Shifting to a new geography we all tend to make comparisons between the host country and home country, at least for the initial few months. While studying at the business School in California, I constantly think of how different commerce is back home. I believe that, USA is an extremely product oriented market, whereas, India is a service oriented market. Although India tends to be much more regulated with its processes and corporate structure, we fail to invest in our employees to the tune American employers invest in theirs. It took me less than two weeks to realize that India has probably one of the best public transport facilities and health care structure. Though the taxes levied in USA are unbelievably high in few states, the government barely leaves you with an excuse to complaint, since your tax amount is being invested into public interest and the results are greatly visible, unlike in India, unfortunately!
Having said that, the one difference that truly intrigues me is that, America is not only credit based when it comes to its economy, but is also credit based in its relationships. Since day one, I have never come across an American who would not be proactive in doing whatever they can to the best of their capacity for one. Whether or not they knew that one. I have never felt homesick, never felt lost and definitely never felt alone. It is beautiful how few people extend their affection and gratitude towards someone with no expectations at all. They feel thankful for the smallest of acts, and make the most of the little joys in life. One of the days, when I was in the school commons, at the billing counter, I was short of a dollar, this student who I clearly do not recognize, offered to pay the whole of my bill and smiled, because she figured out that I was new and just wanted to welcome me. Another day, I very randomly ask one of my new friends if he knew a good hike trail closest to my home, he not only gives me details to the trail, but also, drafts an entire itinerary for me. I hug someone good bye and the next thing I know, she sends me home a box full of chocolates, lemonade and apple juice. I told him I miss South Indian food and I am surprised with a box full of idlis and every variety of chutney possible! I can go on….
I sometimes try to think if I ever did something like that for an expat. Forget about an expat, I think I would never attempt to make someone feel special unless they were extremely dear to me. It is wonderful how few people find so much joy in watching others smile. I often think of what I could do in exchange for all that I receive from these good samaritans and I realize that by doing something just to return what I received would be rather insulting, the only way I can truly thank them is by spreading their kindness and share what I receive from them. By giving and not expecting anything in return, by applying axiom over logic, by welcoming and not holding back, by sharing more than seeking, and most importantly by not just living but feeling alive.