Update: I removed a few lines that I did not think were ok here.
I thought I will wait for a month before I pen my first impressions on America rather than writing a post immediately. Here are a few things I noted down about the place.
About a year ago, there was survey conducted about politeness and Indians turned out to be the most rude people. After traveling to Japan and being here for nearly two months, I must say with a heavy heart that it is true. You are always greeted with a smile every place you visit. Millions of ‘thank you’s and ‘sorry’s may sound artificial initially but its surely better than frowns you receive back home in a government offices.
Academia is very friendly towards students. Much more than in India.
Back in IITM, in my last year, there was circular sent saying student have to be in exam hall at 8:50 for 9:00 am exam. It was more of a guideline everyone thought. When 3rd year mech. students (I was in 4th year then) made it at 8:55, they were not allowed to write the test for 30 minutes. Thats the difference in attitude in two counties. HOD of Mech, IITM has no right to complain of brain drain. You can’t expect students to be obedient enough to stay back in iitm after being treated indifferently.
When is comes to paper work, this place is no better than India. We still need to carry paper from one department to another to get things done. But at each place, work get done in quick time as all the tasks are computer based. My friend lost his passport after coming here. The assistance he received from Indian Embassy was pathetic. He complained that no one spoke to him in English in Washington embassy. Any English he spoke was not responded to. He had to run around DC and NYC and several hundred bucks later, got his duplicate passport. Now, his I94 will take 2 more months. I guess its typical of Govt. offices to take such a long time.
Punctuality and road discipline:
Except on the days on foot ball (American foot ball), buses are always on time. To the last minute. You can always expect trains to be fast as they are computer handled, but these guys manage to run buses on time. Lane discipline is amazing too. Hardly anyone ever jumps a red light. When I drive in India, I always slow down even on a green signal because I “know” someone will jump the signal. It is scary initially when every vehicle zooms past an intersection on green light.
Earlier, about 6-7 years ago, buses in Bangalore used to be punctual despite the unpredictable traffic. I now don’t think it true after the population explosion of sorts in Bangalore.
Foot ball and Base ball:
They as big as cricket in India. A person who claims that base ball is a boring game and 2020 cricket is good is a hypocrite. I am sure most of Indian don’t follow base ball and simply pass a judgment. And American foot ball is a big craze here. I have seen people holding huge banner begging for tickets on weekends in this place. I wish to understand the game too. Thats one more thing to do on week ends.
A lot of people say that love for soccer is more than that for cricket because people who follow soccer also madly follow club soccer. But in India, the regional cricket is hardly followed by masses. One should realize that given the frequency of International Tournaments in Foot Ball, naturally other forms of soccer gain popularity.
International PresenceMy university does boast of international presence but 60-70% of international presence is made by Chinese and Indians. And talking about China, pub culture is looked doen upon just like in India. And also, there are a few Chinese who would love to have a sibling but cannot as it is illegal for couple to have more than one child. Coming back from CD trip as part of international orientation, a chinese girl was saying about many people deciding to stay in US because of one-child policy back home. My opinion: China’s dictatorship/ communism is just a ticking time bomb, Tienanmen’s square massacre was just a beginning. Also, I hope Burma get its independence soon. Walk On!
Trees change colour and shed their leaves. Until now these were true only in text books 🙂 But yeah … this place is damn green. I some how fail to understand the garden city title to Bangalore. Even 10 years back, it was never this green.
Dear god .. its so bland! Thankfully, we have all the spices at home to cook. Americans don’t have trouble understanding my accent, but every i say vegetarian, they ask me to repeat it. Indian food is expensive …. the restraunts call it “exotic” here.
Coming soon: Pics from NYC and DC and few other things i may have missed here