Small is Beautiful: From Artesia, Los Angeles

(Wagle: The following observation was written immediately after visiting Artesia, a southern LA town, also known as Little India. South Asians live in significant number and we the visiting journalists were taken there to see how they live. About 39 journalists from South Asia, Africa and South East Asia were divided into two groups. I was in the second group and visited the town on second day. We also watched a town hall meeting of South Asians where people talked about problems they faced and expressed their grievances. After visiting the town, we returned back to the offices of Annenberg School of Communications in downtown LA (on the 34th floor of a building), wrote about the visit and read out the write-up in the evaluation meeting mediated by former L A Times reporter Victor Marina. By the way, that was the tallest building I have ever gone to. My ears started popping out air as the lift was heading up fast pace. Just like in a plane!)

South Asian Town Hall Meeting
South Asian Town Hall Meeting in Artesia, Los Angeles
Pic by Wagle

I though America was about only those Americans and those tall buildings and those beautiful beaches filled with Baywatch-styled Pamela Anderson. After seeing that town hall meeting this afternoon, I have to conclude that America has that spectrum which reflects the problems similar to that of my part of the world: ‘injustice’ and inequality.

Everyone in the meeting was trying to find their own space in the larger American society that they complain of being racist.

Two Nepalis were quietly watching the procession of the meeting where several other people from the [South Asia] region were echoing their sentiments. Back in home, life for them is difficult for various reasons but even after being able to come into the world’s most powerful economy, those difficulties have started haunting them in new forms.

That was the perfect venue for them to express their common grievances and express solidarity with each others’ problems. They were dreaming of better life in Big America and voicing that desire among each other and via a live radio broadcast (about the meeting) to other Americans. And they were consoling themselves as well.

Look at that 37-year-old Mexican security guard who was stationed at the main entrance of the town hall where South Asians were organizing meeting today. “You know what the most interesting thing is,” he said without agreeing to reveal name. “I am providing security to these people from other part of the world who are also talking about immigration.”

South Asian Town Hall Meeting

South Asian Town Hall Meeting in Artesia, Los Angeles
Pic by Wagle

He is full of secrets but doesn’t want to reveal them all. Some of those secrets include supplying call girls to the rich customers in a hotel like Omni where I am staying now in the expenses of the US taxpayers. He has met Hollywood celebrities many a times and claims to know the inside stories that he doesn’t’ like to reveal to me. “But let me tell you,” he said confidently. “Brad Pitt’s real name is a little bit longer than that.”

He claimed a few papers in Los Angeles including the Los Angeles Times have written about his story. (He was in the hall with his mother, he said, in uniform, learned English real hard by watching TV and is thankful to Jesus, the only God, for being able to stay in a beautiful country like America.)

At one point, he seemed like a real professional. “You know what,” he said. “My story is interesting and costs you a hundred dollars.” That was great, I told him, but I wasn’t interested to know more about him. Realizing that I wasn’t going to pay for story, he wanted to push me away. “Okay man,” he said. “Enjoy the trip to America. Go away now. You are bothering me.”

“Oh..yea? I was bothering you? Okay, thanks for all the cooperation, man!”

Please post your thoughts. (कृपया तपाईंलाई लागेको लेख्नुस् ।)

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s