America and India – experience of inversion

Let me jot down the “inversion” experience one feels while traveling from India to the US or vice versa.

  1. The most famous is the traffic flow. In India, you drive on the left side of the road. In the US, you drive on the right side of the road
  2. Public doors in India open by pushing from outside. In the US, you have to pull the public door out to get in
  3. In a lock, key serration in India is low, with smooth side of the key facing you. In the US it is the other way
  4. Electric switches flip the opposite way in India and the US
  5. Houses farther from the center of the city are cheaper in India but you pay a premium for that house on a hill in the US
  6. In essence, tissues are a symbol of cleanliness in the US – and Indians need to clean everything with water
  7. Indians won’t enter a rest room without a health faucet (or equivalent). In the US, a wet rest room means something unhealthy
  8. Related to above, Indian eat with their *right hand* (because the left is used to clean up). In the US, people use forks, knives and spoons
  9. A fashionable Indian will leave vegetarianism, a fashionable American will embrace
  10. An Indian dreams a vacation in snow sitting on a beach with coconut palms. An (typical) American trapped in snow has it the other way

What differences am I missing here?



3 comments on “America and India – experience of inversion

  1. Yash says:

    1. Average waist size: Bodies are healthier and not skeletons. Relative abundance of food for an average person and lack thereof on the two sides of the gulf.
    2. Income disparity: So many people clearly and desperately struggling to make ends meet. They are not seen.
    3. Formality: Cars honking, pan pichkari, shak-walla hollering, aarati and bhajan dhun in temples, constant flood of Hindi movies and related stuff on TV and papers, many road-side volunteers ready to accompany and show the way all the way to the destination. All these go away.

    • bhushit says:

      All points you make are not actually “inversions” but societies under transition.
      The original post talks about largely technical or social value based differences that are nearly irreconcilable.

      Also, your impressions about differences are caught in 1990’s.
      Paan sales across India are on severe decline. Actually paan may become a past soon. There are surveys available.
      2 years after Anbumani Ramadoss’ law, number of smokers on crowded Indian roads are actually less than number of smokers on the US roads. Frankly, I was shocked during this US tour to see fearless smokers walking on the road. In India, they at least crowd at a corner near the cigarette vendor after the law got enacted.
      Obesity epidemic in richer states of India is going out of hand. Gujarat is facing teen hypertension, teen diabetes, low fertility rates, very high cardiac problems, renal problems and what not.
      This time around, I could see income disparity in downtown Seattle like nowhere else. Homeless crowds and rich(er) crowd were as distinct as oil and water.

  2. Here is what I would add:

    1. Date format : DD/MM versus MM/DD
    2. Tea is primary hot beverage versus coffee.
    3. University education system versus individual schools.
    4. Pedestrian who? versus pedestrian first !
    5. Bill of Rs. 20 versus bill of $20 (Invoice versus currency)

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