January 26, 2007

Expression of Experiences - The U.S twist

January 26, 2007 Posted by Vijay 1 comment
Continuing on from the adventures on the Pontiac Grand Prix, there was a dinner arranged at Palo Alto. It was a farewell dinner for few of my folks who had toiled away by the time I had joined them. Gordon Biersch was the venue, and Non-Veg was on the cards for the few or more who were of the omnivorous kind. Being a veggie, and a non-drinker, I had to resort to a cup of piping coffee. Now, for all the wonderful sceneries and the friendly people that the U.S has, there are some stranger aspects which could be termed as uncomfortable for a new entrant from India.

Coffee gets served with milk/cream separately and sugar separately. Well, this can't be found in any hotels in India except the star ones. Besides, there are these finely grounded crystals of sugar that one can find in the U.S. When I had my black coffee and the cream, I just had to add Sugar. Well, the finely grounded crystals were in packets, and they were there, and I was oblivious to their presence. All I could think of was, sugar, in U.S resembles salt, in terms of the texture. I leave the remaining part of it for the reader to guess. But hey, I didn't go that far as to spoil the drink ! And believe me NaCl and C12H22O11 in coffee can be real spicy !

Anyways, going forward, I learnt an important lesson. If I need to have Dosa in the United States, I would be served, a cup of rice flour, a pan and some oil. And I would be ready to have my own Dosa ! Hey, do I get a stove too ?!! Over a period of time, staying at the U.S can be really entertaining too ! While shooting pictures lying on the Road in Monterey, an elderly woman passed by in her car and parked it in a parking lot. Well, she smiled at me and Sankar's antics on the road. But she was to be in for a surprise, since the photo shoot on the road went on for more than 10 minutes. Enougn time for her to come back and take the car and leave. Leave she did, but not before remarking to the 2 eccentrics trying to get a snap off the road - "Does your mom know about this ?". Well, back in India (soon it will be, here in India, but I will take one more week to return !) one wouldn't' have had the liberty to lie on the road in the middle of a city ! And even if we had the space and the guts to do it, we would have been taken away by the authorities.

Entertaining to hear the Americans speak it is ! If they want to say yes, it goes more like ... "aaa..haa ?". For example, if you guess where the restroom is and the guess is right, but to confirm you were to ask a passer by , the reply would be "aaa..haa?". Note the question mark at the end of the reply. It goes without saying that it would find a presence in any mundane talks they have. Another example goes like

Me : "So where did you go the last weekend ?"
Response : "I had been to New York?"

Weird that a question is again questioned !?? Hey, it is not as if the responder isn't sure that he/she had been to New York. This is just the way they talk over here ! If I had been a novice and heard this reponse, I might have replied back - " You don't know if you had been there ?"

What amazes about the US is the infrastructure. Smooth roads especially make driving a pleasure. Once I had gotten used to driving, I switched cars and got a brand new Chrysler Dodge Caliber. And I can proudly say I drove more than 900 miles on it in less than 3 weeks ! But, driving cars is really easy, once the traffic rules are well understood and all the sleepiness is shaken off. Then it a lot of fun, and more than anything else, I would miss driving on these roads. A drive into the Big Basin redwoods, was spectacular, something which I have never done even in India through mountainous winding roads.

I can't imagine in a week's time I would be heading back to my very own India. The honking horns which I never heard (except when I was driving !!) and the snail paced traffic which I never witnessed will all be in full sight back in India. What I have been truly missing has been all the cricketing action. An Ashes whitewash by the Aussies on the hapless English, a disastrous ODI performance by India in SA followed by a surprising test victory, and then of course, the sigh of the God on the Off side, back in form and action. I just hope, when I come back I can see Dada cement his place for the World Cup and show what India missed for an year ! I say this because he deserves a place, atleast in the ODI eleven. Last but not the least, I can get to stop by and ask innumerable passers by for directions if I lose my way. Passers by on roads in U.S are as scarce as there are Tigers on the planet.


Anonymous said...

What?!?! No stories about the american who showed you San Francisco and Brataslava???!?!?!?!?!? aaaa haaa!?!

signed- You know who!