Non Resident Alien

This is a chronicle of my tragi-comic life as a foreigner in the United States. My official status when I started school in 2004, was that of a Non-Resident-Alien and that's where the title of the blog is from. My status has changed to Resident Alien since then. My personal experiences are a unique roller coaster mundane everyday experiences for locals, but unique from the eyes of a foreigner. I started this blog to share some of my experiences beginning my third year living in this country.

Monday, October 30, 2006


Its Halloween again!!Whats Halloween without Ghostbusters!! Here's a cool video I found on youtube

This is a nice Christmas Video also on youtube. Thanks Brian for the pointer almost a year back!! :)


Elections and advertisements in the United States

The local elections for Maryland, DC, and Virginia are just around the corner and there is a lot of frenzied campaigning going on from both the Republicans and the Democrats. There is a lot more freedom in advertisements here in the US, which both sides have been using to the full extent. The ads have now moved away from actual political campaigning to smear campaigning. Both sides are trying their best to show the other in bad light, to the extent of personal attacks on preference for puppies and such. See the ads here and here. Turns out I am not the only one that thinks the personal attacks are not a very nice way to campaign. Several people I met and talked to felt the same way. The focus has shifted from policies to personality. However, even though they have taken it to such extent, I like the freedom they are given to campaign any way they want. I remember a few years back in India Complan had to remake its ad where it compared Horlicks and called it brand H. They had to call it brand X instead!! American ads can directly state the name and the features of the rival product. That is something I like!!


Sunday, October 29, 2006

The weekend is still young

Well!! This weekend I had two parties and am still rocking on!! Yesterday was my Diwali/Halloween party at Adam's. It was rocking good times. We rocked on Guitar Hero 2 Demo which Adam had, although I bombed out on some of my favv songs at the Expert level. Unfortunately I forgot to take my camera and do not have pictures from then. I was a pirate as usual!! If I thought that party rocked I was mistaken. Today's Eid/Diwali party that Ali and I hosted in my house was so much more fun. There was a lot of Indian food as usual and we saw 'Hungama'. Not only did the party rock, but the after party with Jason dressing up for a Halloween party rocked as well. He had a ball going through my wardrobe and trying out a couple of my skirts. I had fun as well, watching him dress up and taking pictures of him. Ali of course was scandalised by the whole thing. :) Well! I thought my evening was over and was watching Harry Potter on tv and getting ready to sleep after two days of intense partying when Noah calls and asks me if I wanted to go bowling with him and Coz John and his girl friend!! Since I am such an insomniac these days, I consented to go, bombed the first game and rocked the second game. It has been an exciting weekend so far, can't wait to see how tomorrow turns out....


Thursday, October 26, 2006

Gegen die Wand!!

European movies are indeed better than American movies. The more American movies I see, the more they seem like a mass produced commodity like any you would see at Wal-Mart or Target. European movies have a poignant touch to them. They are not afraid to tackle sensitive issues and do it very well, especially portraying the finer human emotions of love and normal life. When you see an American or Bollywood movie for that matter you have to do what Coleridge called 'willing suspension of disbelief' for the duration of the movie. European movies seem very real to me. They protray people and lives as they are. You keep the story with you and I would be willing to bet if I went to Istanbul or Hamburg I will find such people as in this movie. I simply loved Gegen die Wand (Head On in English). It is very sexually explicit and filled with uncomfortable language for my taste, but the story is simply beautiful and fresh to me. R rated!! Recommend it if you like foreign movies and a different point of view.


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Eid Mubarak

There seems to be some controversy as to if Eid is today or tomorrow this year. The Indian PM has greeted our fellow citizens today, so I assume atleast in India Eid is today. Eid Mubarak!! There is an interesting phenomenon that some years Ramzan starts during Navratri or Dussera and Eid follows Diwali by a day or so. It would be so much fun to be home now. Westerners are a dull lot. They have only one main 'festival' in a year. We guys have so many, and not just national events like Eid and Diwali, but very local and regional ones like Pongal and Holi which in recent years has taken on a very national flavour. Ramzan is not complete without Haleem and Iftar parties. Well!! Ali and I are throwing a joint Eid Diwali party this weekend complete with Mughlai Biryani and gulab jamun. Of course there is a bollywood movie as well!


Saturday, October 21, 2006

The Departed

I am just back from seeing The Departed. Di caprio was simply great!! Matt Damon was ok. The movie however was not great for me. There were a few predictable turns and a few surprise twists. I do not know what I expected out of the movie. Its a Martin Scorcese movie and I think I had more expectations out of it. The story was not great in my opinion. The cinematography was great and Leonardo was simply amazing. It took me a while recognizing him with his stubble and all. He stole the show with his amazing acting. The movie had the feel of GoodFellas with lots of killing and blood. Great job by Leo!! Do I recommend the movie? I don't know!! I guess its a typical guy kind of movie so yes!! Please go see it if atleast for Leo's great scenes.


Friday, October 20, 2006

What a beautiful day

Today is the most beautiful day this year. The clouds were rolling, the zephyr turned into a gust and the leaves at school were the most beautiful colours. If only the wind chill had not made the temperature colder than normal I would have stayed out the whole day. I still spent quite a lot of time outside and I had the most wonderful time. Overnight the leaves on campus had turned a beautiful orange brown. Only yesterday I was complaining to Noah that the leaves had not changed colour yet, and this morning it was a riot of colours. I am glad I decided to take my camera to school finally and take pictures. I took a few. It was just perfect light, the right amount of sunshine and clouds to make my pictures come out good.


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Happy Diwali

Happy Diwali people!! Hope you have a wonderful successful year ahead. I remember how impatient Prakki and I were one Diwali when I was probably 8 or 9. We were up by 3am and wanted to be the first in our street to start bursting crackers. But, we had to wait for the ritual bath and so had to wait till our grandparents woke up, and by the time we actually got to bursting crackers it was dawn and although we were somewhat disappointed we made the best of the rest of the morning. It was one of the best Diwali's I ever had.

I decided this was a good time to launch my new blog. I have had this idea for a while to put my experiences in America in a separate blog from my academic blog. I guess, this will be it. Instead of the email list with my experiences, I will just post my experiences here in this blog!!

This is the eighth Diwali in a row I am not with my family, the third I am not even in my country. I miss being part of the festivities. My parents are with Prakki this Diwali, and I am kind of envious of him. Miss the big drum of savouries mum made every year not to mention the tons of gulab jamun we devoured for a whole week after Diwali. Miss the sounds and smells and lights of Diwali, including the acrid smell of spent crackers and the alluring smell of sweets. Diwali is not the same without these!!

Happy Diwali Guys!!