A glance at my Facebook timeline or GTalk statuses of friends currently would give one an impression that the year is 2012 and the dreaded Apocalypse is nearing, what with countdowns of "X Days to go!" type all over the place; but worry not- this is just the annual migration season when thousands of Indian students from universities all over USA make a Swades trip. For the benefit of those who are making their first trip to India after coming to USA, here are some (not-so) useful tips on how to act like a seasoned NRI or ABCD as desired appropriate-
A week before heading home, go to Dollar Tree / Wal-Mart and pick up random cheap stuff like perfumes, Nivea cold creams and Toblerone chocolates to give to friends and relatives who will pretend to happily receive them as if they have never seen these items in India.
The moment you land at the airport, complain- "Oh man! It's so hot!", even if your flight arrives at 3am and the outside temperature is 15 degree C.
On the way home, exclaim "Oh My God! Why the hell is there a cow on the road!". Yes, do it even if you have seen hundred cows on the road before heading to USA.
Crib about the infrastructure- the airport is so messy, roads are so dirty, air is so polluted, anything.
Even if it is 30 degrees C, go out wearing a GAP sweatshirt (No, don't tell me you don't have one- ever since SRK sported it in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, every damn Indian worth his name living in USA owns GAP clothing :P)
When visiting relatives, act extremely melodramatic traditional. Even if you have never ever done it when you were in India earlier, greet all elders with namaste and touch their legs to get blessings (and money!)
Use random American words in conversation. When someone asks "chai thanda kuch loge?", say you will have "soda" or "decaf coffee".
Buy some stuff from your local kirana store (not supermarkets) and offer your credit card for payment. When denied, express surprise- "What! You don't accept credit cards? India is still so underdeveloped!"
Act excessively concerned about hygiene. When at a local udipi restaurant, ask if the cook is wearing hand gloves and hairnet and if the food has been prepared using mineral water.
Compare and praise American transport facilities with Indian counterparts. While on any road, point out "Look at all these potholes. In America, the highways are so smooth. Its so much fun driving at 75 miles/hour on I-95", knowing fully well that nobody else cares a damn or knows what is I-95.
Last and most important point- talk in a fake American accent, even when speaking Hindi.
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PS: OK, everyone heading home this month- Aisa kuch mat karna. Aaram se ghar jaao, road pe pani puri khao, rickshaw me ghumo aur masti karke aao. Have a safe flight and enjoy holidays!
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