The world is your school. – Martin H. Fischer
Our first two learning sources are our parents and teachers. True! But our best teacher is experience and what we learn from the world contradicts most of what we learned from the first two teachers. When this thought ran across my mind, I decided to write about my life in the USA. So, here I am, seated in a small coffee shop of a small town in the US pouring my thoughts on paper.
I was born and brought up in Mumbai, the city of dreams, the commercial capital of India. I studied and worked in Mumbai for 27 years of my life. And then one fine day, I decided to gain some international exposure and thus moved to the USA. As I started living here, in the USA, I started feeling how different it is from Mumbai. The infrastructure, the climate, the architecture, the population, the culture, the food, the music, the cars…. The list is endless… My life changed (for the good). In this essay, I will talk about two important elements of any culture – food and people.
So, the first thing I had to worry about in the USA was food. I am a Vegetarian and thought I will have a tough time finding my kind of food in restaurants. But to my surprise, I find at least 2 Veggie options in several restaurants, if not all. I have also become very tolerant to Non-Vegetarians. And above all, after coming here, I realized I have a talent for cooking.
My second challenge was, “Will I be able to mingle with the people here?” I was used to a cosmopolitan life in Mumbai but this place is a lot more diverse than I thought. Furthermore, people around me are so warm, sociable, amiable, considerate, and open-minded. Individuals have a fun attitude toward life; they live for today. People take care of their own work – at home (cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc…) and office. People are also very professional and committed in the work environment. Merit is rewarded and appreciated.
Women are treated equally in almost every walk of life. Homosexuality does not seem like a sin anymore; it is a choice. Everyone believes in being independent and nobody is interested in interfering in others’ lives. We celebrate all Indian and American festivals with loads of fun and tolerance for each others’ cultures. When we come from India we carry a very wrong image that family life and social life in the USA is in a sorry state. That is not true! People have a great social life here. The families that I have come across have closely attached members who give each other space and love each other selflessly. And which society does not have its social issues? USA has its problems too. However, I have had a very positive experience with life here.
As Indians, we believe that Indian culture is the best and western culture is inferior. But I think every culture has its merits and demerits. I believe in embracing the merits of any culture. I love India. It is my motherland; my home. But for now, the United States of America is my second home and I love it too.[divider]
No culture can live if it attempts to be exclusive. – Mahatma Gandhi