Top 10 Experiences In the United States
Neeraj Shinde Thursday, November 06, 2014 United States of America
Many of my close friends and acquaintances have been asking me about my experiences in the United States right after my first visit to this nation of Prosperity. More than the travel experience, I would like to emphasize on my people and cultural experiences in this post which I believe has left a significant impact on my mind esp. after my consecutive visits to the country. There are several great things that America should undoubtedly be proud of which includes their infrastructure, broad open freeways, ease of luxury, quality of lifestyle, their minimum wages practice and a broad open mindset to treat every individual with dignity. There are several things that I found intriguing while in the USA some of which I would like to pen down along with some other things for which I can only pity the Americans. Let us start with few good things first.
Treating Individuals with Dignity and Respect
No wonder the United States has strict laws in this matter and it is just not fair to mistreat your co-worker, individuals providing you household services, family member including a toddler or a random person on the street. Treating each other with respect irrespective of his/her creed, race or origin of birth or position at work is something taught to the American kids right since the tender age at schools. Unlike India, an average worker’s lifestyle is much more uplifted than his Indian counterpart. There is almost no discrimination of work in the United States. At work, you may have a top designation or a better job role but when it comes to treating individuals, it is always with dignity. At a workplace, every individual contribution is valued and respect for individuals is a major factor for a better productivity at a workplace. When it comes to Indians working at an American workplace, well, it really hurts for me to say that Indian Managers are the ones spoiling this culture. There seems to be a long way for them to get out of the Superiority complex given that at a workplace there is just a Senior-Junior relationship that prevails.
All these days I have been accepting random greets from strangers while at the workplace or while walking down the streets. This was unusual for an Indian like me where I have been seeing people in my country staring at strangers continually until he remains in the range of the visual contact yet reluctant to offer a smile. That is something me, being an Indian would like to be ashamed of. I am sure that Indians would try to evade this in the pretext of cultural differences but to all such guardians of Indian culture, I would just like to ask if it really costs to greet a random person you come across? Believe me, I had been away, lonely on the other part of the globe yet such gestures helped me pacify my loneliness and made me realize that I am not away from home. If we could just stop comparing ourselves with others and overcome our jealous mindsets, I am sure this is not that difficult. Today, we are so much engrossed with our self-centeredness that we easily label a person greeting you as crazy or an overfriendly weirdo. Something worth giving a thought!
The Road Belongs to Pedestrians First
I have never felt so privileged to walk on the street before. If you are a pedestrian, you will be treated like a God in the United States. No wonder, that there are strict laws and penalties if you hit a pedestrian or a construction worker which may go up to USD 10,000/- and imprisonment. Right since my childhood days, I have been taught to look over the right and the left before crossing a road. On the contrary, I have seen cars and trucks stopping several yards away to give me a way while crossing the street. Moreover, cars stop compulsorily at the STOP signs even though there are absolutely no pedestrians crossing the roads. I was really amazed to see the Zebra crossing rules really adhered and put to practice. Most of the times, I felt embarrassed to make so many vehicles halt on the roads just for me. Wish I could explain them that I am not used to such a royal treatment on the streets. What a regard for human life! Well, if not something to learn from, this is something of which most of the Middle East and Asian countries should be ashamed of.
|Millennium Park @ Chicago Downtown|
Feels like a Valued Citizen
No land on this planet is free of Crime but Certainly, being an American feels like a privilege when it comes to regard for human life. While in India, we keep on hearing victims dying of abuses, yet ignored by the authorities until it grabs a certain threshold of attention or attains a certain level of pressure on the authorities. Just call up the 911 helpline and boom there is a troop of Cops to escort you. Well, I did not have a practical experience of it but I really adore their readiness. Apart from this, the liberty of thoughts, liberty of beliefs and the freedom of life free of discrimination makes it one of the best countries to live in.
Mom does not know where to ask her Son to Eat
American food is the worst food in the world. Nonetheless, the Americans are fond of food, with numerous food joints, fast food chains and eatery options, what they are left behind with is a body loaded with extraneous fat craving for some more. When it comes to food, it is sad and true that Americans do not know what to eat. Most of them run behind Italian burgers, pastas, macaroni and salads. Pork, becon and Ham are their favorite ingredients in almost every food item which often makes the food rich in fat content. Given that an average American leads such a luxurious way of life, does he really need to follow such a fat rich diet? It is truly said that diseases like the Diabetes, Obesity, High blood pressure and Hypertension are the diseases of the Rich. There are always good nutritious food options available which Americans can learn to cook on their own and eat. Of course, giving up their conventional food habits will not happen in a day, rather it needs to be cultivated. I seriously believe that, the United States needs a food revolution.
Sex Just Happens in the US
While in most of the Asian countries, pre-marital or extra marital sex is considered a Sin, most of the Americans including the teenagers believe that Sex just happens. Now, what is that supposed to mean is something that I would like to leave up to you. For instance, I had been to the Water Tower Place, a prominent Mall at the Michigan Avenue in the Chicago Downtown with a co-worker friend, and happened to come across this lady managing a shop. This friend of mine was quite a talkative person and was in no time engaged in a conversation with the lady. After a brief spell of a friendly conversation, they ended up with this topic of having fun this weekend. Well, I was quite sure where this conversation would have landed up my friend in a situation which his fiancé would never like. Sex just happens is the conception and it is an integral part of friendship and a relationship is what most Americans believe. Of course, the United States is a free country and so are the sexual preferences and sexual whims.
Americans can buy Almost Anything
The American Dream is prosperity and with prosperity comes the continual desire to make human life easier and more convenient each day. Keeping this in mind, sellers and manufacturers can encash any of their weird ideas to penetrate into the American market. It could be anything like an automated floor mopping broom, a lipstick that also serves as a lip balm, onion peeler or an egg smasher. They are so used to technology that it is almost impossible to imagine daily life without machines. No matter what is sold, you will find a buyer for virtually anything and everything.
It is a Culturally Poor Country
Americans are the most confused people when it comes to their culture and matters of heritage. They have some weird festivals like Halloween for which they spend Billions of Dollars on evil decoration materials, vampire or a zombie costume and makeups. They believe that this is a tribute to their ancestors who are turned into ghosts and regard it as a matter of celebration. I have seen people shopping like crazy for Halloween. When it comes to shopping how can I miss describing the festival of Black Friday or the so called Thanksgiving when several almost kill each other to get the best deal at Walmart and Best Buy outlets. I wonder why this is called Thanksgiving and not Sorrygiving in it’s true sense.
It’s just the United States and Rest of the World
I remember how one of our American Onsite Project Manager landed himself in trouble at the airport after he was made realize by the authorities that he actually needed a Business Visa to travel to India. All these years, he had never been outside the United States and had been travelling all throughout the United States only. In fact, this is a common mentality built due to ignorance amongst a majority of the Americans who truly believe that it is just the USA and rest of the World. Being born in the most powerful country in the world does that give them this privilege? America may be a free country but you would still need a Visa to fly to other countries. Alas! We hardly care is what most of the Americans think about it.
Nothing is sold less than a Dollar but Pennies are all Over
Pennies or a Cent coins are found abundantly almost all over the United States in ample quantities. They are in every car, office cubicle and most of the times lying orphan on the streets. No matter you like to carry them or not, if you do a cash payment at a store you will get a handful of them in return. Weather you opt to throw them away or collect them is left up to you. Many think that it is almost worthless but they are still abundant in circulation and there is almost no dispute I have found in the United States over change.
The United States has been a Prosperous Nation for several years and I believe that, strict implementation of policies, adherence to the laws, dedication towards the national affairs, harmonious attitude towards the state property, ethics and respect towards it’s citizens are few of the driving factors towards the success of the Country. If I were an American citizen, I would have happily paid my 30 percent taxes as I would be sure that this money will actually return back to me in the form of better freeways, free quality education for my kids and improved infrastructure and transportation facilities. It is only after a democratic government could build such a trust, the citizens would feel motivated to work towards a Nation of Prosperity.
|Lake Shore at the Chicago|