Devon Avenue, Chicago

Amrit’s post on the Writing Cave asking if we hate ourselves going by the amount of filth lying around in Indian cities compelled me to dust-off (no pun intended) my own mail on something similar from my previous defunct blog and re-post it here.

Have you ever been to Devon Avenue, Chicago? No? Well, don’t feel bad because you’ve not missed much. If you are in India then just go to your neighborhood market. If you are on the east coast in the US, just go to Jackson Heights. If you are on the west coast in the bay area just step out of your house (well, that maybe an exaggeration – plus I’ve never been to bay area so I have second hand knowledge at best).Well, the point being that what it is about our civic sense as a nation that we just cannot conduct ourselves in an orderly fashion? The entire road called the Devon Avenue (well half of it is called Gandhi Marg and the other half Jinnah Marg) is so dirty and so littered with flying debris and “pan peeks” that is hard to believe that your are still in Chicago. Just about two miles east is the beautiful Lake Shore drive and then there is Devon Avenue. As long as we are in the company of people from other nationalities we maintain a modicum of civic behavior and cleanliness. But the moment we are surrounded by our own-we think that it is alright to break rules, that it is alright to honk, that it is alright to spit on the road.

I’ve been to a few other places in the US that are dominated by people from a particular ethnic background or nationality. There are these small towns in Wisconsin called New Glarus and Monroe that mostly have people from Swiss background. Then there is Holland in Michigan with people from, you guessed it, Holland. And each of these cities is so beautiful and well kept and great tourist spots. The only reason why anyone ever goes to Devon Avenue is for cheap groceries and cheap Indian food and wants to get the hell out of here ASAP. What a sad reflection on our country!

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