Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Long live USA, my second home...

Today is the 4th July, Independence day of United states, its a federal holiday and I am enjoying it in my apartment while writing this post. On July 4th 1776 USA declared its independence from UK. I came to this country in 2003 after finishing my education in India...almost 10 years now. This place has been my primary residence since then, I call it my second home. This country is called land of opportunities, many people around the world dream to visit this country or wish to come and settle in this country for better life. This country welcomes its visitors or immigrants with open heart, many people came to this country as visitors and then settle here to make it their permanent home (many come legally and unfortunately some enter illegally also). The post is not about USA or story of independence, I am trying to look back at my journey so far in this country, first encounter with this wonderful country and its lovely people.

Before coming to US I had very vague idea about this country mostly from what I watched in Hollywood movies or in news and you can see how naive I was. First time I saw real airplane was when I went to Mumbai international air port to take my flight to US, I was really excited and also travelling for the first time alone, that too out of country. My first airplane journey was uneventful except for the first time I ate non-Indian was Delta air line flight and they offered Kiwi with lunch I didn't know whether to eat it with its skin or peel the skin before eating the fruit, my fellow passenger helped me with this dilemma and showed me how to eat Kiwi...:) so this was just beginning of many first in life things which I was going to witness in this country. I landed on Newark international air port in New Jersey and passed immigration check etc. without any problem..again this was first time in my life that I was conversing only in English and didn't speak any Hindi or Marathi line for almost 24 hrs (while I was awake). My English was manageable but not very fluent (still it's not great but much better compared to what it was 10 years ago) and people at airport did great job in understanding all my answers. I boarded the train to go to New Brunswick and it turned out to be a wrong one (which doesn't stop at that station) so I have to get off the train at some station and I was shocked to see that there was no one on the platform. People who travel by train in India can understand why I was shocked...empty India even in midnight platform is full of people..and here it was empty at 5 PM..I was only one with by luggage standing there...fortunately one fellow came and I asked him about the next train and how to reach my destination, it took some time for him to understand my English and also for me to understand his (accent..) but finally I boarded the right train and reached my destination. So the initial journey itself was very interesting and prepared me for many new things which I was going to encounter.

So far my journey in this country is enjoyable and full of  great learning experiences. I learned how to communicate in English, first time I gave public presentation of my research, I learned driving a car, bought my first computer and also lost my first valuable possession in life when that laptop got stolen from lab..first digital camera, first time I saw real bath tub and used shower...many things like this the list is big. But that's not the important part of my experience in US, I think anyone from small town visiting this country must  have had similar experience, so even though it was special for me I don't think there is anything unique in it. What I like most about this country is attitude of its people and their culture, and yes....they do have their own culture, some how I had an impression (and many people in India also think like this) that only old civilizations like India, China, Romans have their own culture and western civilizations are all about money, physical comforts and don't have their own culture or traditions. But I realized that it's not true, reason for phenomenal success of this country in many fields is because of its work ethics, social and economic policies and its culture. I can only compare the things with my own country as I didn't stay in any other country. Some things which impressed me are religion and law are separate here, no one is treated differently just because of their religion, in India we still don't have uniform civil court. Social status and financial independence of women is much better compared to India. People are more tolerant towards each others views, its not that they don't have difference of opinion (just listen to any debate on TV you will get an idea) but I never heard of any communal riot in US, they don't kill each other because of difference of opinion (at least in their own country). Quality of primary education in public schools is amazing and its free for everyone. of my favorite hobby is valued tremendously in schools and society, I just love public library system here. People read a lot that's why books are also produced in that proportion, one can get almost any book or copy of it from any country if they want to read it, book collection of may university libraries is amazing. I started reading English and Hindi books after coming here otherwise I only used to read Marathi books. 

Like this there are many things which I learned here and they helped me to become a better person, my Indian upbringing taught me many good things and this country added so many other valuable things to my personality. Coming to US was definitely turning point in my life and I believe all my experience here has definitely contributed to make me a better person. I really thank this country, all my amazing friends in this country who directly or indirectly taught me lot of things and its people.

Thanks for reading, your comments are welcome.

(Copyright: Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing)  


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  2. They have their own culture, right, and for most Americans, (mind you, not all), the culture is basically heavily materialistic (and some are animalistic, sorry for the word). In the end they are all going to die one day, and at the back of their mind are afraid. All Indians are also going to die one day and many are materialistic and afraid (what is the definition of materalism, have we even thought about it?), but there are some people (Indians, Americans and others) who won't be perturbed about dying, because they have properly understood what is Indian culture. hanks.

    1. First off all thanks a lot Mayur for your comments, I really appreciate it. How are you sure about heavily materialistic culture of Americans?? And which culture is not materialistic in this world?
      How you define materialistic culture? do you think God devotion is not materialistic act? are you sure about this?

      [[but there are some people (Indians, Americans and others) who won't be perturbed about dying, because they have properly understood what is Indian culture]]

      What do you mean by this?? only people who understand Indian culture are not perturbed by death?? are you kidding me?? look around and you will see there are many people who are not perturbed by thought of death and many of them don't belong to Indian I dont agree with your opinion here but thanks for sharing it..