Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Thoughts

Today is Thanksgiving Day in the US. For those who are not familiar with American holidays and traditions, Thanksgiving is a really tribute to cooperation and camaraderie. There are many theories and folklore surrounding the concept; but I think one trumps over the rest. More than four scores ago when the pilgrims from England set foot in North America and decided to call it their home, they didn't encounter a Welcome to America sign at JFK airport. Harsh New England weather was just one of the many sobering reminders of the fate of things to come for the visitors. The pilgrims didn't have a Walmart and a credit card to swipe for potatoes and cereal; they had to grow their own food. Well, they did that in their own country; but they had no idea how to do that in this strange land.

Fortunately for them, they got help from the Native Americans who taught them farming in this unfamiliar terrain. Had it not been for those helpful locals, the pilgrims would have perished in the first winter cold and perhaps there would not have been a United States of America later. To show their appreciation, the newly minted “Americans” (of course, a term yet to be used) organized a feast for their comrades and called it a symbol of giving their thanks. It would take hundred and fifty more years before George Washington, the first president of the new nation called USA formally declare the Thanksgiving Holidays as a firmly footed American tradition; but the spirit of the Thanksgiving has been in American hearts since early 17th century. This is time of the year we explicitly give thanks to all those who we benefited from, derive our joys from and to those who define who and what we are today.

I was not born in this country. I came when I was 22 - young and stupid; with a sense of adventure and trepidation at the same time - in some ways like the pilgrims. I was yet another immigrant into the melting pot called the USA; but there is a not a day goes by I think about the wonderful people who helped me through, made me feel at ease - taking me to grocery shopping to ballgames, regaling me with stories of hunting and trekking, and dropping down in the foot-deep snow to change the flat tire of my car. All little to big acts - but all hallmarks of this great land and the people who live in it. I am thankful to all those who have have held my hand in the darkest of the times and sweetest of the moments - and made me who I am today; are doing it and I am sure will continue to do it for the rest of my life.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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