Wednesday, July 12, 2006

What is new in America - Blog Boggling Blog [April 18 5:02 PM]

Here is an American citizen in my office whose origin is in India.

He showers affection on everybody.
I don't hesitate to say he is my friend. I call him Mama, Baabai, Taata or anything I like :-)
His ancestral roots are in Andhrapradesh. He speaks Telugu in American-English accent with Bheemavaram flavor.
He is my well-wisher. I discuss life matters with my well-wishers.
In one of the discussions in office, (We both are installing Windows on two different servers) he said a few words:

"Indians, most of them are not open andee...
They are very much intro kind of...
They don't smile a lot, they don’t like to take jokes on them...
Most of them are jealous...
They hardly extend a compliment to a person...
They hardly say good things about others..."
...and the list goes on. I agree. Do you?
I feel it takes a few generations to change our mind set.
Complimenting others makes you feel good about yourself. And it sets the tone of the day for the recipient.
Most of the Indians are not open to appreciate good in others and try to grasp and practice it.

It's getting serious. Lets leave it here.

I will tell you a few things that I found new in America.
It's been five weeks since I stepped on the soil of USA. What have I found new in the US of A ?

For me, as of today, America means Tomball area of Houston city.
As soon as I got out of the airport in Houston, it was very bright out side.
I noticed that this place is brighter than India, I am from Kadapa one of the hottest places.
So bright that my eyes felt like they are pulled in by force.
I felt its not good for my eyes without sun-glass.
Not because I was tired then. It's the same today.
Even today when Harsha and me went out for lunch in KFC, we talked about it.
I said "Next time when I go to Wal-Mart I must buy a pair of sun-glass that fit over my regular spectacles."

Second thing I noticed while coming from airport to Lakewood apartment:

This place is very spacious.
Wide roads. Real wide!
Lot of parking space before every shop. Real Lot!
Especially for a creature like me who has seen how congested the city of Bangalore is, it's overwhelming.
I don't think we can build a single city as spacious as Houston (remember I have seen only Tomball area of Houston so far).
I wonder what real estate people are doing. "No land mafia here!?"

Next thing is flyovers.

I laughed at myself because I used to call Hyderabad "the city of flyovers".
Here many are eight-lane flyovers. Real big ones. Miles together. Oh my god!!

Automobiles here have their steering to their left side.
No clutch !! That's a surprise for me, who learnt car driving just three months before coming to USA.
No need to change gears manually. Auto transmission. Driving made really easy.
Right side turn free. It's just opposite to Indian traffic rules (is there any body following traffic rules!?).
I had to train my mind and body to act accordingly while crossing the roads.

Another thing new to an Indian like me is the concept of "Day light savings".
In this part of the world, as summer approaches, the Sun rises very early in the morning.
And Sun light will be available till 9.30 in the night.
Americans made an arrangement to use this period of time effectively by shifting their clocks an hour forward.
Wait... I will explain. Don't show the frown any more.
Clock is shifted one hour forward on the specified day.
That day I got up at 6am. But the clock shows 7am. I should respect the clock.
So I got up and reached office as my clock was approaching 8am. Actually it is 7am (relative to GMT).
And when the clock reached 5pm, as a respect to the clock every body left the office. It's actually 4pm (relative to GMT again).
Now I have day light to play volleyball till 7.30pm.
People have time to go for a walk with their family as it doesn't get dark soon.
As days pass by I can play in the broad day light till 9.30pm.
People can look after many things after coming from offices.
After a few months, summer ends. As winter approaches, all the clocks will be turned backwards by one hour.
I think I have succeeded in giving you an idea of this concept. You may want to Google for more info about this.

Americans feel embarrassed if you look at them with out a smile on your face.
We (especially in our villages) have seen locals staring at new people.

Villagers stop walking/working to stare at you in India. They ask you who you are and they offer any help. Bothe parties feel good about it. It's our tradition. No harm intended. (I am talking about old India when we were kids. Indian villages are now politicized. Poluted.)

Staring like that is considered an offence here.

Asking who they are is much offensive.

Offering help is like medling with privacy.

Of course it is embarrassing even in modern India.
To avoid this embarrassment, they smile at you(a stranger) and expect the same from you too.
I got to know about this from my friends here and now I am implementing.

Smile brings health too. It makes you good looking.

Here, women are well respected. A man is expected to give way, hold the door open, let women go first (out of an elevator for example) etc,.
And we don't find things like "It's our custom to respect women. Let them sit in the seats reserved for them" written any where in USA.

Here I remind you...

"USA" = "Tomball area of Houston" for Ramanadha Reddy as of today.

We find our guys occupying seats reserved for ladies in city-busses and make them stand.

In India we feel like "It is our responsibility to ask and to know what our neighbors do for a living, and about their spouse, children etc.."
No body bothers here.

Here I must admit, I am always interested to know what my neighbor does.
But I haven't asked her (she is living alone, can a woman do this in India?). Probably I am not supposed to.

I have been to a place called "Palo Duro Canyon" near Amarillo, more than a 600 miles away from Houston. More than 12 hours journey.
Please see the album under photos tab.
What I learnt and what I had to learn in this trip?

I learnt map-reading.

I am given a map and given the seat next to the driver.
I am designated as "the navigator" of the van of six guys (See the photos).
I am supposed to tell the driver how to proceed.

Of course I have experienced guys with me to help when needed.
But I tried to avoid their help as much as possible.

It's really good to do such jobs.
Entering a city and leaving out of it to join the right highway towards our destination...real fun.
I must say some thing new here.
Like in India you don't find people on road to ask directions. And you don't need to. Because ...
All the roads are numbered and directions are marked properly.

Traffic system is perfect.
People have traffic sense even if they are drunk. It's in their blood, it seems.
Thinking about Hyderabad city traffic? Stop it.

American convention.

Americans have a convention. If you want to open a door and the door knob is horizontal, push it. If vertical pull it.

Amazing thing I noticed is ...

"Reserved parking places for the physically-challenged, at every public place".
Americans respect and they are considerate to the people who are physically challenged.
Americans make PHCs feel good about themselves. Some thing to learn? Let's accept it.

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