through the eyes of an old man

Pa is a simple person – he minds his business, and likes things his way, mostly. So when he was finally cajoled into traveling to the USA, I was more excited than him. To me, it was seeing a part of the world that I had always wanted to – through his old and experienced eyes. i am posting one of the mails I got from him sometime ago.

—————

My dear son,

There are a few things striking about this country. They make life as easy as possible for themselves. All houses are built with wood or board- very little stone or concrete- so they are able to do it fast, as well as repairs and other maintenance work is made easy. surprising thing is how even heavy items like air-conditioners, fans, chimneys gold firm on these. For example, yesterday the man had to cut pieces of the board making up the kitchen partition to look for the rat. He did it so easily with nice tools, protected himself well with gloves, knee caps, cut the board, attended to the problem, and fixed back the board. Only some plastering and painting has to be done over it and you can hardly make out it has been cut. After seeing this I realized that the wall, the ceiling have all been cut at several paces for various work.

Every aspect of life they try and make comfortable- many things are use and throw, many recycled, one can significantly reduce acquiring personal belongings. They don’t interfere with others, almost to the extent of being disconnected with the rest of the world. In some ways good, but makes one feel lonely. People in Austin seem warmer than bigger cities like New York. I have been wandering in my dhoti always, sometimes inviting a second curious glance.One does see beggars, asking for food or money, sad to see it happening in one of the so called affluent countries!

The other obvious thing is they are the greatest users and wasters of energy, both fossil fuel as well as electricity. So many dazzling lights on all the time, apartment lights are never switched off, every little thing is illuminated very bright and colourful. Millions of cars- hundreds of brands and thousands of models are running all the time. Ninety percent or more are used by single drivers. They don’t seem to be conscious of conservation at all.They will surely exhaust the reserves and suffer and make the rest of the world suffer. More later.

Love, Appa

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13 thoughts on “through the eyes of an old man

  1. that was lovely. I always wonder how my mom would feel if she visited me here in London. Ur Appa's post provides some insight into that. I guess marriage has made u lazy! Pls post more often. Btw this doesnt not count as a post since it is not urs 😉

  2. I had written an email like your pa's when I had visited US ( New York ) for the first time some 10 years ago.. My friends and family loved that description.. :)Unfortunately, I have lost the email now.. 😦 This post reminded me of that email..

  3. Loved the insight of making everything "easy". From hiking shoes to gardening to knitting to almost anything, life is simplified. Certain things I dont remember how it is in India anymore.On a more emotional note, I have lost the concept of neighbors!You guys should visit.

  4. Coming here after a long long time, Dharma! Nice to read your post about your appa!I had visited London and California but liked London and its outskirts better. People smile at you at the parks in London. Somehow, we relate to the Britishers (pazhaiya kaaththu!). In the US everything is huge and like your appa says, feel disconnected.Happy to know that you are settled in life now, congrats!

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