Rupica Neelamma Chottangada
The first time I heard Miranda Lambert’s ‘The house that built me’ song was sometime in mid of 2010. I was then getting ready for my wedding in January month ,very next year. I liked that song but dint give a thought to what it actually meant. Little did I know that the song will altogether hold a different meaning in my life today. It’s been a year & few months Isince I came to this country and haven’t travelled to India then.Thats probably one of the reasons every time I hear this song now it takes me back to those houses which made my childhood memories. Now I hear it with a proud heart and a nostalgic eye. The song is an example for different aspects of my life that changed after coming to this country. Few things that had no value in my life earlier have a major role to play now.
I came to US for the first time on January 20 2011 to Baltimore MD which was the first chapter of my married life in US.I was so overwhelmed with lots of Kodavas in this Baltimore-DC area who welcomed me with open arms. I instantly felt at home. OH! Ibut the winter weather is nowhere close to home. Yet I was fully excited for the snowfall which was my first time .d one day . On a heavyI snowfal day I even tried cleaning the driveway . Then the spring came by, and I had my first trip to Washington, DC. It was the cherry blossom festival then. Gosh!! It was breathtaking, beautiful ,DC at its best. For first time I felt the beauty of true United states of America.
As days went by, I got used to the American life which resulted in fewer phone calls to my parents and friends in a day. Also not to forget, my cooking got better .I started to observe people, their culture, gesture, thought process and their lifestyle. For most part, it was the same compared to what it is in India today. As we all know, we try to ape people from this part of the world. What I realized over a period of time is that no culture is good or bad. It’s just a way of life people have adopted for their convenience and betterment. I also felt it’s what people in this country do to survive. But sadly back home we blindly follow it in the name of westernization. If at all we have to, why not take the good things like dignity of labor, road etiquettes, integrity, passer-by courtesies and last but not the least is cleanliness. All this definitely came in as a cultural shock to me first, now I hope to imbibe all this in me.
Seasons passed by and I saw the transitions of the trees outside my apartment from leafless winter to the blooming flowers during the pretty spring. Then came the green summer which was pretty hot. All though I wonder why people here talk about the Indian summers. All along summer I got to see most of the destinations in East coast. Met some nice Kodavas all the way from north to south of the coast. The summer was fun and it ended fast. The leaves started to change colors and then came my first Halloween. Though summer ended, I realized festival season had just begun. In no time it was Thanks giving. It was fascinating to see how most of the families, friends come together and count their blessings during this time. Then the year was coming to an end with holiday season approaching and people busy shopping. While it was festivity mood all over, it was time for my first move in this country to a place called Erie in PA. All i heard about the place was winters being really harsh. Surprisingly it was a smooth transition with mild winters this year. The winters are gone, The Summer has begun and exciting time in life has come again.
Thus began my next chapter of life in United States of America .There are lots of things to look forward this year and I am pretty sure it’s going to be an exciting one. I feel each year my life in this country will be a learning experience. No Doubt India where I was born n brought up is the home that built me. But definitely US is a home away from home where I am learning and growing every day.