The difference between people in the US and back home – random musings

As my sixth year anniversary of leaving the nest and following my dreams to study abroad went by…I have been musing over the differences I have seen among people living in the US versus people in India…

Here are a few random thoughts from my experience living in different parts of the US over the last six years –

  • Smiling at total strangers:

I think the most common scenario one sees at the airport when an Indian comes FOB is that a perfect stranger smiles at you…the indian freezes in her/his track..is totally bemused..turns to look around to see if this phoren stranger is smiling at someone else..and then hestitantly returns a half smile back.  This was so new to me..this concept of actually being friendly and nice to total strangers!! I mean in india, if an unmarried girl smiles at a strange boy on the street..in most cases, the boy will think that the girl is interested in him and go behind her..if a boy smiles at any woman on the streets, the woman will think the boy is interested in her..and if she is pretty vocal, she will give him a piece of her mind!

  • Making conversation about some random topic

This is another thing…it could be because I have never lived as an “adult” in India..and being the youngest of all my cousins both from my dad’s and mom’s side, I guess no one really treated me as one.
But here, even to random strangers or to office mates, its just so easy and “un-weird” to make a conversation about a totally random topic. Some examples of such topics are: sports (always a safe bet), weather (duh), something thats going on at that place etc. Am not saying that this does not happen in India…I have seem countless aunties who have just met to start gossiping about others but in general, this seems easier here. Again, it could be tied to the being more friendly part.

  • Time

The concept of time is very different in US, compared to India. Goras and even desis after being here a few years tend to value and respect each other time. In my years here, most goras will almost always be on time. But although a US-based desi will want others to respect their time, they will hardly ever be on time (I too am guilty of this). Its just too engrained in us desis. IST or Indian Standard Time is now notoriously famous. Every gora knows that if he ever tells a desi a time, they need to always adjust to IST.

To be continued…

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