If you happen to be a desi Indian in the land of Amreeca, you will be astounded by the stark difference between two countries. My observations are solely based on the experiences in the first week of my arrival.
1. Low population density: It hit me right when I got away from the airport. The road is buzzing with traffic, pickup trucks, cars and a few bikes, but hardly any people walking along side. In India, you cannot miss the crowd, it is everywhere, from the temple to the park, from the sabji mandi to the bus stop, from the gali-nukkad to highways.
2. Posh Automobiles: In the five minutes that I stood waiting outside the airport waiting for my ride, I saw about 2 Hummers, 2 Audis, 3 Lexus, 3 BMWs, a Mini Cooper and oh wait…I ran out of fingers to count! I was round eyed in disbelief at the sight of these swanky cars which zoomed in and out of the airport exit. I know that bullock carts are a rare sights on our Indian roads, and it is equally rare to see a Hummer and an Audi and a BMW on the same road at a given time.
3. Flyers: They come in all sizes, small pamphlets, medium sized booklets, tabloid sized papers. Neighborhood stores issue them advertising their goods at affordable, competitive prices. Most often they have free coupons offering you a great deal at the local store. That important letter you are expecting from the bank will take its time to arrive, in the meanwhile order a 15″ pizza at $7.99 only at the exchange of this free coupon from XYZ Pizzeria!
4. Plastics: With Indian government imposing a ban on usage of plastic and supermarkets charging for issuing a plastic bag, most of us have become aware of the bane called plastic and work towards curbing its usage. It works differently here, something I was completely unprepared for. It is okay, if you have forgotten to carry your bag on your trip to the supermarket. You get a free plastic bag with every purchase made! After shopping at a place for veggies, another for dairy products, and other for our desi food supplies, I am left with a big plastic bag which contains about 8-10 empty plastic bags. Help!
5. Global perspective: Last week when I went down to the bank with A, we were assisted by a wonderful lady named Linda. A charming person, she patiently guided us as we made some financial decisions. One talk led to another, and she remarked, “How come you are speaking such good English?”. Perhaps an innocent comment, but I felt that it was the result of a narrow of viewpoint. English is no more a language spoken in United Kingdom, Australia, and U.S.A only. In fact in today’s times, English is one of the popular and sought after medium of instruction in Indian schools. Later it filled me with a sense of pride as I thought about how our knowledge of this language, puts us much closer to the center stage of a global scenario.
With my observation of the demo-graphical and geographical differences coming to an end, I feel that I will be more open towards understanding the people and culture of this wonderful land which draws thousands to its shores every day every year. Best of luck to me!