Realm Of Randomness

February 1, 2006

DBCD – Desh Born Confused Desis

Filed under: Humour,Opinion — Randomizer @ 1:24 am

I learnt an interesting term today. It’s called ‘F.O.B.’

If you’re an NRI, I bet you already know what it means. Me ? I learnt it from an article on the internet. It’s called ‘ Fresh Off the Boat ‘ . I think it’s hilarious :) . It’s the term myself and ten thousand other Indian Immigrants are called by ABCDs – American Born Confused Desis. To picture myself and my fellow indian grad students escaping on a boat from India and reaching the shores of Miami to the ‘Land of the Free’ is more funny than insulting.

I sought to find out what it is that makes most desis hate ABCDs , and vice versa. Why all this animosity towards each other ? Considering that we share a heritage, by logical thought these guys should probably be the First friends we ought to make in the US …. After all, they’re Indians in America, and we are your brothers from Bharath. Surprising then , that in fact, these guys end up being the LAST friends we will make, after the regular Desis, the Chinese, the Caucasians and the Mexicans , in that order.

The search for articles on this great ‘Indian divide’ in the US led me to so many great articles, and here I am , giving my two pence on the subject.

Being ‘western’ has always been cool back in India, at least to most of us. It wasn’t cool to sing the Raagas. It wasn’t cool to play the Tabla. You wanted to learn the electric guitar .. you wanted to wear jeans, nikes, t-shirts cuz THAT was cool … Well I guess this got to such a point that it was easy to ‘cross over’ the accepted level of western-ness (if there’s such a word) and be detested !

Like that guy with the fake accent ? Waaaay Uncool ! That gal with torn jeans ? Sorry lady, it ain’t workin for you !

And then there are the ABCDs… as American as an Indian can ever get.

Traditional indian names get plundered. Krishna becomes ‘Kris’ , Nikhil becomes ‘Nick’ , Keshav becomes ‘Kaysh’ , Trivikram becomes ‘Triv’. Us desis tend to think that these guys are not proud of who they are ( and hence who us Desis are ) and think that all they do is put up a fake show … with the spiked hair , the low jeans , the earrings , and the attitude. We instantly think ‘ hey, a Phony ! here’s a phony …. ‘ . No wonder the ‘C’ in ABCD stands for confused. But that’s just what we would like to think.

The real confused ones out here are us FOBs ourselves. Everything about us is Indian, Brown outside, Brown inside. I’d like to call us the DBCDs – Desh Born Confused Desis. Of course all of us are proud patriotic-to-motherland FOBs , but we are also trying to fit into the US . And we don’t stand a chance !

With our rice and chapathi carb diets, we by now have lame bodies … our kannadas and our tamils and our gujrathis would have distorted our English so much that it would be incomprehensible …. and dancing the bhangra to 50 Cent’s Candy shop isn’t really going to get us any where. :P

At the same time, going back to India after we have seen the life and freedom in the USA will be weird too. Going back to a land where you gotta bribe everyone to get your work done, be hounded by beggars on your way to work, ride with 10,000 vehicles on a crowded street with potholes after you’ve driven on the freeways of California ? How appealing is that ? At least the ABCDs know what they want.

Look at the lives of our American-born counterparts . There’s a whole story to them that no one cares to listen to . In an already multi-ethnic society where each race is branded with stereotypes, the ABCDs must have lived their entire life shaking off the stereotype ! They are finally carving out a niche for themselves, society is treating them as equals …. and then out of the blue , guess who they see ?

Yep, us PIGS – Poor Indian Grad Students. I don’t know if this is the creation of the author of that article I read or is an already popular term. Well, it’s popular with me so I’ll use it.

They see us Desis , Fresh off the boat , with our local accents and our curry-and-rice girl fundas, our smart brains, trying to fit in . We will see you, an ABCD, as a source for trying to fit in better. But heck ! You’ve lived you’re entire life shaking it off, you’d be damned to mingle with us stereotypes again.

I see no solution to the problem, for you see, a few years down the line, when I myself start getting more white inside, start adopting more of the west in me, I will see an Indian student on his way to Grad school , and will think to myself ‘ Hey look ! A FOB ! ‘ :)

As for now though , a FOB ? Yea, that’s me. A PIG ? yea that’s me too.

a Desh Born Confused Desi ? Hell , nothing could describe me better.



  1. Buempaaaaa Buempaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!

    Comment by Anonymous — July 15, 2006 @ 4:09 pm | Reply

  2. Buempaaaa Buempaaaa, jassshhthuu got a blogger account!

    btw its Nik for Nikhil :P, like Abhi for Abhishek or Hari for Harikrishna or Ram for Ramanathan :)

    but yea.. its coool stuff!

    Comment by Nikhil Hegde N — July 15, 2006 @ 4:09 pm | Reply

  3. Hmmmm. Interesting.

    FOB started of as refering to euro immigrants and now it is more fresh of the boeing than boat.

    I personally detest stereotypes and so wont comment but interesting POV.


    Comment by Karthik — July 15, 2006 @ 4:09 pm | Reply

  4. actually it is a good pt. Infact if someone asks why the ABCDs don’t act indian or blah blah… WTF should they? Theyve been brought up in amru land amongst amrus!!!! If we are to expect them to behave like is nonsense

    Comment by Golu — July 15, 2006 @ 4:09 pm | Reply

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