Thursday, October 7, 2010

Different people, whole new perspective

I don't talk a lot. People who know me very well also know that I do not talk a lot. I do end up with discussions and debated about wide range of topics once I am provoked. Provoking me here means bringing up interesting topics; topics can range from music to geography to current affairs to books to history but NO NO to gossips and chit-chats.

I have met interesting people here; when we start talking; our conversations amuse each other. Interesting I say is because I meet people from different parts of the world. America is a melting pot; Indians, Chinese, Mexicans, Europeans, Japanese, Vietnamese all live in harmony. Oh! By the way, they are proud to be Americans now. I do end up getting an idea and a whole new perspective about people; their thoughts and ideas. Here are few of my encounters.

I visited a good friend's home. The lady of the house took great care of me. She would check on me so that I was comfortable at all level - regular rice or basmati? Tea or coffee? Sugar or sweetener? How about the room temperature? They made me so comfortable that I forgot I was a guest in their home. I did not feel that I was meeting them for the first time. They are in USA for a very long time. I gathered some interesting information while conversing with them.

Job in a bank is the a respected one in India; its opposite in USA.
A vet's profession is more nobler and is tougher to graduate in vet medicine. 

I met with a lady at the Karoke show I attended with my friend. She was decked up in Indian jewelery and was draped in a Saree. Most of the ladies were decked up just like her. She came up to me and asked me "So what do you think about us dressing this way?" There!! We started talking.

I said "Its wonderful to see you all dressed up in Indian wear. I am sorry I had no other choice than wearing my trousers and top because this is what I got from India. I did not get even a salwar suit. I had my apprehensions and asked Shyam (pointing to my friend) and he said it was alright". She said that most times its trousers and shirt to work and whenever they get a chance they make sure they dress well. What was interesting was when she said this - "I feel my fashion sense is obsolete whenever I go back to India once in 2 years. I feel my dresses are out of fashion. India is keeping up with fashion and people there are so fashionable. The girls and guys know whats in and whats hot"

I told her "It so happens people tend to pick up the latest in market. A ultra low hip trouser goes out of fashion in 2 years. But fashion is what you are comfortable with. So dont worry. You are looking gorgeous"

The same sentiment was echoed by another lady whose home I visited. We went out to buy some clothes to give it away for the coming Navrathri. The salwar suits and tops that I saw were all out of fashion couple of years ago in India.  But that's what is available here. Does it take 2 years to ship clothes :-S No wonder these poor folks feel awkward when they visit India and wear Indian outfits.

A colleague of mine who happens to be a Vietnamese took me out for lunch the other day. The conversation involved around property rates, the lifestyle and such. Both of us during the course of discussion discovered many similarities with culture and tradition and mind set. His mom never let his brother marry a girl who was his neighbor as it would mean conversion. She was a Catholic and they Buddhists. She was insecure that her son would leave her alone. We discussed about dowry, discrimination, families. We discussed about Indian men; their mind set; liberty of women and so on. I could see wide range of expressions and reactions on his face from chuckle to smile to surprise to shock. He got a whole new perspective of India and Indians.

Got introduced to an American by a mutual friend. We went on a picnic; got to know that he served in the US army and while in Japan, he married a Japanese lady.  He looked way too young for his age; not only to look; he was so swift and agile for his age. I felt like a grandma. While talking about his family;

I asked him "Do you have kids?"

"No. We have a cat" he replied promptly.

I and my friends just exchanged looks and after we parted; we joked how nice to be born as a CAT in USA :-)

 A short conversation with a Japanese friend who was my colleague in my previous organization revealed she is with the organization for 35 years now. And when I worked with her, I was just 3 year in the industry and we worked as a peer. There are many such veterans here who are at ease to work with  novices as me. They dont throw their price by calling themselves seniors nor do they try to dominate over. When we were talking; I was pleasantly surprised to know that she is with the same company for 35 years and I mentioned that my age was not anywhere close to her experience. She was like "Oh no!! I am feeling old" and we started laughing.

She is a Japanese-American, born and raised here in US. She was sharing her experience on her first visit to Japan. Ladies were expected to be polite and they did not make their presence felt. She felt it weird when ladies tried to occupy minimal space in elevators literally sticking against the wall. She felt it weird when she used to laugh out loud and when other women around her just chuckled and when they did laugh, closed their mouth with their palm and controlled laughing.

 Another one whom I went out on lunch with was shocked to hear that I could speak 6 Indian languages. He is from Ghana but American now. When I mentioned the diversity of our country on the basis of languages, food, region and culture; he said "Oh! I thought Africa was worse"

He could not comprehend when I mentioned I am considered on the darker side in India and fairer women are preferred. He was like "You should talk about my color to them"

I explained the intricacies of eating with hands; why use right hand to eat. Gave a demonstration of eating a Roti using fingers; he went gaga seeing me tear the roti using my fingers of right hand.

He was surprised to hear about the age women generally get married and how tough it becomes for them if they cross their "marriageable" age.

I admire a Chinese-American colleague who is so dedicated and dot on time for everything, for lunch, for tea. I looked up in awe when another American colleague had 30+ years of experience working for the same team and showed me her own yacht. She just takes off on her own and goes deep diving.

Its nice to talk to people and learn about their practices and culture. You feel important when you try explaining them your ways and about your country. Its a nice experience to collaborate with them and get a new perspective.

PS : Took a break from my Costa Rica saga so that I don't bore you and me as well. Will continue it later. I am off to a new country tomorrow. Don't be jealous. I deserve it :-) 


  1. Different people, different perspectives..
    U can make a rainbow of colors if u visit 7 different places in ur home town. Traveling in other countries is something that sure has an altogether different experience.
    I haven't been anywhere outside India and so can't say about people from other places, but I can make a collage in my society where I live.
    Be it American, Japanese, Chinese, African or any other fellow, you will feel the change.

    Have a safe journey and click a lot of photographs.

    New country again...:)



  2. Now, that was a veritable feast ! It is like an Onam Sadya and I am at a loss which to start with!

    # New country? I thought I will never be jealous of anyone, but you are making me lose my composure!

    # 7 Indian languages? What have you been DOING with your life?!!

    # Hmmm, watch out for that Ghanian! Don't go out with him any more, hmmm!

    # Vietnam isn't really very far from India, is it?

    # You have painted a pathetic picture of the 'Pravasi' Indian ladies! Felt sorry for them! :)

    # There goes my dream of migrating to Amerrrica! We bankers are an unrecognized lot!

    It has been great, reading your piece. Keep on meeting many people, going to many places - and writing about it all. I will be saving a lot of money!

  3. Very good observation. And, a nice experience for you. You are correct. America is a melting pot. I am glad you met a lot of interesting people. Off to a new country? What could it be? A big surprise for your readers?

  4. Insignia,

    Forget about foreigners, even I'm shocked you know six Indian languages! :O Which are they? Perhaps, five south Indian languages including Tulu plus Hindi?

    This was a very, very interesting post! I'd been avoiding your travelogue, thinking it would be boring. But turns out I could wrong. :D

    BTW, I've switched over to WordPress. So, please do update your blog roll/subscription. :)

    "I have a cat" was the best. :) I'd heard of something similar before, and initially I laughed, but I also felt that was a more honest position to take. It seems, many couples (when they're not pressurized by their parents) go in for child when they get bored with their married life! I'd discussed something slightly related in my post titled - 'Ethics in tangents: part 2'.

    Enjoy and take care!

  5. @Insignia

    Nice one. People always have something in common, something to talk about and be comfortable doing it. It is important not to hurt the sentiments while doing so. Different cultures, different ethics, but the same core; the heart:)

  6. Loved reading this post.I also observed that in US people stay in one job for long years and I think it is same in Europe also. I think may be because they are satisfied with their life.

  7. Very true, when we travel beyond our boundaries and meet people from other regions, culture . language. faith etc the perspective we hold changes dramatically.

    I loved the piece on the VETS. It is true that the West values life be it man or animal in a different perspective. Here VETS are the folks who fail to enter Medical schools that are meant to churn out physicians for human beings.
    ( You must have read James Harriot books, what special value they give for animal life!)
    And a word of caution beware the Ghanaian,, ha ha h!!

    How do you manage to live with the same woman at the office and at home, isn't it a bore? asked a German woman referring to I and C working together and living married.

    Also watch people from a distance, while at the airport or restaurants etc It will be real enjoyment, their mannerism, gesticulations etc.

    Keep enjoying your trip.And honestly the Costarican expedition was not a boring narrative.

  8. just read a piece about a baptist church group opposing yoga in US and then your wonderful post which embraces diversity..vallah..proud to be human being..

  9. People never cease to amuse, no matter which part of the world they come from. The cultures vary but the basic human nature is the same everywhere, isn't it? And off on another trip so soon? Write about it, ok? :)

  10. Jealousy, Not at all.Enjoy and share what you see. take care.

  11. the most interesting topic you could have chosen! I love to read and write about people..they interest me the most..and meeting new people with such diverse interests and cultures is indeed something..I loved the post..

    have fun on the well deserved vacation..I envy you!!

  12. New country again? Man! I envy you.

    This is a great post. Reading about different people and their thoughts is always interesting.

  13. Nipun,

    Yes, interacting with people with different cultural background sure gives a whole new perspective. I have had the chance to meet people from different countries and its nice :-)

    Yeah, different country again :-D

  14. Balan,

    I havent had Onam Sadya yet!!! Now when would I be invited!!!

    # New country :-P Hahahaha I know

    # What have I been DOING with life? it and learning more!!

    # You know I didnt even look at his direction after that lunch :-)

    # Yeah, south east Asians are all the same

    # I really feel very sorry for the Indian ladies here

    # Yes, migrate!!

    Now that most of them have liked this post, I will write a part 2 :-)
    I am glad that I am helping you save lot of money :-)

  15. That's awesome experience and exposure. Meeting such diverse thoughts and people surely broadens our horizon and shows us an altogether new perspective!!
    Thanks for sharing :)
    Have a great time exploring and experiencing!
    Cheers :)


    I accidentally clicked the Delete instead of Publish. Your comment is lost it seems. I apologize.

    Coming to talk about the experience and exposure; yes it broadens your perspective. You dont end up a frog in the well. You appreciate the diversity and learn to adapt quickly. You know what to expect and how to behave.

    Thank you, glad you liked this post.

  16. SG,

    Thank you. Its a wonderful experience. Off to a new country and its a surprise.

  17. Ketan,

    Yeah you guessed it right :-)

    Oh I am glad you read this. I will have a part 2 next. :-) Interacting with so very different people! its phew!!

    Oh yes I saw your post about the switch. I should update my blog roll.

    "I have a cat" was so honest and serious. The cat was very much part of their family and I liked the importance the cat got and I was envious of it for sure!!

    :-) Take care

  18. kish,

    Yeah they do have lot in common yet they are different. :-) Now yeah its important to see that we dont hurt others.

  19. Samvdena,

    Thank you. Yeah they do stick to the same job for years :-)

  20. anil,

    Yes, we get to know so many things. A wider horizon to things we would never know even if we read.

    Yes, life is gien utmost important. Why else do you have safety instructions everywhere, the importance given to people with physical disabilities and fire lanes everywhere. Thats one important thing that India lacks.

    The Ghanian, I didnt even see in his direction after that encounter :-D

    Yeah, the concept of living with the same person is surprising to westerners.

    Oh yes, I observe a lot. Will write soon about it as well. Thanks, you are sweet for saying that the Costa Rican expedition was not boring. I didnt want to overdose the readers. I will surely continue on that.

  21. Ramesh,

    Oh yes, you cant find global diversity anywhere else than you would find it here in US. Its really nice. :-)

  22. Destiny's child,

    Yeah yeah. Humans are the most interesting creatures. Yeah sure, I shall write about my next exploration.

  23. chitra,

    So sweet of you. I will surely share with you all.

  24. Neha,

    :-) Thank you. I know how much you are obsessed with analyzing people. My next post is a continuation as well. You will surely enjoy. Vacation...yeah :-)

    You should take one sooner!

  25. Harini,

    Which country? Wait and watch.

    Thank you, glad you liked it. Its really interesting to converse with people from different countries and learning about what they think and their perspective.

  26. America at its best....different people, different opinion....

  27. hey,

    that roti incident was ludicrous. :D

    that american with cat reminded me of my encounter with a couple from Virginia, and how happy they were without any child. That too when their age was way beyond my parent's age. :D

    another country..??
    I am sure 'the national geographic adventures' would continue there too.
    bring it on, bring it on :)

  28. Loved reading this post.I also observed that in US people stay in one job for long years and I think it is same in Europe also.

  29. Super Like! beautiful One! and more kinda people you meet more you will get to know about their culture and get closer to your own culture! I have seen madness in people about Indians, it surely gives us a sense of elevation and importance! and in the end of it, deep down we all are same :) Go Global! ;)

  30. How awesome ! How awesome ! Soak in and enjoy the experience !

    Keep writing about it for us to keep a tab too !!


  31. Boy! dont u learn so much when u travel??..amazing.Meeting new people is the best thing..!!

  32. And what did my friend say when she parted ways with boyfriend,"Thank God. No Kids. It's just the dogs. My friend will take in the elder one and the young will be taken by the neighbour"

    People across cultures are interesting.

  33. You're really a globe-trotter aren't you?! :) Somehow I feel you ought to be on one of these travel shows..Ever given it a thought?

    I'm so surprised that a banker isn't a respectable profession in US.

  34. Wonderful to see the different perspectives through your eyes. And yeah, irrespective of creed, colour, race or religion, each person is different with a unique point of view and perhaps that's what keeps the blog world rolling:)

    Another country? You're indeed going places, aren't you!

  35. WHOAA....seems like a trip of lifetime!! :)
    I am waiting for more updates!!

  36. like the narration
    enjoyed it reading

  37. Anurag,

    Thank you. Yeah, children is due to choice and not by pressure in the west.

    Another country!! yeah!! :-)

  38. The cost of....

    Thank you. Yes, job hopping is never heard of in the US.

  39. Shesha,

    Thanks so much. Exactly, you get a broader perspective meeting different people. :-)

  40. Kavi,

    :-D Thank you ...thank you. :-) I am really enjoying it.
    :-) Sure thing, I will continue sharing

  41. Madhu,

    Yes, we do. So I recommend traveling :-)

  42. Holy Lama,

    Hahahaha how awesome. :-) They are interesting and of course shock you :-)

  43. lostworld,

    :-D hehehehe doing my bit :D
    You know, I have mentioned the same in one of my tags. I want to become a travel show host :-) Get paid to travel!!!

    I always think about it; but how!!!

    Investment bankers are respected a lot; not the regular ones. :-)

  44. RGB,

    :-) Thanks. Yes!! these are food for writing :-) Sharing what you learn something new is good. Yeah, went places...very soon will get back to my normal routine

  45. Pratik,

    :-) Yeah sort of :-) Only thing is I keep doing such trips :-)
    Updates on the way soon.

  46. =) haha america, i llive there. I live in chicago, il, very diverse and sadly one of the most racist cities ever.

  47. Laky,

    Welcome to B Log. :-)

    Oh sad! I have not visited Chicago yet. Maybe sometime in future.

  48. Its great to have so much different experiences in a different place. You've got like pages n pages to blog about :)

    The thing about your narration is that you don't even miss the finest details. Do you keep notes? People like me would just forget whatever happened and will have only a vague line of happenings to write about :D

    New countries, eh! I wish I had to chance to visit atleast new cities!

  49. et,

    Its really a rich experience. You will know the world only when you travel. It was a learning experience for me. I have lot to write about :-)

    Oh thanks, I dont keep notes. you know I have mentioned that I have a photographic memory; so dont forget anything :-) Thats how I can write even the finest details.

    You should travel when you get a chance.

    Take care


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