Monday, April 19, 2010


The signs I have seen almost throughout my stay in the US so far, first in New Jersey from 13 March to 2 April and later in Los Angeles, have made me feel the recovery in selective perception. Wherever I've been I have seen Middle America spending money and having a rollicking time. On Saturday afternoon, I went with my young son Abhi, and his even younger children Armaan, 9, and Anika, 7, to the Dodger Stadium to watch the local team being outplayed and getting clobbered by the San Francisco Giants by a wide margin. (To their credit, the Dodgers avenged the defeat the very next day to gladden the hearts of the local followers,) Two home runs by the Giants I could understand - one done with a deft tap to land the ball close-by - but not much else. I am ignoramus as far as the rules of baseball go. The cheering and the general prevailing mood of bonhomie got to me, though, I am happy to confess. The fans really knew how to have a good time in spite of everything else. We were sitting plumb behind the catcher in - what seemed to me to - exorbitantly priced seats ($90 a pop), consuming unconscionably steep priced food and drinks and ice cream and what have you. We reached late (the Dodgers' first inning had already begun) and left early at the beginning of the sixth to avoid the rush hour traffic. It was, if I may hazard a guess, a bit like attending an IPL Twenty-20 cricket match back home. Anika in her wisdom wanted to know why we could not have watched the game on the idiot box in the evening. Very astute of her, considering her tender age. For me, it was a first of sorts and also a rare insight into the American psyche and culture. On Sunday, I got the opportunity to once again watch Middle America at play, this time in a swimming competition for school-going kids who were cheered by their enthusiastic parents, grandparents and peers. Armaan did really well for himself coming third and then second in the first and second of the three events he participated in. During the evening visit to the Glendale mall, the Borders bookshop and dinner at the Outback Steak House, the signs seemed all hopeful. By the way, I also got a virtually touchy-feely glimpse into the wondrous world of the iPad and the iPhone, courtesy of Anita's friend, Sheena. She teaches Gender & Women's Studies at California State University, Northridge and, to my untutored eye, looks like a spare-time techie. More importantly, she qualifies as a favourite "aunt" of Armaan and Anika.