Sunday, January 25, 2009

Top ten mis-conceptions about the US

And yes, the saviour is here! Let me try and sort out some mis-conceptions that we, Indians possibly had about the United States -

1. The streets are always clean like a polished mirror
This is something that I had always wanted to be done better in India until I actually saw the underlying expectation and New York. To put it clean and straight, it was better but it wasn't very different from our roads in Bombay, Chennai or any of the metro cities. I believe that population is the key factor in contributing to the un-cleanliness of a place more than anything else. Any village in Kerala would easily match your conception of cleanliness and pro-nature.

2. People are financially strong enough to support themselves
Another revelation! There is always a strong contention for the job of begging all around the world. Fifteen minutes into the heart of New York would tell you that. I even saw a huge billboard saying "Almost 40% of New Yorkers have to choose between food and medication". WE are running a race buddy!

3. Hoodies are COOL fashion garments
The next time I hear someone saying this, I'll be more than glad to throw a punch right on their face. Well, that applies to anyone wearing a hoodie in central-southern India too. We, Indian's have adopted hoodies as fashionable elements to ones wardrobe just to appear "COOL" (thanks to SRK and bollywood). However hoodies are designed to save the exposed parts of your body - face, neck, hands from an impending amputation surgery.

4. Employment benefits are way too good
The exchange rates are to blame here - imagine paying Rs.80 ($2 - a very conservative comparison) for a pack of chips. You could eat a couple of full course meals with that in India. The age old mantra still stays afloat - Earn in Dollars, spend in Rupees.

5. People are self-centered
Well, who isn't ? I found as a fact that people in India are no less self-centered. Perhaps the media here projects only those wacky bunch just to keep us interested? I actually found the people there to be very nice, polite and professional there.

6. Subway systems are highly sophisticated
Perhaps I am making an unfair comparison here- NY subway system has been in vogue for a hundred years and infinitely complex to maintain. But for a fact, subways in calcutta are way better and cleaner.

7. There are sprawling green meadows
Bollywood, bollywood! If its winter season and they show you sprawling green meadows, its probably some place in the Hawaiian islands or Conoor that you are seeing. For one thing, Mother Nature has been so benevolent on India - the climate is so moderate and conducive to the survival of all life forms.

8. You don't get vegetarian food
That was a scary proposition that was proved wrong the moment I landed there - there are ample options (and very tasty ones too) for vegetarians! You even have vegetarian burgers (Burger King - BK Veggie) if you want one :)

9. Brown people get stared at
Yes, the only people who stare at you are Indians! And the stare ends up with an expression of surprise - every one of us thinks he is the only Indian out there!! A watchword here though - Italians look exactly like Indians, so watch out for that before you start off showing your prowess with Hindi.

10. Concrete Jungle - there are sky scrapers everywhere
For a change, Hollywood is at fault here - Every hollywood movie that you see right from Godzilla to Mars attacks shows you nothing but Manhattan!! Manhattan is the only place in US that is strewn with skyscrapers. There are ample farm lands, parks, forest reserves and mountain ranges in other parts of US.