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A land of dreams and opportunities, America can still pose culture shocks for those of us who haven't been there.
From TV sitcoms to Hollywood movies, the U.S seems all familiar to us! Yet, culture shock in America can be very real for Indians travelling here.
Photo by Anju Jayaram
America is a land of dreams and for some Indians, it is their dream and only goal in life. The US has many great things to offer but as an individual coming from an entirely different culture there are many aspects about the culture that can strike a first time traveler. For me, the distinct cultural differences I perceived were not the short dresses (TV had sufficiently prepared me for this) or public display of affection that Indians usually assign as something Western; in reality I have seen more PDA around parks in Nagpur than anywhere in the US.
A great guide for life in the Americas is a book called Inscrutable Americans that lists the maladies a naive Indian comes across on his visit to the U.S. Some exchanges with ‘the natives’ in the U.S. are embarrassing and awkward, for example when trying to return a hug from an American friend (I am quite the non-hugging type) which leads to several dives in the wrong direction and finally both parties settling for a handshake.
America is fun, interesting, dynamic and a place where many cultures merge. I have found more cuisines, cultures, races, and ethnicity in this one country than in any other country I have been to. Hence America is much more inclusive as it is said to be the land of immigrants. But America is not all roses and peaches as there are negatives and positives like any other country and is guaranteed to have its share of culture shocks for a person from a different cultural perspective.
I had a great time traveling in the U.S and I was lucky to see many parts of this amazing country. Some of this is written as an attempt at wry humour and some of it is of course true. Anyone traveling to a new culture is bound to have some culture shock whether it is Indians visiting the U.S or Americans visiting India. I also believe that such culture shocks are what make travelling to a new country exciting.
This article was first published here.
Header image by Anju Jayaram.
A traveler at heart and a writer by chance a vital part of a vibrant team called Women's Web. I Head Marketing at Women's Web.in and am always evolving new ways in read more...
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Chetan Bhagat had no business slut shaming Uorfi Javed or any other woman. If he wants to 'guide' young men in the 'right direction' then he should take accountability for his words.
Chetan Bhagat, one of India’s bestselling authors, thought it was an ingenious idea to slut-shame Uorfi Javed, an Indian actress and influencer, at the Sahitya Aaj Tak literature festival.
“Phone has been a great distraction for the youth, especially the boys, spending hours just watching Instagram Reels. Everyone knows who Uorfi Javed is. What will you do with her photos? Is it coming in your exams or you will go for a job interview and tell the interviewer that you know all her outfits? On one side, there is a youth who is protecting our nation at Kargil and on another side, we have another youth who is seeing Uorfi Javed’s photos hiding in their blankets.”
Uorfi Javed responded with a video on her Instagram stories calling out Bhagat’s bluff. She shared the screenshots of his previous chat conversations with Ira Trivedi, author and yoga instructor, which came to light during the #MeToo movement.
While boys are taught to naturally own the space they enter, girls are taught to give up, to accommodate, to adjust since "it is their primary responsibility to keep families and relations together."
Yesterday, I was watching these 4 young girls around 16 – 17 years old play badminton. They were having fun, goofing around with all 4 of them equally involved in the game.
In some time two of their male friends joined them, and as part of round robin, the 2 boys replaced two of the girls. All good.
As the play continued, I started noticing a change in the way the game was being played. The shuttle was played most of the times between the two boys and there was a sense of competition and aggression brought in. The other 2 girls playing soon starting losing interest in the game as they hardly got any game time. Even if the shuttle came towards them, the boy in their team would move and play that shot. They soon moved to the sidelines as the boys continued to play.
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