “3 die in Boston…300 die in Iraq by the hands of the Americans! Why don’t we keep them in our prayers?”  These statements made me realize just how desensitized we have become. We believe that death is a natural part of life in these parts. 

It’s not just the Boston bombings. It’s the school shootings in small towns, a brutal murder by a nanny in New York, a horrific shooting in a movie theatre.  We (urban India) all get sucked in and it hurts us far deeper than a story about a 21 year old Indian solider who will never kiss his unborn child. So what is this bond we feel with a country many of us have probably never even travelled to? Well, this is what I believe. The truth is we have grown up with America. It has weaved itself into our very existence from the time we were fat, toothless infants.

Disney made “happily ever afters” possible.  Spiderman and Batman taught us how to kick butt. MC Hammer told us that we can’t touch this and we still tried. Michael Jackson made every Bunty, Babli and Mithu want to moonwalk while Madonna made little girls ask what a Virgin was. Elvis gave Bollywood stars a makeover that included a gigantic head of puff. Hollywood made us imitate the American twang and dye our hair blonde. Barbie showed us perfect boobs. Playboy gave boys their first orgasm. Archie taught us about high school and to “say not to drugs.” Steve Jobs made geeks cool. The list goes on, and on. No matter how uncultured some of us like to call Americans, we have always been drawn to their culture.

I am not confusing political views with popular culture, but I am just pointing out the (bitter?), truth. If we constantly surround our lives with all things American how can we not help but feel a deeper connection to them? Why are we suddenly called biased when all our lives we have been just that. So whether you shake your head from left to right in agreement or disagreement, it's true y'all, Bharaat Mata has always had an unhealthy obsession with Ms. Liberty.

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