I noticed a number of times when I have been granted ownership of the vast landmass of America, including its culture, population, interests and quirks.
I find any objective questioning and/or reasoning can grant me ownership.
All I have to do is hang on to my mother’s hand and question why on earth she is preparing Payasam for the n-th time, and she would say her voice dripping with incredulity – “In YOUR America, you may do it differently, but we make payasam when the son-in-law visits. “
“Yes….but this is technically part of the same visit, we just went out yesterday! Besides, do remember that I am very much an Indian citizen. Should I show you my passport?”
“I cannot serve food without sweets when the sons-in-law are here!” she would voice in a tone of finality, and go about gathering the ingredients anyway.
“There’s another thing! Why do you have to serve? People can perfectly serve themselves!” I say to no one in particular. But since I now own all of America, why should I worry about who serves anybody else food?
When I am not visiting India, I can still feel rich anytime! All I have to do is call home. 70% of the time, It would be the occasion of some festival. We don’t begrudge any of the 3500 Gods/Goddesses their birthdays, or anniversaries or the general tendency to want to keep awake through the night. There is of course a special sweet dish to mark every occasion, and all I have to do is ask the reason for that particular savoury on “X Jayanthi” or “Y Krittikai” and immediately America becomes mine!
In MY America, I don’t have to do anything – except get to work early in the morning, slog through the day and jog back home for a back-to-back session with classes and children and the dishwashing and the cleaning and the cooking.