The two cultures which are poles apart in every count, two proud and rich heritages are fascinated by each other. They look at each other, observe each other and try to imitate each other in few adorable ways. The lives of the two are now overlapping and this brings all of our differences in focus. We are tending to be global citizens and today the differences have to be out and in open. We need to get to the bottom of it all and understand why we do what we do, in either of the hemispheres. So this article is taking the easiest differences, the quirky ones, the fun ones. Each side gets a chance to chuckle at the other. So here it goes differences of the two proud cultures, from a point of view of a global citizen.
10. Sweet sixteen!
So in USA, sixteen is taken as the age when you ‘grow-up’. Historically marked so by gifting of a car, it shows the trust of the family on the child or the young adult. Indians on the other hand, have no such age. This age is different for every kid in every family of every culture in every religion. The sweet 16th is a big deal with in the west for life there is more dependent on cars than India is. Indians, on the other hand, celebrate it like a normal birthday of a child, a treat at Mc-D maybe, for the kid is not even 18 right! She/he still has some growing up to do.
The average rate of divorce in the west is 40% approximately and in India is 8 in every 1000 weddings. The number says it all or maybe it doesn’t. The freedom and independence of the west makes it possible for them to stand up for their rights or maybe they do not stick around and tough it out. The point here is that the west gets more divorces, period.
8. Any job Lifestyle.
The people of the west are open to the idea of working at any level to earn their livelihood or improve it. We have waitresses who work to pay their way through college; we have students working at malls for the pocket money or for the car. Life in the west is open to the idea of toughing it out. The self-respect is so high in the west that any menial job fails to bring them down. The mentality is coming to India but slowly. The society frowns when you take a job beneath you. The ostracized feeling is extended to the family and this pressurizes the person. The fight here is not between the level of work and the person, the fight is between the person and the mentality of the society. When actress Sonam Kapoor studied outside India, she worked as a waitress. So it’s a question of time when India becomes free-er.
7. 18 and out.
So Indians live in joint families, lived is a better word for its changing. Indian parents pay for their kids till the kid gets a 9-5 job. They pay for everything. In west when the kids turn 18, they are on their own. They leave the house and are on their own. This is one difference we have to know for a common man in India takes it on himself to get his child through the graduation and it’s him and his responsibility alone. In the west, the parent is as responsible but the college is not what most kids opt for. Indians know this to be the only way to live; the west seems to have found many other options.
6. Magic Words?
The west is polite in their own way. They are polite in their behavior and everyday actions. When you walk along and catch someone’s eyes, you smile. When you pass someone on the road you nod. The words like please and sorry and thank-you are among the most used words in their day. When you want to cross the roads, cars stop to give you a way, they nod and smile and let you go. Driving is easy and not a squeeze-in when/where you can. India, on the other hand, is caught up in a never-ending circle, we let people go first and chase them down. We do not say the magic words out aloud and keep the swear-words to ourselves; we do it the other way round. Maybe this generation will do better.
5. Gays, caste, race and riots.
Indians are greatly popular in the world. For right reasons and sometimes for the wrong reasons as well. Indians judge and they do it for many reasons. It’s maybe the culture or the way of life but we perceive and on the perception we judge. On the basis of caste, creed, color, gender and the sexual orientation. The society is not free yet and neither are the people. This causes riots and tension. So yeah, Indians are all still learning to be wise and west is almost there.
4. Cricket vs Basketball.
The men of the world need their passion and their hobbies, apart from the fairer sex, kidding. Jokes apart, men have always been known to be obsessed with competition. This obsession ranges from war to sports. USA has basketball, India, England has cricket. The difference many not seem much but an Indian man talks to another man about ‘their’ sport, and when the ‘our’ sport is not common, the companionship is in danger.
3. Dressing Tolerances.
So west has skirts and one-pieces, Indians have salwar Kameez. When they cross-match the dresses with the country, the reaction of the society is monumental. Indians are not as accepting of the western culture as the west in of India. The freedom to be is watched over by moral police in India and this creates tension.
2. Family Holds on.
They say the position which Indian mums and the in-laws have in the person’s life is huge. The common fights of a mother-in-law and the bride form the crux of many T.V serials. The balancing act between the maternal and paternal family is what occupies most men’s time and energy. This is freer in west where traditionally the man moves out of house and starts his own family. The way of life thus becomes different. Many Indians often think of this as their own brand of ‘nirvana’.
1. Fascination, Ruler and Ruled.
Perhaps the most obvious difference between the two cultures is the difference is the superiority/inferiority assumption. The fair skinned lady, blue-eyed lady of the west is seen as having more impact than the darker haired Indian counterpart. The memory of being ruled hovers somewhere and that causes the dis-balance. Indians are over 200 years behind the west in terms of democracy and independence. The other differences will fade away in time if we can overcome the fascination and replace it with admiration.