This is my second visit to Andover, Massachusetts, US, but much longer than the earlier one and thus enabling me to look more closely at the people and their customs.
The first thing that strikes anyone from India will have to be the quality of roads and the driving pleasure here that is almost non-existant back in their city. The single most astonishing fact was the adherence to the traffic rules and regulations. I was amazed and it was not just staying behind the line when a RED is flashed in traffic signals, but respecting the STOP signs put everwhere and following a simple but effective protocol on who should move next. Even in the middle of the night and with no one around people still follow these rules almost regularly and as a habit. The roads are damn good and what more, even roads already in excellent condition are being maintained regularly.
The other striking thing that I noticed was the weather report. Not only was it surprising to see so many people interested in the day’s weather, but more so to note that the weather predictions are BANG right on target. When they say, it rains, and winds come and go as predicted with utmost accuracy in their speeds and timing. What more the channel predicts weather for the week ahead. I cannot smile when I think of our weather predictions for the next 24 hours that miserably go wrong.
The way unknown people greet you with ‘Hi, how are you doing today?’ is another unique thing. The first time around, I had a doubt that the person might be familiar to my colleague, but then I learnt to do the same. It felt good.
Work wise, I was in for another surprise as people rarely stay late and by late I mean 8.00 PM. People usually leave around 5.30-6.00 PM and when we go to the car parking at around 10.00 PM (average time that we leave) we find that there are just enough to be counted with our fingers,and the place usually holds close to 250 cars easily in the mornings.
Food was a weak point for me but that is highly subjective. I am not complaining because for the type of food that I expect I will have to bring my wife with me! Every type of Non-Veg was available albeit in a different flavour from Chicken to Lamb, Fish to Shrimp, Turkey to Beef, Pork to what not. I did have a great time in a restaurant called ‘Bollywood Grill’, ‘Mysore Veggie’, the later especially as it was run by a tamilian from Karaikal and had some original ‘Sada Dosai’ and ‘Pongal’ varieties. The surprise in American restaurants was that we have to wait in the entrance while a server/waiter will guide us to the table.
From what I have seen, the americans look a lot more planned, but monotonouly so. We even joked that if we were to upset their planning they might not know exactly what to do then.
Of course, don’t take this post as some measure of my patriotism, it has nothing to do with it. This is a view of an Indian who happened to visit the US and sharing the same.