I was invited for a meal at ‘the house’ that is owned by a cousin of mine. The first thing I noticed as I parked the car in the driveway was the huge Chandelier that is strategically placed, so it can be seen from outside through the glass window on the second floor. Main door had beautiful wood carving. As you enter the house, on the right side you find the formal lounge with leather couches and a solid wood coffee table. There was also a solid wood display cabinet with beautifully arranged Swarovski animal collections. On the left side was the study with a collection of encyclopaedias adorning the shelves. There were few awards from the mallu associations framed and hung on the walls, along with a photo of Jesus and Parumala Thirnumeni. After the formal lounge is the formal dining room with massive 8 seater solid wood dining table and chairs. There was a giant buffet & hutch by the side of the of the dining table that held a 5 pieces set of Royal Albert Old country roses, A 5 piece set of Noritake ( Unknown pattern) and a 5 piece set of Aynsley ( cottage garden), all of which are displayed exactly how it is displayed at Macys . The second shelf held a collection of lead crystal glasses of all shapes and sizes. As it was Christmas time, there were many pieces of Lennox Christmas decorations scattered all around the house.
I was lead to the kitchen to get my drink. There was a giant punch bowl with cups on the kitchen island. I was handed a disposable plastic cup, the original cups that came along with the punch bowl is for display only.. It looks like this is a standard practice in most Mallu houses eastern part of US. Every house that I visited, be it rich or poor had a collection of expensive china ( Royal Albert’s Old country roses is the most fashionable) and crystal glasses in the buffet & hutch, but disposable cups and plates are the only thing they all use. Apparently, some great soul has worked out that it is cheaper to use disposable plates and cups than spend money for water/dish soap and gas to heat the water. (Dishwasher is also only for display and often functions as a repository for plastic shopping bags and other useful items.) No one really cares about the environmental impact. Dirty paper plates can’t be recycled, I read somewhere that almost of half of the solid waste discarded each week in US is paper products and most if it can’t be recycled because of grease contamination, yet for breakfast, lunch and dinner, mallu households only use paper plates and cups. ( paisa labhikkande??)
Oh, we were talking about ‘the house’. It was the dream of the owner of ‘the house’ to own a large house. She works 80 hours/week. ( apparently, she has maxed out on the overtime, I don’t know how the over time works in US or that how anyone can work 80 hours a week legally). She leaves home at 5.30 in the morning and comes back at 8 pm. She also suffers from severe arthritis and most of the days she is in severe pain, but they owe a huge sum of money to the bank, so she has no choice but to work. She is terrified that one of these days, she will be medically unfit to work and the house will be foreclosed.
It brings me to the question, is it worth to sacrifice your health and mental wellbeing , so you could live in a mansion, own expensive furniture, dinner sets, crystal glasses etc that is never used and work your ass off, so you could pay for all these.. is that what the American dream is all about?