Sunday, August 31, 2008

Dems in India, Bangalore gathering for Obama speech

Saturday night saw our first post 6 .m. outing -- to a meet-up of the Democrats Abroad in India, Bangalore group. I didn't need to see the Obama acceptance speech again as I had seen in live on BBC on Friday morning our time here, but I thought it would be fun to meet some Americans and see downtown at night. We were the token Easterners, almost everyone was from high tech firms from California, but we were in a big group of mixed couples -- one Indian (or Indian descent) and one of more European descent. Amartya was happy to have some little boys to play with, as well as an opportunity to eat well cooked meat and fish. There were about 35 people there or so, I guess

Here are some of the pix of the event:

Seeing, and being part, of a group of Americans abroad is something I'm often ambivalent about, but I have to say that it felt quite comfortable. To get at one of Giorgio's comments on an earlier post, I certainly feel very American, and I think that even Sub does. In Bangalore that's not such a strange thing, as there is a very large expat community playing a large role in the dynamism of the place. I think it might be different in Chennai, where the traditional family roles and expectations -- at least in the little Tam Bram (Tamil Brahmin) community -- would feel more limiting. Here though, I'm feeling very American in many ways -- the way I try to approach solving problems, not being content for shoddy service and products that seems to be a way of life here, saying hello and thank you to all the people working around us -- yet I also feel like I'm respecting some Indian traditions (clothes, at least) that are rapidly changing all around us. In terms of how living here is different than visiting, I'm in less of a rush to see things and people, and buy "Indian" things for gifts, and moving more on s-l-o-w Indian time (and this in Bangalore that is supposedly more efficient!) and not worrying (or trying not to worry) about it. I'm also trying to think of purchases and prices in rupees and not always in dollars, but that is harder. I will reflect more on these issues over the course of the next few months I'm sure.

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