On An American Independence Day, 2012

On its eve, I asked Anand to tell me about the significance of the day and how it is celebrated. I don’t know if I got satisfied. However, Anand and Shannon are excited as they can have fireworks here in evening unlike that in California.

Every time I visit US, I get many surprises and amass a lot of information and knowledge. I visit the book shop. Though Borders have gone but Barnes and Noble are there. But perhaps very soon, the assault of internet and eBooks will make this one also disappear.

The stories of American decline have become a persistent theme for columnists. Obama may contest and Buffet may caution. But Sorkin says. ”We’re 7th in literacy, 27th in maths, 22nd in science, 49th in life expectancy, 178th in infant mortality, third in median household income, number four in labour force and number four in exports.” But perhaps the damage here too is through the politicians who have more of personal vested interest rather that of the USA and its people.

I feel China reigns everywhere in US particularly in all the American homes, where one finds almost everything made in China. The Chinese manufacturers have been improving and innovating all that American households need from toilet accessories to fancy solar lights and all sorts of toys or furniture for all the pockets of Americans.

Naturally only few firms can be Google, Microsoft and Apple that can remain at top of the global list with all manufacturing moving to the Chinese. However the contagious spirit of American innovativeness in the cutting edge technologies and every other areas of knowledge keep America at top and will sustain it unless the politicians don’t make it bankrupt to the brink.

And the American spirit of openness and liberty of all kinds that keep the quality of living at the top, will also keep US at the top I can experience that at every step. Rajesh has bought a house in Austin where they shifted recently. The young couple who has sold his house to Rajesh has gone on a world trip after selling it. In India we would have called them mad.

The other I was in a government office to get my ID card. I was waiting for the photographing by the agency. A girl was before me. As soon as she went for the picture, she gave a broad smile and retained it for quite some time. We hardly smile even for the photographs. Shannon complains about it.

We went yesterday for a Hindi movie, ‘Teri Meri kahani’. Anand was with us. In the theatre Galaxy that is owned by an NRI perhaps, I found a good number of old couples all by them, crowding to see the movie, “The best Exotic Marigold Hotel”, that is based on India. They are living life as pensioners without depending on their son to support. As I found they were all very happy and cheerful unlike us moaning all the times for our children. They enjoy their life and even the old age. They hardly bother about your dress and manner at the dining table unlike Britishers. Shannon’s mother even now at the age of 77 years living independently and keeping herself happy unlike our old widows in India. We can’t think of even the wife of late Anilbhai Ambani living alone in a separate house.

I am seeing the same attitude and approach in my own growing grandsons and granddaughters. I wish them to imbibe the best of the American culture and their parents to facilitate avoiding the undesirable ones.

It’s interesting that the cost of higher education of the children is the worrying factor for the immigrants who come, get higher education and then employment and citizenship of US. But the attraction of higher education in US still very high as it is the best and highly paying. The lines for emigration are still the longest in front of American missions and consulates across the world.

During my morning walk I come across parents from different parts of India, some from the remote villages. And credit goes to those young girls and boys who dared to move to US for higher education to satisfy their aspiration of living in this great country. America’s absorptive capacity for the immigrants and ability to assimilate them in the society makes one wonder about its positivity in tenacity.

American strength is in its human resources that are the most innovative and entrepreneurial. And it will remain a superpower till it sustains it and keep on challenging it. One can see that in the way US is trying to get over its dependence on Arab oil through the two new innovative developments: shale oil and mileage efficiency.

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