I am travelling to USA this weekend...
Despite being in IT industry in the area of ERP Consultancy for the last 11 years, this is my first visit to USA. I plan to be there for about 4 weeks.
I have visited many countries in the last 5 years. The countries visited include UK, Bangladesh, China, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Oman and Colombia.
I have piled up around 200000 flying miles over the last 5 years. I hold a Silver Card from Air France.
Some of these trips have been for as low as a week and some as long as two years.
None of the trips have raised the kind of hype in my family as the US trip.
I am a Tamil Brahmin, popularly known as 'Tambram'.
We Tambrams travel a lot. We travel to different states in India and different countries in the world in search of education / employment. We are omnipresent.
You drop a stone in any part of the world and the chances are that it will fall on a Tambram.
For all our peregrination tendencies or wanderlusts, Travel to US evokes a primordial passion among Tambrams that none of the other countries can evoke.
US is the guiding post, the proverbial holy grail for Tambrams. You are not considered a professional till you have been to US.
Almost all the Tambram families have someone or other in the US. The guy could be a leading Scientist in NASA or she could be a leading Gynacologist with John Hopkins (we are known in India for our intellect).
As soon as I informed my mother that I have got a visa to travel to US, she was ecstatic. She was on the phone in a jiffy and in 30 minutes all our relatives had known about my impending trip to US.
Within 30 minutes calls started coming dime a dozen. My uncle wanted me to at least call my cousin, if possible visit him. My aunt wanted to know if I can take some sweets to her granddaughter in the US.
I tried pointing out that I was going to be located in the northeast of US and her daughter was living in the southwest of US. I told them that the time difference between east and west was 3 hours !!
Another uncle called me to inform me the places that I should visit in US. "Dont miss Niagara Falls", he told me. That is an advice that I am going to take.
The advises to the new Tambram visitor concludes when one of the relatives call him and inform him as to where in US he can get 'Curd Rice'. That is the mother of all advises.
For Tambram, going to US may be important, but eating 'Curd Rice' in US? That is the holy grail....