Saturday, August 21, 2010


Nothing can get more pathetic than being 17 hours non stop on a flight. Adding 5 more hours of first flight and the transit.

Jet lagged and tired, mentally bruised and battered; landed at SFO at 1.15 PM local time which is an unearthly hour in India where I would have slept cuddled like a baby!!

1.5 more hours in immigration and baggage collection and finally when I checked into the hotel and entered my room, I hit the bed, literally!

Long flight journey is one thing. The air sickness, pressure difference, that cold and bland food, dehydration. At the end of it all, you feel pale and lifeless, groggy eyes, chapped lips, bloodless skin.......

My first encounter of getting treated indifferently(read discrimination) was at the Dubai airport. Its not something new, it seems to be a norm. Indians are treated with some sort of indifference thanks to the infamous impression that we lack civic sense and discipline. Sad but true. Coming to the getting indifferently treated part; I wanted to use the rest room before taking my flight to San Francisco.

The queue was long. As I was waiting, a janitor pointed towards me and said "There is a toilet free. A squatting one; I think you could use it". Hmmmmm now all I wanted was to use a toilet, never mind if it was the Western or the Indian. You may ask what was indifferent here. Nothing was until this. When I was out of the toilet, a white woman wanted to use the toilet. The janitor warned her "Its a squatting one. You may not want to use it"

What the heck? Anyway, I have always ignored such things. My next encounter of being treated indifferently was in the flight. My request was ignored by the attendants. Now I am not sure if it was unintentional or not.

It was once again time to move from IST to PDT. Once again time to get used to right-hand traffic, priority to right of way, yield, priority to pedestrians, freeway and expressway. Once again; start stopping at compulsory stop, stop at pedestrian xing,  use specific lanes for carpools. Once again time to brush up the forgotten facts that switches work opposite, fridge doors that open the other way, walk paths and hash browns and large trucks. Once again time to start greeting strangers and stop jaywalking.

To admire preference given to people with physical disabilities; at the cinema hall, at hotels, in the metro services; special parking areas for them.

Welcome to America where you see signs as these and sigh! when do we get to see such signs in India


  1. hm hm, I know how you hit the bed :P and the car too :P :P now i can understand how jet lagged you must be..even my post didn't make u sleep :P

    discrimination - no comments..I know Indians who discriminate between north indians n south indians..I have given u their links too where they speak about it..then who are we to blame others?

  2. hey good to hear u reached SF safely...discrimination? at dubai airport? hey i am not opening my mouth..dear friend neha wrote it so well abt discrimination in chennai when i talked in hindi, i was laughed at..when i reached mumbai, they called me madrasi..well..pat neha pat to u..let charity begin at home..

  3. Neha,

    :-P The Car. My friend was more concerned about the car than me :-S

    Your post didnt make me wink even a bit. That jet lagged I am.

    True. When we face it in our own territory, we better endure it outside as well. Thats why I said I have always ignored such things. :-)

  4. Ramesh,

    Yes boss. Safe and sound :-)

    Absolutely!! its nothing new you see!

  5. Though I have never been to a foreign country, have heard a lot about discrimination against Indians...have also heard that the American Indians are also quite apathetic toward their Indian brothers (don't know how much of it is true though)...
    And as far as signs as the one in the pic is concerned, I also hope to see it in India soon! :)
    Can you please provide me with the link of Neha's post about discrimination in India. Though I follow her blog, I am too lazy to browse it all! :P

  6. aw it can be so long and awful.

    i agree esply on the physically challenged and fines..but on discrimination, well it could have been just that they might not have used it so not that comfortable..
    have to agree with Ramesh on this one.

    on flight attendants , depnds on the airlines. but there are bigots everywhere, not just in India or usa:)

  7. How r u now? hope u slept of urself n enjoy! I m waiting for ur travelogue on SF eagerly :)

  8. Niket,

    Hmm discrimination happens in our own country. Why blame others? But it just becomes obvious outside and we sort of accept it as normal when it happens in India. To speak the truth, there is no worse discrimination against Indians than in India.

    I will surely provide the link on Neha's post. Watch this space for the same

  9. WD,

    This was my longest non stop ever. Other lines do have a transit; this one didnt have.

    The toilet discrimination; I agree to you; but yet; the way the janitor spoke; plus her body language said it all :-)

    I cant give the magnitude and effect by words :-) Oh I chucked the frustration on those flight attendant then and there.

  10. G3,

    Im fine fine. How are you doing? I am sleeping at odd hours but will manage. :-)

    Thanks a lot dear. I would definitely have lots to share with you. :-)

  11. very well written
    thanks for sharing the experience.

  12. You must have had some jet lag. How are u now?

  13. Harini,

    Yes gal. Jet lagged for sure. I am trying my best to get out of it. Need to go to office tomorrow :-)

  14. Why blame the world if others treat us like second class?
    The lack of civic sense is in us deeply set. Even a backward country( In the economic sense) like Zambia respects Pedestrians and the right of passage.
    So let us try to enjoy the treatment with a difference we get elsewhere.

  15. Hi

    I have to echo what neha said .. here in muscat i get the indifferent treatment often and then there is the discrimination between ppl frm different states, truely a sad situation. Try to fly first class for air sickness try the new wristbands. Eat half a tablet of a good sleeping pill just 6-7 hours before landing believe me it works.

  16. all in all you reached safely is the whole point :)

    how many days before you're back to the left hand traffic ;)

    went for work,is it ?

  17. anil,

    Not blame, but feeling sad.
    True, we are the reason for this mess. Lack of civic sense, lack of discipline and courtesy, lack of etiquette...the list is endless.

  18. scarlet pimpernel,

    Exactly. We usually dont tend to realize it back at home isnt it? Its worse out there but we have accepted it as a norm. Only when we get such mild indifferent treatment outside, that we realize

    Oh yeah air sickness; this was the first time I had. Flew Emirates and 17 was pretty long hours. Singapore, Lufthansa and others dont fly such long non stop!! The fag end got into me!!

    Should try the sleeping pill :-)

  19. Nu,

    :-D Yes. Would take a couple of months before I get back.

    Work; I shall start tomorrow.

  20. Whoa!! u actually in DUBAI! Sheiks and arabs everywhere no? Good u reached safely. After all the plane scares we get to hear!! Gosh!!

    India,can never be like that..because we are taught not to be like that!! Grr! When will we learn is the question!

  21. Jet leg remains for another 15 days:)..I feel anger if i am ignored by service people anywhere abroad,because when we are paying for it, we deserve it.

  22. Yes, we are discriminated against in large parts of the world for we ourselves are to be blamed.
    Dont we see a similar or may be worse kind of discrimination back home.?

  23. hmm intha mathiri its there in our country itself , ungaluku oru advice..."Ignore" , thats an easy answer to a very complicated task but just my suggestion as we goto a Foreign nation and there are 1000's of our countrymen who exploit their workin models and visa's, no wonder they get annoyed. Seri me n my mokai pilospoy... nala sleep, aparama post panunga :)

  24. Very nice you reached there. All the best of luck to you.

    $1000 fine, nice one. We don't know when we will see these hoardings in India. It's needed.

    About discrimination, NO Comments. Even it is happening in all the corners of our country.

    Best of luck to you.

  25. So you are in SF now, wonderful. You will learn lot of things, get rich experience and you have an audience waiting here to read all the stuff, keep sharing. Enjoy your stay.

  26. We lack civic sense. It's our fault solely but still it hurts to face discrimination and indifferent treatment. We must change. Then only our image change. Anyway, what is PDT?

  27. This is so very well written! Really!! You have expressed what you felt, effortlessly.

    With your ending line, I too ad an ending line that I wish India becomes so disciplined, neat, clean, safe, ..., much more, soon. I want to say that I live in an area where humans live, not just another non-sense species.

  28. i guess u reached the states .. take care of uself and be good

  29. Madhu,

    No I am in San Francisco. I hope India changes :-)
    Hope is all we have.

  30. Samvedna,

    I make sure jet lag goes away in 2 days :-)
    Cant afford to have a 2 week lag when you have to attend office
    Yeah we pay for it just like any others, but we dont get treated on par with others. What to do!

  31. Chowla sir,

    Absolutely! I agree. We see worse situations back in our own home.

  32. Hary,

    Yes, advice? Thanks pa. As I mentioned, thats exactly what I do. Ignore!!
    You brought out an interesting point. Misuse of work models and visa. No wonder Malaysia has stopped giving visa on arrival for Indians due to this misuse. Its so pathetic!


  33. Naidu sir,

    Thank you sir. Met Gautam as well :-)
    I dont know if India will have such heavy fine for littering.

  34. chitra,

    Yes. SF is a beautiful city, always fascinates me. I am not exactly in SF, 40 miles away from it in the Silicon Valley.

    I would share my experiences for sure :-)

  35. ajay,

    Yes we do. PDT is Paific Day Time. the time zone for states like CA and Nevada. The day light saving is on, so its PDT, else its PST - Pacific Standard Time

  36. Bhavesh,

    Thank you. I wish the same for India as well. :-)

  37. Hope you are not letting these irritating things bother (I know they do!) you much... have a great time!!
    Cheers :)

  38. Shilpa,

    Oh no I ignore them :-)

    Thank you.


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