Apr 28, 2007

The Cult of the IBCDs...

I am alwayz one to honour those who inspire my writings. This time,though, it's a personal request from a very special person- my very dearest Priya Didz. I am pretty over whelmed that she wanted me to write on this and clear a lot of misconceptions in the Indian mind. Given this challenge, I've decided to take my time in writing it because I want it to come out right. Don't want to disappoint. This may be a bit long. I'm not sure. Pardon me if it is! So, here goes....

Scene 1: "Ayyy, Beee, Ceee, Deee, Eee, F, Geee, Eych, Aiii, Jeyyy, Keiii.....Dubba-u,X, Y,Zeeeeee" - Perplexed? Sound weird like seagulls squawking? These were the sounds that wafted down and into our ears as me and Ruby walked into the tiny space we called 'office'. Between uncontrollable bouts of laughter, we realized that those utterances were actually 'vocal lessons' at the call center overhead! A classroom of different mother-tongued Indians were being tongue-washed,i.e, they were being taught the U.S.An way of speaking- rolled tongue, no- stress wording peppered with an easy-going and chirpy tone to enter into the make-believe world of Business Process Outsourcing, popularly known as B.P.O. They had a reason to be there. It was their JOB, their source of income, which required them to learn to talk 'right' if they have to be understood by their customers. Understable?Well, atleast compared to Scene2.

Scene 2: Vin: "Dai Arjun, Machan, Variya poi Chennai 600028 pakalam?" [Translation: Dude, Wanna go watch the latest tamil flick, Chennai 600028?]
Arjun: " Hey no man! No Tamil movies for me! Let's watch some English movie. That's where allllllll the action is, if u know what I mean! ;) "

Scene 3: Dad: " So, did you send in your applications? Try aiming for Harvard or Princeton or the likes. Atleast then you can into some good enough university."
Shaan: " Uh..yea Dad...I'm doing just that!" [Thinks: Man!I just wanna get away from home. Who cares which university I get into. It's all about the freedom and the gori babes!Sigh!]

Scene 4: Nita: "EEEEWWW!! Check out his shoes? Are they,like, cheesy or what?"
Tina: "Hehe, yea, Bata I think ;) hehehehe"
Nita: "Forget him, look!It's Shaan. He's the coolest dude EVER, GAP jeans and all!"
Tina: "Yeaaaaa!!!WOW! I could,like, look at him all day,y'know!"

Time out!Let me use this opportunity to introduce the protagonists of this blog, the new cult of IBCDs. The cool, sassy, West-aping breed of Indian Born Confused Desi's. Nope, you don't have to read the tag again. I didn't mis-word it. I do mean IBCD and not the ABCDs (I'm sure you all know the expansion of this one whether or not you know what NATO stands for!). The hype about them is now history. Come on, they have a right to be confused. Their brown skins can be counted by the fingers amongst a mob of black and white (And yellow and red and pink...No racism implied). They are born Americans but are made to follow 'values' set by their traditionally moralled, Hard-Rock t-shirt wearing, Carnatic music listening and oooh yea, beer- guzzling parents. Time and again they are reminded of their Indian roots and that they must behave accordingly. For those poorlings who haven't set their eyes on the Indian scenario yet, for whom Indian-ness starts & ends with their name, all this pressure can be difficult to handle and it is O.K for them to be bogged down. On the other hand, we have the bludgeoning cult I talk about....

After the plague, the most widespread epidemic to have hit India would have to be Globalization & Liberalization. Along with improving trade, commerce and relations with the West, it also brought with it Western ideologies and more of an exposure to their ways of life. The scenarios viewed in movies, sit-coms etched themselves deeper into the Gen-X of India and they realized that they have been un-cool all along. I mean,now, Nike is in and Bata is out. Who knows what a Dosa means, unless ofcourse your talkin about 'rice pancakes'. Yea, I may be exaggerating a bit, but it does emphasize the matter at hand, doesn't it? Nothing could be more embarassing than speaking in one's mother tongue. Hence, the rise in RJs who talk with such a put-on Tamil accent, it takes a moment to comprehend their babble!

I personally know more than a handful of kids, I'm talking in their early teens, who are already stalwarts in the dating scene. Being without a 'short-term better half' is unthinkable for them. We now have a bunch of pre-mature, know-it-all 'teeny boppers' mobbin everyplace in pairs! For this section,who have grown up listening to their mother's thalaattu, strains of Suprabhatham floating in from somewhere in the neighbourhood and the only 'colour variation' known would be different shades of brown, confusion, in any form other than academic, should be non-existant.

It is not that I am against Westernization. I'm glad India is moving away from the image of being the 'Land of Snake Charmers' to being in the running for the next biggest Super power. I'm glad Education is now valued more than ever before and elegance is slowly replacing uncouth. It is what Indians think is Western that is bothering. I somewhere feel we Indians aren't getting the picture right. The USA is viewed as a place where culture is unheard of, morals and values are gibberish, sex is in the open, illegal is legal and yet it is the place to be.Because in India, everything cool is taboo, everything is viewed with utmost critical skepticism and it is all so over-whelming at times that they yearn to be free from it all

What they do not see, however, is the America of the Americans, of those innumerable hordes of people who flocked to the "Land of Opportunities" and made it their home. This is the nation where people are so proud to be American, no matter what their origin. ABCDs, BBCEs or whatever acronym formed by permuation & combination of the letters in the English alphabet, salute the blue and red flag unanimously because it gave them the freedom to be who they are now.In India, if you've got a dream, can it. Parental & social acceptance is above all. You can forget being an art major or a history buff, especially if 'professional studies' is the only choice you have to make your career. And for those who do dream big, make it big- ABROAD. I'm not trying to drive home the 'patriotic theme'. All I'm saying is that it is unnerving to see flocks of youngsters filtering out the Western essence to suit themselves and using it as an excuse to change themselves.

As I end, I just want to say: America does have Culture- one that is Liberalistic, it does have Morals- that are Individualistic and it does have Values- Pragmatic values. THAT- is True Blue America, baby!

Now, aren't we all a part of The Cult of the IBCDs???? I mean, Indian Born CLEAR Desis!! ;)

P.S: Didz, Is it all right? I hope it is!



a good take take on the ibcd'z, either confused or clear..
whether itz abcd,ibcd,bbcd,ccd(café coffee day), today itz all about the cd:read seedi.. as in the ladder- everyone wants 2 be one up, have tat elusive independence- and their claim 2 tat kinda freedom is stamped on any random, friggyn reason- conservative parental/societal clasp, or the apparently verminous 'western' influence, or the life changin seance at harvard/oxford...

The whole reason solely lies in none of the above-stated, cos as u've pointed out, its an inner necessity 2 be truly free: culture or cultureless..

n ryte now, i'd love to b free: 2 do wat i truly wanna do, pursue creative writyn/journalism, marry the man i wanna, n more importantly, wen i wanna, get pie eyed n sloshed wen i wanna, party wen i wanna, work wen i wanna, take off on a sexy sojourn 2 a grt place wen i wanna- N I CANt DO ALL TAT.. PARENTAL/SOCIETAL PRESSURE TALKIN/shittyn IN MY FACE, all the tyme..

SOOOO ther I'm stuk.. u can see the downsyde of the indian scenario..
SOOOO u ryte babeee.. true blue America has culture, it may be the true blue-film-skewed types, but it gives us friggyn freedom on the flipsyde...

mayeb we can optimise sumwere, get on the median btw american n indian livin.. n maybe tat wud be a grt way to live..

live in btw confused n clear..
ibcd: indian born careFREE life..

Winds of Change said...

whoa!! true true....n as i always say...kidz these dayz!!!!!! i saw this kid (about 3 ft in ht) today in a store who came n said that she lost her mum while they wer shopping. i jus blinked twice, as i saw the kid wearin a pink halter neck top, blue jeanz capris....a wallet in hand (and dats matching to the dress shez wearing - pink n blue..), addidas floaters etc. ...it wudve been more appropriate if her mum instead, had complained dat her daughter had lost HER!!! man!!! the attitude dat they carry wit them.....i wuz jus speechless!!

jagannathch said...

nice one again preets...

now to go thru what u wrote...pretty long...but good nevertheless...

going thru it case by case (ya right!...as if its a business proposal!..who am i kidding!!) ;)

case 1:
BPO's..are now fast becoming the avenue for young indians who turn in for quick cash...there was this interesting documentary (by thomas friedman) which i came across..(perhaps all of u have..) .It brings up many points for and against...


As far as i see it...globalization is making the rich richer and the poor are in their own state...mind you, i am not personally against BPO-ism...but at the end of the day, i dont see any scope in it for career development..like, u learn to speak english like the firangs..( yeah!!..so??)

Case 2:
Whenever people talk of movies...there is always scope of a comparison striking up...either...its comparing hollywood and bollywood, or tollywood or kollywood..etc etc...this arises totally bcos of the exposure people come up with looking at different language movies...and I have seen about a 100 friends at the least...who say that indian movies suck...just because it does have the special effects or realism that is catered by hollywood...

and in a line to them..."that sucks!"..i would like to debate with the fact, that all movie industries have carved a niche in this world...and cater to different sets of people with different interests..hence, comparison is bull-shit! besides, i dont think hollywood could ever match up to tamil comedy (read: vivek)...(food for comparison...howaazzat!)

Case 3:

OK..i am partially to be blamed for this scenario...I am in a good school...as my dad wanted it!...but in my defense...come on!..i did study well for it! .. ;) (OK, maybe money counts here as well!) but ya, personally, I have seen about a dozen people till date here in the US...who have just come to the US...for the sake of it!..come on guys!..wake up!..dad is spending a hell lot of money on u!...become his prized investment...

Case 4:
hmmm...this is a good point...people are crazy behind " dress labels" these days...i wonder if in the future..people will look down upon those who doesnt wear a levi's or a Nike..clothes are just to cover...lets not make it a basis for judgement on people! OK..maybe i am thinking way too far ahead..but globalization can give rise to this thinking!

OK..to recap..On the whole, lots of reasons create this...one being...parents..sending kids off to study and live in the US...and then cry out loud that their children do not follow traditions!...second being that...Gen-X is trying to break through the stranglehold...which many indian parents have in mind...that is, If you study nicely and top your class, then ONLY will u do well in life!...and now that is something i find unacceptable and something, which western culture addresses very nicely!....

When issues like these are addressed....India will be full of Indian Born Clear Desis...for sure!...

Long article..long comment...salutations!

Pria said...

“ In India, if you've got a dream, can it”.

My Choti, this was an extremely captivating BLOG…I did not want it to end, I wanted it to continue…why did you stop..
Iam going to extract sentences from this and quote , Iam serious!!!.

It’s like a breath of fresh air to read such articles, one of the main reasons I asked (begged ) YOU to write an article on this topic was because of the strong foundation of values that you have and an even more mature mind to understand and objectively evaluate, topics such as this.
The thing I enjoy the most and miss the most is to sit down and listen to you analyse people or a situation.
I admire the choices you have made Preeto…I respect the path you are taking, and above all …I wish most of us have half as much wisdom as you do!!! No no Iam not kidding…u know what iam talking about..

You need to seriously start thinking about writing a book or at least continue writing along the same lines..

Thank you for writing this and this is just the beginning of my long list of requests.

beetlejuice said...

heya all...

im soooo overwhelmed by all the response!!!im seriously, seriously chokin up here...not kiddin...

without u guyz readin, me cant do no writin! so plz do tat...

thnx a ton for ur support...luv ya tonz!

soundz like an after-award-winning speech or somethin...but kinda feels tat way :)

The Techno Maniac said...

Good Work Preeti.. My Comments is getting ready. This is just to bring to your notice that i have read your blog. Give me some time.

Prathi:-) said...

hey babes.. superb writing... real gud flow... and abt IBCD???? well smwhr i hav a feeling with the tweens nowdays... evry1 has lost control... and i dnt quite think its going to stop nywhr now....
nwz... gr8 read...
cheers baby

The Techno Maniac said...


I finally got a lot of time to ponder on what you said to write comments. Firstly, I d really like the way you have put the entire blog. Easy. I read the blog in three installments and then once fully. Now, On to my observations. And I hope you remember that you have given me your permission to write how much ever I want. So i took the freedom to write watever
i wanted to.

Scene 1 - pefect. Thats their job, and you have to sound like a bit of american to talk to those ppl.Thats something if you have to survive if you re working for them. Trust me its not easy.. I had a tough time at Allsec..

Scene 2 - Poor guy, he does not know about our Rajnikanth who killed three thugs with one bullet and blade (Moondru Muham), jumped two hills on a horse carriage (Muthu), Lighting cigars by throwing the unlighted cigar in the air and getting a gun from no where shoots the cigar, and catches the cigar in the mouth (which wud have been ignited by the bullet), and our hero, and our beloved TR and his famous script writin dialogues which wud have won the bookers, oscars and grammy award, if only they understood what he says and not to forget our Puraizchi Kalaignar Captain
Vijaykanth and his wonderful way of killing all the villans and their gang single handedly. I m sure, hollywood cant match that. Right?? hehe.. Do show these movies to that guy. I m sure he will join their fan club and do Abhishekam for their photos for their next film.

Scene 3- Thats the problem faced with an Indian Father and a son born in America's culture.. Conflict of intrest.

Scene 4- I am not going to comment on that. I really believe that a person is to be judged by his character and not his attire.
Ofcourse, you wud have to brand yourself for the society, or rather I do it that way, to be respected in the society. Not many ppl appreciate you if you re not in branded attire. Trust me, I have been thru those situations and have emerged out by changing
myself. Thats a part of my social life. I hope you know that. And Bata, by all means is less, They have the best quality of productions. With the onslaught of the brands in thier own showrooms.. Poor Bata..

I agree that those IBCD people tend to be confused, being brought up in America, where freedom is spelt as FREEDOM, tho being told
about Indian culture and all, it is not fathomable to them. One thing many (not all)parents do to their kids in their cousin's sister's aunt's daughter's husband's sister's wedding (come on, dont we attend that sort of weddings??) is that they compare their kids to the relatives present if their kids unfortunately dresses in the way he/she likes, they compare them to the other kid dressed by his parents. These parents say, something like "look at this kid, se how he/she is dressed and the way she respects elders? You must learn from her/him" We see so much
of the likes that we tend "follow their footsteps" atleast in weddings which slowly becomes a part of us and in course of time
we repeat it to our own children.

The Globalization & Liberalization has not yet hit Chennai that much, I m sure, but you being IBBBCANCD (Indian Born, Bahrain Bought up,
Complicated and Non Confused Desi) must have been thru this as I still remember the way you used to pride yourself of eating Bahrain
Ice creams and commenting that not even Freez zone and Baskin match them.. Remember(you Show off little prat.. Did I just say little?? Sorry, it is Gigantic huge prat ..Dont you dare deny it.. hehe.. Just kidding.. Dont get tensed!!)

I know.. Kids overseas are such a Know it all.. The Best thing is that they know everything about relationships from the begining to the end to the most intimate matters and how to handle them effectively. Man, Some of us at
this age do not know how to handle
relationships..Stalwarts like you are always exceptions [:D]

Who the earth stated that India is land of snake charmers?? Tell them to watch namaste London, I m sure Akshay Kumar can correct their belief with the help of Katrina kaif (My god, doesnt she look ravishing in that movie??Hope they dont get carried away by her, while she translates about India)

Yes, India has interpreted westernization incorrectly.. Westernization, simply means
that you stick to your business and not gawking at other's way of life. I m sure that will help. Also to understand the concept of Service in their respected jobs.

The main problem in India is that the money from the biggest industries are locked. People who lock money in their vaults are
not able to unsderstand that only if they invest money in the country, the nation can develop. Arent the Tata's, the Birla's, the
Ambani's spending?? They get more on what they invest, while they take more, they also make sure their country gets more. If only
our people with money think like that, India will never have to wait for "2020". In America, all the rich guys invest all their
money, thats where we get GAP or Deloitte or Microsoft or BCG or McKinsey or PWC or Subway or KFC or Wal-Mart etc..

Its not enough in India, only if these three people (i.e., Birla, tata and Ambani) have visions. Today, we send photos and ppts and
forwards on their way of life. But have we ever considered their visions? Every Birla,or tata or Ambani have a vision to continue.. to add some thing new to the
business.. Should we not develop such attitude?? This will develop only if every Indian has that vision. I know I sound very
exaggerated.. trust me.. thats the only way where we can go on to the top, taking people with you. Not sitting for fat salary paid by
MNC's (Now I know you re thinkin what the bloddy hell are you doin in Deloitte?? I told you mam, that a single man cant change the scenario. I d be destroyed. So I have to follow suit. Eventually, if i get my hands on good money, I m sure I l start on my own)

Land of Opportunities... Who, my dear sweetie created that for them? They.. Not a chance.. Why dont you research and find out about the land of opportunity. My dear woman, you d be shocked to find that WE, the Indians and the
Asians have created that. When we are in America, we will not even entertain the thought of throwing a paper on the ground, but once we come back.. We go back to our
famous "Indian ness". We cant be blamed. The people aound us will look at us as if we are a pack of fools.. And they will send a detailed report to Sun TV News also. As I end too here.. America, does not have a culture on their own, its a combnation of many cultures and a mix of the human requirement of human needs at every stage that has made them as a super power. The only way to develop is to cater to human needs. (Again I dont mean emotions and feelings.. I am talking from the business perspective). Where in our land, as you stated earlier, Parents and Societial
View is the main drive of culture as it has been passed on from generations to generations like a family heirloom..

Hope you regret permitting me to write such a long comment.. Overall, I m really surprised to see that the way you have been writing is improving and you managed to catch the audience attention. Thats what is important for a writer. You re going to be a great writer one day.. Keep writing..

Techno Maniac

PS - There are exceptions to the categories I stated above. I have not related any event to any person or society or individuals described here. Any resemblance is purely coincidental..

beetlejuice said...

hey satti..

juz a few comments to clarify to ur comments...

1. I am born in Bahrain...not india...so the acrnym for me wud start wit a B n not an I.

2. When i talked of Land of Opportunities, i dint in any way talk of 'who' created the land of opportunities. I wasnt in any way tryin to say tat America is beter than India...i luv india, i luv chennai...which is y im here baby...

infact, the asians n indians who made america wat it is nw as u say went thr cuz they had the 'oportunity' to! :)

3. When i talk of baskin robbins bein better in bahrain...it IS! im juz comparin the 2...i dint mean the icecream isnt gud CUZ itz here, u knw! besides, the only reson i compare is cuz iv had a taste (literally) of the other side...n so i think i can do it!n tat doesnt make me a brat! :)

thr...hope iv made u a 'clearer' IBCD nw!


The Techno Maniac said...

Hey Peeti,

Jus a little more comments on your few comments to my comments... :D

1. I did not know you re born in Bahrain. However your current orkut photo makes me believe.. So Point 1 taken.. SO it will be BBCNCD (I m sure you can decode it by now)

2. It is not about "who" created the opportunities. I m just glad to tell that India created it. I however dont feel like Akshay Kumar in Namaste London, who orates about India in the movie.. By the way your orkut photo shows that you re trying to match Katrina Kaif..hehe.. I know that you love India. By the way, these people went lookin for a future else where since they did not get it here.. Had they got what they want, I m sure they would not have left.

3. EVery body who go over seas compares da. Right from the begining to the end. I just quoted that and that comparing is what makes you a "prat" not "brat". Baskins is doin its best. So is milky way.. They will definitely go much beyond..

thr.. hope I ve made you a 'clearer' comment nw!!


If you dont like the comment, I you may delete them, else should I do so??

Karthik Balasubramanian said...

Well.. Its a debatable issue.. but its kinda making sense nowadays.. about a couple of years back, When my sister of 15 came to me to ask me what she shud do when a 12th standard student asked her out, i was at a loss for words..

Do i accept that at 20, I dint have a friggin girl and am clueless about the topic or be the good brother and say reject him u will find better men at better times in ur life??

Well, for obvious reasons, I did the latter, but talks with my sister nowadays reveal that the situation is deteriorating. My little sister who learnt the word idiot from me when she was 4 is now talking abt her "guy" who is in another city..

Well, I dint know what to do, but just let go of her.. stop being the protective brother and let her make her mistakes(i hope its not) and learn.

beetlejuice said...

hey karthik,

thnx for ur commentz...ur prob the first person i dunno to actually comment on me blog n im happy for tat!hehe...

n also, thnx for sharin in ur personal xperience...kidz these dayz r really a million times more in tune wit reality than we wr a few yrz bak...

i cant imagine hw it wudv been to hv ur younger sis, who to u is still growin up, askin tat!but itz nice to c u let her b...better tat way...

newayz, welcome aboard "Here I Am'..do keep readin!

*~ Mayth!!~* said...

Was just doing some extraneous reading.

Fantastic blog this one. Almost didn't read it.