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 Movie Biutiful: Story of immigrants trying to survive in developed nation
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Posted on 10-21-11 2:30 PM     Reply [Subscribe]
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I picked up the above movie in the Red box in Seven-Eleven.

I saw this movie last night. It was really beautiful. It is a Spanish movie with English subtitles, but the message comes across clear and strong. It is about a father struggling in the underworld of Barcelona, Spain. The acting of the lead actor is superb. It shows the struggle of immigrants. The father in this movie, he is kind of like a middle man (dalal contractor) making money by finding work for these immigrants.

One thing that I as a Nepali immigrant forget, liviing in America is how good we have it compared to Nepalese and other immigrants in other parts of the world, including many countries Europe. This movie is like a documentary. It is so sad how immigrants come to developed nations and struggle to survive in all kinds of squalor. Doing whatever it takes to survive, working all kinds of dangerous, dirty, drug-related, disasterous jobs. Getting hurt and having no protection, no one to go to. Surviving by hook and crook.
We do what we need to to survive, thinking that people back home have it a lot worse. This movie captures all this. Of how immigrants get used and abused.

It made me grateful for the life I have in America as an immigrant. Sometimes I forget how good I have it.

Posted on 10-21-11 3:05 PM     [Snapshot: 70]     Reply [Subscribe]
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Minendra looked around him. He looked at himself. He looked back. He had fought. Fought hard to make it in the States. He had made it. He had survived. Yes he had struggled. And look at where it had brought him. He spun around in his office chair, the dual monitored computer screens staring back at him. This is where he wanted to be. The plushness of a white collared job. He was no longer working in some chicken coop in Nebraska where some redneck was ordering him around like he was another illegal immigrant eager for a job. That was a job he had taken up during his college days. He had made it. Today he sat in his plush office suite. Ok, ok, it was just a cubicle. But so what? Here he was treated with dignity. Here he had the respect of colleagues. He had a career. Most importantly, he felt good about where he was. He slept well at night and he could plan for the future.

Minendra peered into one of his dual monitored screens. He had sajha.com open in firefox. Opened it up, clicked the refresh button and looked through the Kurakani section, seeing if there were any interesting topics playing out. All Minendra had to do was go and read the posts on Sajha.com to see how hard the struggles of other Nepalese living in America was. All he had to do was go and read Nepali online newspapers like Republica or Nepalitimes.com to see what the pain of other Nepalese in Nepal.
He pursed his lips and shook his head. He had put a distance between that pain and himself through his hard work. But he knew it would be arrogant of him to only credit his success to his own wits and work. There was definitely an element of luck and other people's support that had come to play. He had adapted. He had played the game. Made the right connections.
He had worked some of the sh*ttiest of jobs during his college years, trying to make it through Bellevue College in Nebraska.

Surviving on the streets of the United States took an agile foot. He had worked all the jobs on the streets. Did the gas stations. Was a security guard for a while. Did the series of temp jobs from lawyer offices, engineering firms to stints in technology companies. He had befriended Nepalese from all walks in the United States in the process. Had learned when to keep a distance to some while getting close to others. There were Nepalese he had gotten close to in America, from villages and towns far from Kathmandu that he wouldn't have given the time of day to if he had been back in Kathmandu. But here they were all stuck together in the student ghettoes. There was no room for getting all 'higher than thou.' Everyone Nepali was a brother or sister. You never knew who you would need tomorrow. You couldn't count on family support so far out here.
Especially working with his hands wrapped around chicken feathers in the chicken coop, Minendra realized how he was nothing and no one as a student. There was no place for his showing off of feeling better than other Nepalese, like how he felt when he strutted around Kathmandu with his friends. They had taught him that. His bosses: the rednecks. Surrounded by rednecks that could turn on you at a whim because they didn't like your face, Minendra had learned that he better suck it up and work for a better future. And count on your fellow Nepalese. You weren't one of the gores here. Here you were no body. And no one cared for you throwing your weight around.

During those days, working long and hard hours, putting school in between was tough. There were times he was finishing his math homework on the dashboard of his car, taking a bite of a cold sandwich and a sip of old coffee. Snow outside around him, the vibrating of the sputtering old car keeping him warm. Coming to school like this without having slept all night from his gas station job was tough. He rubbed the sleep out of his eyes, trying to focus on the bleary numbers and letters on the notebook in front of him.
Sometimes it felt hopeless. Hopeless. And he would want to shade his eyes and cry. But he thought of his parents and how much they had sacrificed to send him here. Yes life was bad. But it could be a lot worse. It was times like this that he would go to sajha.com and pour his heart out. He would whine and complain and tell the guys and girls there about his troubles. And they in turn would empathize. They would say, "Brother, we have been there where you are. We have gone through what you have gone through. Hang in there. It will be ok in the end." And as much as Minendra wanted to believe them. It was so hard. It seemed like this struggle in America would never end. Never end.

And in Kathmandu Minendra was used to walking around all tall and mighty. He wore the latest fashion, boots always polished. He had his own style and didn't talk to other pakhe types who he didn't consider to be at his level. But in America, Minendra was forced to re-study his own biases toward these Nepalese from the villages who had come to study and work and survive just like him. 
Here, in America, so far away, he had learn't to speak the language of even these Nepalese, who, while speaking Nepali, seemed to almost speak in a foreign tongue. He had done all of this in the process of surviving in America. From washing dirty dishes to mopping and sweeping up nasty gas station bathroom floors. Another immigrant tale in the land of the melting pot where millions of other immigrants had come and adapted and survived like him. So was he that special? Did his pain give him the right to feel any more self-righteous?

Minendra looked at the floor of his cubicle. He spun himself around in his chair. He looked up at the dual computer screen. Wow. How far he had come from those days. Now he was the one offering encouragement to all the students and other Nepalese that he read of in sajha.com who were struggling the way he was yesterday.
They asked, "Dai, will this ever end?"
And Minendra would nod to himself, his lips pursed in determination as his hand extended out to type. The light of the blue computer screen in front of him reflected off of his face as he hammered out the words, "Yes, Bhai, hang in there. Trust me. Yes, it does end."

Last edited: 21-Oct-11 08:24 PM
Last edited: 21-Oct-11 09:33 PM

Posted on 10-21-11 3:22 PM     [Snapshot: 99]     Reply [Subscribe]
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Awesome bro. Liked it a lot. Actually i am reading this post in dual monitor too :). and I can compare Minendra=Me.
Posted on 10-21-11 4:26 PM     [Snapshot: 209]     Reply [Subscribe]
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u might also be interested on: Crossing over

Posted on 10-21-11 7:02 PM     [Snapshot: 369]     Reply [Subscribe]
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Homey, if this is a story about your own life, I am impressed.

Posted on 10-21-11 8:38 PM     [Snapshot: 474]     Reply [Subscribe]
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 Good one homeyji. We can all relate. 
Posted on 10-22-11 10:19 AM     [Snapshot: 704]     Reply [Subscribe]
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I would like to suggest some movies, you can find these on netflix online streaming. 
1) 1) Entre Nos
2) Where is Chang?
3) Moscow to the Hudson

Posted on 10-23-11 4:06 PM     [Snapshot: 988]     Reply [Subscribe]
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Thanks for the recommended movies and encouragement, guys. Will have to check those movies out.

Though this story definitely parallels my life, I think the more important point, as others have pointed out, is that this story parallels many Nepalese experiences while making it in the States.
Posted on 10-23-11 5:01 PM     [Snapshot: 1044]     Reply [Subscribe]
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Aren't these the people exploiting and abusing their own?
Regarding nepalese, it's been going on for many decades; selling own people, relatives, daughters, brothers, etc..
Are you listening to unn.com.np's ongoing kathawachan on nepalese sold in Bhutan?

Following movie shows even worse.
'Dirty Pretty Things' - about illegal immigrants in london.

Posted on 10-23-11 6:28 PM     [Snapshot: 1060]     Reply [Subscribe]
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That is what the above story is all about. It is about a Nepali, Minendra, who worked hard to get away from that vicious circle that you are describing. And now that he is standing on his own feet, he is helping other Nepalese to also do the same.  The fact that there are many Minendras in sajha.com who are helping other Nepalese is impressive.

Last edited: 23-Oct-11 06:56 PM


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