Life Pages

US vs. India

Its a never ending riddle, US or India? The biggest question that the desis face in the United States of America! Ideal would be a perfect blend of both.

Looking back… Year 2006, in the month of February, after getting married, I came here and felt immediately lonely, the only voices that I could hear during the day was of machines, be it laundry, vacuum, heater or the refrigerator! I used to wait all day to TALK with my new new husband who to my despair was too tired to even notice me in the evenings! I realized how expectations can play with feelings 🙂 I had high temper then, got easily frustrated and missed my family terribly. But throughout this years I have learned a lot – patience, not taking myself too seriously, lowering my expectations by being buddies more than a couply couple and much more from my darling husband and of course a lot from US too. Now I can’t tell you that he will vouch for all of these – I call them ‘happy relationship virtues’ that I believe I have gained but I am cool with that!

He has taught me to be confident about myself with so much faith that he has in me. Staying in US has brought up that confidence a notch up! The people here view women very differently. One of my colleagues has 3 boys, she went for another kid just because she wanted a girl, I repeat, she WANTED a GIRL! My manager has 3 girls and he proudly says it, one proud father he is! I have seen a lot of respect for women here… no wonder one automatically feels free, independent and confident!

Coming back to Shaunak, he taught me to drive with the rules here, I was extremely lucky to have such a patient teacher. He suggested that even though I didn’t have a visa then, I should work voluntarily which fetched me a nice recommendation letter! I did my MBA here with Shaunak & Shamil’s support. The oldest student in one of my classes was 80 years old. I can never imagine anyone 80 years old to be so enthusiastic about studying in India. I learned to call people by names unlike ‘sir’ for the boss, ‘teacher’ for teachers and even elders by their names, seems like there is no age bar, no ego, no Mr. That brings a certain comfort level I must say! I noticed that all the elderly people here dress up so well and enjoy their lives. Their life does not revolve around their kids or gossiping about their bahus, they are just worried about their own looks and about how they want to spend their days doing what they like. When Shaunak and I went for Salsa dancing classes, we saw many elderly people there and that too having loads of fun while dancing, doing what they had always aspired to do but could not do earlier because of other priorities and commitments.

The weather here is just ugh, as they rightly say, you cannot trust the 3 Ws in US – wife, weather and I can’t recall the third lol! Never knew what migraines were until I came here. Cleanliness, hygiene is excellent. No trash or dust on roads, no littering and people follow rules since they are punished by ‘mamas’ here if they don’t. Everything needs to be done by no one but you, there is no helping hand though everything is easy but still you have to do it. Two disadvantages, it consumes time and energy and what if you are sick? However the advantages are that you are completely independent, you learn, you also learn to assemble things, taking ownership and it does give you a sense of achievement and satisfaction once done. No kaamvali janjat. You get surprised when a doorbell rings here, who came in without notifying? In India, you would be surprised if the doorbell does not ring! Aaje jaate kaam karvu pale evu laage chhe, khabar nai kaamvaala ben kem nai aavya…blah blah blah. But in a way its good there that you get to meet people!

The divorce rate is quite high here but I see no wrong in that, if two people are not happy together then there is nothing wrong in being separate rather than spoiling their entire lives living unhappily. Indian kids are smarter, MBA in India was way more fun, more educative, more interactive with more outside projects than indoor projects confined to the computer and classes. Looking at the toddlers in Renaisha’s daycare to be, they don’t respond as much. My math and spellings have gotten weaker after I got here, I now have to use a calculator for simple calculations every now and then. And every time I do that, I think what is wrong with me?

But above all the good things here, I still yearn for India, my family and friends there, the festivals, the colors, the noise, the gossipy people, the yummy good, people on roads whom one can ask for directions, pani puri and gathiyas on the roadside and so much more. My heart is completely drawn there – even more so now – so that I can spend time with my lovely daughter Renaisha! I will stop here for now today and continue jotting down my thoughts on this big riddle of India vs USA later. Adios, good night 🙂


Bird's Eyeview

January 31, 2021