Thursday, October 28, 2004

Cognitive Dissonance

Recently I had a very interesting conversation with an American of Indian origin. Having brought up in two different cultures; he seemed to have assimilated the best of the both. However, for some reason his attitude towards the "desis" was very hostile. He feels that most of us are not straightforward. We are very alluding and try to live in a world of layers wherein the other person needs to peel of each layer to know them well. Is it so? His comments forced me to think.
After coming to the US, my life has changed. Within a span of a year, I have learnt a lot about life. Coming from a sheltered home made the transition difficult. I learnt to live all by myself, learnt to deal with some sensitive issues (maybe I'm still learning) and have learnt to be more organized. I am quite impressed by the socializing skills of the Americans. I find them very straightforward and professional. Moreover, they try to reach the limits of everything they venture into which is quite commendable. To a great extent I admire all these qualities but still feel we also have something to offer to the western world.
Tolerance, unity in diversity (I feel we are more tolerant than any other country in this regard), family values, respect to our culture and traditions are all the great qualities I cherish in our custom. Well, its' true that most of them are trying to alienate from the above, while some others realize their identity. There is always a cognitive dissonance.
For a person who has to strive in a different culture in which some of the customs might be completely contrary to the former ones is very stressful. The person undergoes the stage of cognitive dissonance trying to search for his/her identity and realize what they want. Ultimately they make the choice; either to stick with what they believe in or to change according to the new environment while some assimilate the best from the both. So the person might also become as open-minded as the others in his surroundings or may stick to what he believes in. I think, open-mindedness has more to do with the comfort level than with the cultures. I might sound egoistic but I feel we have a reason to be alluding. Do we or don’t we?

Monday, October 25, 2004

Dance Merengue!!

Got back to the dance floor after a long time. I was unable to make it to the classes because of my busy schedule. But this sunday I wanted to. Well, I didn't have much to read and also felt the need of exercising my lazy bones:). Ah,at last had some fun. Enjoyed dancing and listening to the music.
Modei demonstrated the steps with ease. It was fun to follow him.
Meanwhile some of the learners wanted to know about the history of Merengue. I browsed through the internet for the same.Here is an interesting link where you know more about the history of merengue:

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Additions to my blog

Ever since I wanted to blog, I wanted to publish information and articles on my academic work. At the same time, I wanted to use the blog as a medium to initiate some critical thinking but I did only the later. However, recently I spent some time to start another blog. I will be publishing my research work and other relevant information on disabilities through this blog.
I would appreciate the feedback on the stuff I write:).
The link is: You can access the same from the links on the left hand side of the blog.

Hope to see you there:).

Have I grown up or still have to?

This is my second year celebrating Dusshera and Diwali away from home :(. I really wish I had some supernatural powers, the supernatural powers which Pranati usually talks about. Well, Pranati is my neighbor’s granddaughter, who is in the 4th grade. Literally a chatter box. However,what I enjoy having small and interesting conversations with Pranati. She combines logical thinking with her imagination to explain everything (including why she likes to wear her torn jeans:). Though rarely I spend time with her, whenever I do, I am fascinated by her stories:). Here is a smaple.

One fine day the fire alarm broke and everyone rushed out of their apartments. Aunty, Mandira (Pranati’s mom) and Pranati were also out. We all waited outside anxiously probing the reason behind it.

Meanwhile, aunty went to the other block and returned with some news. The alarm went off beacuse of someone's negligence rather than real fire.Someone had inadvertently pushed the switch on. She advised me to go in and resume my work. However, as I didn't have much to do and was impatiently waiting for the cops to switch off the alarm, I waited outside. Meanwhile, Mandira was with me and we both started talking. Our topics ranged from skin care to the coming winter which were interrupted by Pranati. She liked to add in her comments for everything.

While discussing some common issues our attention shifted to the coming winter. And here we go, while both of us were apprehensive about the chilly winds of the coming winter, Pranati's eyes glowed with excitement. She immediately interrupted us saying, "Actually I am very glad that winter is soon approaching. We won't have to bear with the bugs (ladybirds) anymore and daily I can have hot chocolate to drink".
Wow! That was a real good reason to enjoy winter. I couldn’t but smile at her and laugh about her innocence. “Well, would I ever enjoy winter for a cup of hot chocolate? How Interesting!! These kids really live in a dream world ha!,” I thought.

The sound was unbearable. As the alarm was located very close to my door, I thought of waiting outside than sitting in and getting my ear drum damaged. We were waiting for the police to turn it off. Meanwhile, the topic of the discussion turned towards the fire alarm. "Who might have turned it on? It is so annoying”, I said. "Well, someone might have done it by mistake", said Mandira. As she tried to continue with her explanation, Pranati immediately jumped in and continued with her own explanation. “Mom, I think someone might have arrived recently and they might be having a kid. And this kid might be a very naughty one. He might have asked his mom, about the fire alarm. She might have instructed him for what it was and then he might have tried to pull it for fun. I don't think it was done by any elders and the kids who have been living here for some time.All the kids who have been living here know the fire alarm and what happens when it rings. So it must have been the work of some mischievous kid who arrived recently",she said. I was really amazed. I couldn't but appreciate her analyzing skills.

So here are two contrasting explanations by the same person. One, a very naïve and rosy while the other which is very rational and highly reasonable. Well, I might be exaggerating but very often I thought she had real good imagination. Do children of her age typically do this or is she exceptionally good at imagining things? How can she be so silly about liking winter for hot chocolate while be able to give a logical explanation of the fire alarm.Is it prior knowledge or is it sheer diligence?
I don't know if my views about Pranati have anything to do with today's class on stages of development but I just can't stop thinking about it.

Now, back to square one. I really wish I had a magic band or a witches broom to fly home and return back by Monday. And, incase I get one will I "really" return back by Monday? It seems I haven't grown up yet. I still think like an elementary school kid:).

Thursday, October 14, 2004

The Presidential Elections

The fever is on. Be it the classroom or a general discussion, everyone talks about it. The newspapers are flashed with the latest happenings while the TV sets are tuned to the catch the latest news on it.
Yesterday after getting into my apartment,I found two messages flashed on my answering machine. One of them was a lengthy message to vote for John Kerry. I couldn't stop but laugh.Even my answering machine is not spared.However, when I was walking across the Dubuque street in downtown, I noticed an inscription on one of the huge walls stating "BUSH=MISTAKE". This indicates the peak of the election craze.
You just can't escpae it.Most often you encounter guys/girls with a clipboard trying to coax you to sign up for voting.Well, all this amuses me but sometimes irrriates me.
I met a friend of mine on one of the bus trips and we can't but discuss the elections again. When asked about my choice, I replied with an indifferent attitude."I was never interested in politics and will never be.Moreover,I do not have the right to vote. So what difference does it make by knowing my opinion?".This was my reply. It was indeed caustic and resulted in a small discussion of the pros and cons of the elections.This chat continued for a brief time and later we drifted to some other issues.
However later when I was refelcting upon my attitude towards politics and my involvement in it, I really felt like a frog in the well. I felt bad bad about my ignorance.Well,for sure I do not have the right to vote here but I never voted in India too. I hated politics and had a hostile feeling towards everyone involved in it. I also felt that it never made any difference even if I casted my vote. To top it all, I never had my voter's identification card till I was 23 because of my laziness and because of the poor administration system. And by the time, I knew the importance and wanted to vote,I was out of the country. However, that is another story.
Though I am enlightened to some extent, I am more fascinated that the attitude of people , especially woem is almost the same everywhere. And what even amazes me is that a country as advanced as America also has the same problems. It is indeed surprising to see Jennifer Aniston on the TV campaigning for the women voters. I just can't beleive that even in America women do not get involved in voting.
So what does this say? The conditions of women all over the world are the same.

Whether it is America or India, it doesn't make any difference about the way people think. You find people who do not vote in India as well as in America. Even in America you find women still fighting for their rights. It is astonishing that the US still can't boast of a Lady president as much as it boasts of being the Big brother of the world.
Any where in the world, women are always oppressed and deprived of the best. They still need to be reminded of their rights.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Colors of Fall

Colors of Fall, originally uploaded by swapna bolleboina.

Its lovely out here!The fall or the autumn season is a treat for every one's eyes. Cool atmosphere and lovely colors around.You come across all shades of green,pink, mauve, biege, yellow, can go on and on and on :). So thought of dabbling with the tools and spilling some on my blog:).

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