Wednesday, November 11, 2009


As a first generation immigrant, it is inevitable to constantly compare the life outside and inside India. My daughter goes to school and it is also inevitable that I constantly compare her school experience with my own schooling experience. Here are the random list of things which I like in USA and which I miss from India on very regular basis. This will give idea to many people in India what to expect when going out. One thing is certain, that you need to be very open to understand why certain things are the way they are, and don't start blaming to everything which doesn't seem the way it seemed in India. The list is in no particular order.

- First of all, I am really happy to get a chance to see different countries and people. This experience made me richer in every way.

- I like the cleanliness in all the countries I have visited or lived (List is long: Israel, Russia, Germany, France, Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, USA). Streets, buses, trains, restaurants, toilette, you name it and it is much cleaner than it is anywhere in India. No, don't blame Indian climate (Israel has very hot, sandy and dusty climate too). I think it needs real efforts from people and government to keep the city clean. I miss garbage cans in Indian streets at regular intervals and I think there should be serious campaign to educate people about the cleanliness. We also have high density of population which makes it very hard, but still there is scope of improvement.

- I miss people, food and clothes from India. I miss my friends and easy atmosphere of chatting at workplace. Even though I eat Indian food, it doesn't taste the same as it does in India. I also hate dressing dull, boring top and Jeans everyday. I miss variety. I don't like that everybody has to dress black all the time to look cool. I miss colors. I miss dressing cotton, silk in beautiful colors and shades. I miss warm weather.

- I love the fact that as a 5 year old, my daughter has much more opportunity and exposure to learn different things than I had or normally kids in India have. She has excess to rich library in her school which has thousands of books appropriate to her age. These are story books, books about science, mathematics, nature and animals. There are poetry books exactly for her age. She has exposure to Bharatnatyam, piano, belle or any other sports she would like to play. She can go for ice skating in winter and playground everyday in summer and fall. She has seen Indian culture and western culture and this makes her richer in experience. She can appreciate the different things from different culture. She has seen many countries so probably will not have fancy ideas about the culture and countries. She has exposure to Indian music and western music. And no, she doesn't hear the stupid nonsense that Indian music is all spiritual and western music is superficial.

- I like that I live in very international community inside the university campus. Its very enriching experience. Not all the Indian people are nice, as well not all the people from other countries are unapproachable. I have been able to make a good balance of friends from different parts of the world with whom I meet on regular basis to sit, chat and eat.

- There are libraries, theaters and museums around. There are forest reserves around where you can walk. There are botanical garden and nature conservatory around. There are museum devoted to insects, bugs and science around.

- I like the efficiency of system and you really enjoy your work whatever you do, whether you are scientist, doctor, lawyer or anyone else. Professional opportunities in USA are incredible and you will have all chances of growth. Politics at workplace is everywhere, but somehow system allows you concentrate on the work as well. You will spend less energy for fighting on trivial issues (although it does happen and don't expect that human being are anyway different everywhere), but you can avoid that if you want.

- I like the fact that almost all the information about anything is available online.

- I like the fact that if tomorrow I decide that I want to quit science and do something else in life, there is no restriction. I can enter university again to study whatever I want and start a new career, or I can do something else. People are more flexible about these things and almost all the work is respected, that makes easier for people to decide what they actually want to do. There is a piano teacher in my neighborhood who earns equivalent to a professor in the university.

- As I mention in my previous posts, bureaucracy is generally more efficient. That means you will have less hassles for any kind of routine work.

- and finally it matters that you start liking wherever you live. There are pros and cons of every place, its all a matter of being comfortable with oneself and one's surrounding.

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