Monday, July 14, 2008

Culture Shock: redux

After almost an year, coming back to India is a great feeling. Though the country "India" is not very specifically important. I guess you could substitute it for "home". I cannot say definitely. :). The thing I remember now, after coming back to USA, is that you build up your expectations. You glorify what you remember. Here is what a few things almost shocked me... when I landed back in India. A reverse culture shock, in a sense:

1: Cars are smaller. I felt that the Esteem we own was tiny. Ironic, since a year ago, I used to find it comfortable.

2: Traffic is scary. I flinched, jumped, clenched the seat a couple of times, even when it was my dad driving. And it was 3 am in the night, when traffic is supposed to be bad. (Though 1 week later, I was back in form and driving away almost the same way I used to drive last year).

3: India is not that inexpensive. Well, initially when you come to the US you multiply everything by 40 and start sweating. And then mentally, you remember the rates in India. Eventually you just remember that in India everything was cheap. Hulloooo.... wakey wakey... I spent almost 300 rupees on coffee for four people. 2 of us had a meal that cost us 600 bucks. A pair of jeans i bought cost me 1000 rupees. Convert it, and its like almost the same price as the US. Though, roadside food, non branded clothing and all that is cheap, I agree.

4: Calling from your cell phone is not the preferred option. Roaming charges, STD charges all make calling from cell phones expensive. SMS use is widespread. Night-time calling is NOT free. Damn. 70 bucks on one call... ouch ouch ouch.

5: Travelling in the city is soooo easy! Two wheelers rock!

6: You realise that almost everyone has the wrong notion about the US. You also realise that you too had a wrong notion and you smile to yourself. And then,again, its time to answer to all those questions about "how it feels to be back". (The answer is, it always feels good)

7: Leaving India the second time around is harder. It hits you that this decision to study in the US was sorta life changing. And all the future course of your life truly depends on you. The realisation is a bit overwhelming. Probably, when in another frame of mind, I might say that this why it feels good to be here, in the US.


  1. nice...predictably different! culture shock is understandable... but u know... i kept looking for the slightest sign that u felt India was better... n found none... :( it did make me ask myself questions that i didnt have an answer to though... and when i dont have an answer to a question that i ask myself, it means something!

  2. My intention wasn't to say which I found to be better. I just wanted to highlight the differences (hopefully in an unbiased way).

    I hope that your comments don't mean that I am currently finding US to be better than India, because... I do not know the answer myself. :)

  3. dude i absolutely loved the part where utalked about the currency xchange lolol.
    but this is a really awesome post. really creates an awesome mental picture.