Archive for December, 2010

America’s Way…

December 12, 2010

America’s Way…

It has been more than a month here in USA. I just got this idea of a new post because of  so many things that I found here is done the other way, the unusual way! I mean if we think west they think east, quite literally though:). So here are few of the things that I found to be implemented\ practiced\ done differently compared to what we have in India or elsewhere.

1.    Keep Right – As soon as I landed, the first thing that I found to be different was the moving vehicles. It is widely known that the Americans follow ‘Left hand’ Drive, so the steering here is to the left, unlike at most of the places. They follow the right lane, we follow the left. They overtake from the left we just don’t care!
Many a times when I see cars moving in lanes I get a feeling of zipping between the two and zoom ahead, the way I used to drive in Mumbai :), here a strict lane discipline is followed. Every time someone takes a left or right I used to get a feeling like, ‘hey, you are on the wrong lane!!’ only to realize that it would take me little more time to get familiar with this “always keep right” theory. Even while we walk, especially near the corridors\aisle of office, quite naturally I take the left part of the aisle and quite often come perilously close to dashing someone at the turns. So mantra here is KEEP RIGHT.

2.    Rooms – When I reached my place and for the first time opened the door, I was surprised to find stairs. Not that I don’t find them in India. But the puzzling part was that the stairs were INSIDE our house. I mean you have a door, and when you open the door you have to use stairs to go to your rooms, and there are no other rooms except yours. Another thing is that at most of the places the kitchen is directly attached to the hall.

3.    Plugs: All the plugs here are the thin ones, but I was saved that here they have the three plug system, else looking the differences here, I was wondering if there would 4-5 pin plugs, may be circular ones. But the three pin plug too can not be the same else why would the Americans be called different, here the “neutral” line the one with thick pin is at the bottom and the two pins above it. Look they have to be different.

4.    Hold a pen\pencil: This one really got me think a lot. So whenever you go to banks, or other places where you see people doing manual paper work, you would be astonished to see the way these all people hold the pens\pencils in their hands. It would appear that none of them have been to schools ever, while this should be the case in India. May be it looks different and definitely weird from my perspective but hey even I have done this, holding the pen in weird position, when I used to get really bored and try sketching few cartoons on my book while the chemistry professor used to speak gibberish.

5.    Drink Water : We in India have a classic way of using our palms curled inward to drink water from a tap, specially in the country side. Here I have seen so many faucet\taps where the water comes upward. I just don’t get the brains behind it. You get to drink only 20-30% of what comes from it, and rest is drained out. May be they recycle it and send it back :). On a serious note, when some one is campaigning for saving the fresh water source and then one look at the waste that happens through these crazy brains you sometimes get confused, the solution is more obvious than it appears.

6.    Wood everywhere: Here the floors are made of woods, the walls are made of wood, the ceilings are made of wood, everything is made of woods. I am amazed as how come they have everything made up of woods and still there are ‘woods’ (forest) every where. Another surprising thing is that the light poles too are made up of woods unlike the metal ones we have in India. Again this seems to be a waste, may be to prevent the electrical shocks…don’t know.

7.    Select a checkbox: If we are filling a form say, and we have few options with checkboxes, we usually select our option with a ‘tick’ against it. Here, they have to be different right…so they ‘cross’ it against the option instead of a ‘tick’. Perhaps the school teachers here too put an ‘X’ instead of a ‘tick’ for the correct answer. Had this been the case in India, my dad would have been so happy when I was a kid.

8.    On is actually Off – As soon as I reached my place, the thing other than the awkwardly built stairs the other thing I noticed was the switches. So here if you have to switch something on, you have to push it up and for switching it off push it down. When we can have the motor bike gears with both the upward and downward changes, why not switch. Great analogy…right!

9.    Plugs but no control:  First of all I haven’t seen any two-point plugs here in USA, all have three points and the other thing is that none of the plug is accompanied by the switch. So when ever you have to say charge you mobile, or say switch on your router, you have to plug in the charger and when it is done you have remove it back, no switch control. Very annoying!! This thing actually encourages to waste electricity because you can not always plug and unplug you gadgets, I mean you just feel lazy to do that every time, so there should be a more logical way.

10.    Papers – Papers: It doesn’t surprise me that here in USA we use paper a lot, and consequently waste paper a lot. I haven’t seen anyone till now using their handkerchief ever in the washroom. Not only the paper is used for various purpose (you got it right), it is also used in heap (you again got it right :)). Even in kitchen we have paper to wipe the washed utensils or just to use for cleaning your hands. In India we use cloth and water at appropriate places, right!

11.    Fans – Here most of the homes don’t have the ceiling fans but one those have, especially in few shops, have five blades unlike the normal three we usually have in India. How about having a dozen of blades!!

12.    Bulbs: Even though we are a developing nation, the CFL revolution has made every house to use it instead of the bulbs. But here in US, bulbs are omnipresent. Go anywhere you will find bulbs, that too the yellow ones are more popular than the white ones. Cannot comprehend this logic too!

13.    Where to dry my clothes: It is a huge surprise to me that we are not allowed to put our clothes to dry in the balcony. It might not look that elegant but hey it is far better than using the drier which is a huge power guzzler, to dry our clothes. Why should not we just use the dryness of the air, it is free and natural way. We are not allowed to wash our clothes too in the bathroom, this is understood that the floors and all are made of woods but common the drying rule has to change.

14.    Measure of Time, distance, weight, temperature, etc: This one is even more annoying. First take the temperature, here everyone speaks of Fahrenheit, but tell me one thing doesn’t the Celsius be used for better understanding. When we say 32F it means 0C. As with the number line in Maths, we can easily say that anything >0 is positive and <0 is negative. But in terms of Fahrenheit, the number 32 spoils the magic of 0. I just prefer things to be simpler rather than coming up with a new dimension only to complicate the matter. Let us now take the pounds while talking of weight. We all know that 1kg = 1000g = 1000*1000 mg = so on and so forth. But 1 pounds = 16 ounce = 16 * 28.349g, look at the simplicity. When someone has discovered the value ‘0’ and thus the term ’10’ we all should respect it, just coz it makes our life simpler. Again if we talk about the distance, 1km = 1000m = 1000 * 100 cm = 1000 * 100 * 10 mm etc, but when it comes to ‘Miles’ how do you quantify into smaller terms. 1 mile = 5280 feet = 5280 * 12 inches = 1.66kms, look the world has never been so simple! Again we talk of ‘Litres’ in India. 1L = 1000ml here we have ‘Gallon’ and best part is that 1 Gallon = 3.7854 L = 128 fluid ounce. Just makes our life, you guessed it…..a ‘hell’!

I will add on to this list as and when I get to see more weird ideas, I am sure I will :).

Having said all these, I have another blog to write about the positive things that I have seen here. And believe me it would take quite some time to post it online, coz there are many.