Span Blog

America, I think I know you so well, But do I?
By Amitabh Kumar
| Category: Lifestyle

The year was 1995, a relaxing summer holiday Sunday morning, I had no clue I was about to be introduced to the ‘Land of opportunity’. The cable guy who was sweating it out on the roof top, finally had our television hooked up to Rupert Murdoch’s Star Network, MTV, Star TV, National Geographic, CNN you name it, just like that, there is was. A window to USA, 22 square inches to view ‘the land of the brave & the home of the free’.


By the end of the summer vacations I was an informed American Tele-citizen, knew all about the Jersey Devil- thanks to the X-Files, Scully (my first crush) & Mulder had clarified that for me, about the beautiful ladies in bikini being on the beaches of LA being saved by Mitch Buchannon, how Pizza revitalized your kung-fu skills against an evil martial arts supremo ( ref: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) & most of all my only idol till date ‘Michael Jordan’ the magician wearing Chicago Bulls Jersey number 23.


As we returned to school that year, we brought with us America into the class room. Suddenly world geography made more sense, English had an added value & most of all a land which used to be far-far away, only visited by the privileged, seemed so close. I know many would question & debate that Television is not such a great influence, well in my life & life of my friends it certainly was.


Before we knew the innocent changes in our social traits were creating clichés in our minds, such as all Americans are rich, live of fast-food, everyone is in a flamboyant  romantic relationship, it was a long list. Over the years I met many Americans, some amazing, some not so spectacular, this interaction with AMI’s ( as they are referred to in Germany)  led me to realize how normal they were. How incorrect my perception of America was & how with vast differences there were many similarities between us.


Today living in Delhi, being local, thinking global, US is closer than ever before. Be it corn flakes for breakfast, social media for my raising awareness about gender based violence or basketball to unwind, I have bits n pieces of American culture in my life. But do I really know America? Can I claim that without visiting USA? Does information ever match up to experience? I guess I will only know once I have made that trip (which has been planned & promised for a very long time)


I leave this blog incomplete to open questions, will surely complete it after my visit.