Thursday, August 1, 2013


Musings - a story

“I am going to America,” she says.

“The United States of America – USA…?” I ask.

“Yes,” she says.

“Wow. So you are going for sightseeing and tourism,” I comment.

“No. I am going for my daughter’s confinement,” she says.

“Confinement…? Is your daughter in trouble? Has she been arrested? Is she is prison? What happened…?”

“No. No. No. Nothing is wrong with her. My daughter is pregnant. I am going for her delivery. By ‘confinement’ I mean the pregnancy time period during which a woman gives birth to a child.”

“Oh. Congratulations. But why do you have to go all the way there to America? Why doesn’t your daughter come here to Pune for her delivery?”

“Why should she come over here?”

“Well, I thought a daughter goes to her mother’s place for her first delivery. I remember that you went to your mother’s place for your first delivery.”

“That was different.”

“Why? Even your elder daughter came to your house for her first delivery.”

“My elder daughter lives in India – that is why she came to my house for her delivery. My younger daughter lives in America – that is why I have to go there.”

“I don’t understand. Why can’t your younger daughter come here for her delivery? The facilities are good here. Or is there some advantage in having the delivery over there in USA?”

“I don’t know. Stop asking so many questions. You’re irritating me. I did ask my daughter to come here for her delivery. But she said that I would have to go there – so I have to go – that’s all,” my friend says, and she walks away, quite annoyed with me.

In the middle-class locality of Pune where I live almost all children have migrated abroad, mostly to the USA, to live a good life and realize the “American Dream”.

Some went abroad for higher studies, some went via the IT route, some went via marriage – and all of them have settled down there and they have no intention of coming back to India.

They have left their parents to fend for themselves back home.

They don’t even want to come to India to deliver their children.

They all want to have their babies in America.

So mothers have to go for long periods to America to look after their daughters during their “confinement” period – which may extend to over 6 months.

Later, these NRI daughters want their mothers to come over for “nanny” duties.

The earlier generation looked after their parents in their old age.

Now there is a role reversal.

The new “NRI generation” wants their old parents to look after them, despite the fact that these NRI’s have abandoned their country of birth leaving their parents high-and-dry to fend for themselves in their old age – all this in their singular quest for a better life abroad.

But that is another story.

The moot question is:

Why are NRI women reluctant to come home to India to deliver their babies?

Why do they want their children to be born in America?

Any Answers ?

Copyright © Vikram Karve 2013
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work. 
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
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Copyright © Vikram Karve 2013. All Rights Reserved

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A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer and blogger. Educated at IIT Delhi, IIT (BHU) Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures (2008) and is currently working on his novel and a book of vignettes and an anthology of short fiction. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories and creative non-fiction articles on a variety of topics including food, travel, philosophy, academics, technology, management, health, pet parenting, teaching stories and self help in magazines and published a large number of professional  and academic research papers in journals and edited in-house journals and magazines for many years, before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for 15 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing and blogging. Vikram Karve lives in Pune India with his family and muse - his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts.

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That American Girl said...

I suppose it's because citizenship would be easier? No need to go through a lot of formalities comparatively. One of our family friends had a baby here and they're going through this crazy process with the US consulate to prove that indeed it's their child. Apparently, Indians are prone to corruption... (truth!) so now 1) they have to get a DNA lab kit sent from the US 2) they have to go to the consulate 3) officials from the consulate have to take the blood from the parents and child 4) the consulate sends the kit back to the US and await results

I dunno if this is an individual exception or overall it's like this but... yea. I'm guessing the paperwork is a big deal.

That American Girl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Vikram Waman Karve said...

Dear "That American Girl" - you have certainly made some very valid points.
I guess "citizenship by birth" is the key issue.
But then why subject your old mother to the trouble of coming all the way to America for your "confinement" - do all American Women too call their mothers to look after them for so long during and after their pregnancy?

That American Girl said...

My guess: selfish reasons of course. It's not just women who are calling their mothers, it's sons too. And Indian women cannot say no to their sons and daughters especially when it comes to grand babies. Not to mention bragging rights to their lady friends about going abroad... it's all well until winter comes and arthritis rocks those bones! :/

No, not all American women call their moms to look after them... of course, they will help, but not Indian mom like for so long! They'd say look after your own damn baby. :)

And I'd have to say it's because it's a culture thing.

I mean, in the States, you get a part time job at a young age, move out at seventeen, go to college and become independent...

Whereas in India (and I'm not even talking about a minority here, it's majority) kids are very dependent... I mean, come on, we still have the whole inheritance thing going on, ancestral land and so on. Men and women do live at home even after education and getting a job (again, this is not a minority, majority).

So these things have been expected and now taken overseas... and it really sucks for the grandma and grandpa who are now separated during the retirement stage where they are supposed to be relaxing together.

Vikram Waman Karve said...

@ That American Girl:
Very valid points regarding our "culture" of eternally looking after our kids and yearning for grandchildren.
You are right about the injustice of separating Grandpa and Grandma in their old age - I see many such "separated" couples out here in Pune (at least 3 in my neighborhood)