Tuesday, June 15, 2010

America Vs India

Mornings in the US-

Curse the ringing alarm clock at 6.30 AM, jump out of bed at 7.00 AM and into the shower, do my hair and face, gulp coffee, more often than not skip breakfast and jump on the freeway for a 25-mile commute to the office.

Mornings in India-

Wake up around 5.00 AM sometimes 4.00, because it is too hot to sleep, have coffee, wait for the maid to come in and start her chores. Place a chair near the window and an air cooler near the chair and sit staring alternately at the cooler and the shimmering heat outside. I think I probably know the blades and blinds of the air cooler far better than I know my husband’s face despite having known him for almost ten years and my cooler for two weeks.

American Remedy for Insomnia-

(Or remedy for when your body is coddled and your mind is fried and you cannot sleep)

Half-fill a champagne flute with chilled whole milk, add lashings of vodka, a dash of sweet stock vermouth and some drops of kahlua…multiple flutes allowed until you pass out.

Indian Remedy for Insomnia-

Go out in the hot sun, catch yourself a baby heatstroke…leave the adult heatstroke alone unless you are on a suicide mission, go home and pass out…in the interest of remaining alive, multiple jaunts in the sun are not allowed.

Buying a cell phone in the US –

Walk into a store and buy a phone and a telephone plan.

Buying a cell phone in India-

Walk into a store and be seated respectfully to be told respectfully that you have multiple options. After you choose your desired plan, you are again respectfully told that you cannot buy it as you have not brought any legal document to show that you are legally present not just in the country but in the state and city as well. “Sir/Madam, can you at least, please get something from your bank showing proof of address? And Oh!, please get a passport size photo as well”.

You don’t have a bank account in this city yet so you take a document that says you are a legal resident of this city, procured God alone knows how, so you can get a gas connection for cooking, only to be told that it has to be notarized. Go out, get it notarized and go back with the photograph. “But sir, this is a stamp size photo! We need a passport size…”

American Highway –

If you are stuck in a traffic jam and all vehicles have come to a standstill, call someone to chat, listen to music, read a book, sing a song, fall asleep…whatever but stay put in your lane.

Indian Highway-

Stuck in a traffic jam with all kinds of vehicles, cars, trucks, motorcycles…trucks monopolize the lanes and crawl and truckers from their sky-high seats guide the cars and motorcycles along the shoulder…what fun!

American Maid Service-

Walks in to a dirty apartment and walks out leaving it a hell lot cleaner than what you have ever accomplished by yourself, and you are lucky if you even know her name.

Indian Maid Service –

Usually walks in an hour late, mine even brings in little satellites sometimes and delegates tasks to them! She multitasks, asks irrelevant questions, inspects new items in the house, complains about pains in the hip, hints that she wants a washing machine to do the laundry, all the while, I am chasing after her to make sure she has cleaned everything well and hasn’t left things half-done which is her usual style.

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