by RAKSHA DONDAPATI Staff Writer
I arrived in India over the summer and journeyed across the country, learning about the culture and seeing the sights, realizing how different it is from America.
My first stop was Bangalore, with my mother’s family. There, I discerned the familial diverseness of the two countries. The strength of family is great in India.
“Indians are more family oriented and Americans like to make their children independent,” said senior Srishti Viyulie, President of the Multicultural Club. “All the houses are close knit. Your neighbors are your family in India.”
Also in Bangalore, I saw very few people wear American clothes. Saris, salwars, and other beautiful Indian dresses were a daily sight on the locals.
My next destination in India was Jaipur. I noticed the colorful nature of the city. Instead of skyscrapers, every building was of a pink hue. Instead of hot dogs, colorful baubles and pieces of India’s culture and religion, such as mini statues of gods, were being sold. It was a much lighter and happier version of most cities here.
After that, I went to the city of New Delhi. The heat really struck me there. Though this is not true for all of India, it was severely hot there, over 110 degrees-much hotter than most places here.
Parts of Delhi look different from what you would expect a capital to look like, and definitely different from Washington, D.C.
“Delhi is extremely populated….Fragments of Delhi are undeveloped and they don’t clean up afterwards,” said freshman Sharika Kaul.
One similarity here, though, was the shopping craze. There are plenty of stores in New Delhi, and many flock there, their only intention to go shopping. However, sometimes salespeople in India are a little too persistent.
“There is always some guy trying to sell you something. He keeps following you, begging, lowering the price, everything. He won’t leave you alone until it’s the end of the day and you get in your car and drive away. They freely do that there. In America, people would definitely get a lawsuit or restraining order or something,” said an anonymous student.
Another place with these salespeople is Agra, also known as the place the Taj Mahal is located. The architecture of the monument was intricate and innovative, unlike any of the structures in America, even the ones from colonial times. I saw buildings modeled after the Taj Mahal as well, and it was a sight to behold.
“Culturally, India is very old and is known for its…architecture. It’s a place that is very historic in culture,” said freshman Raghavi Nimmala.
My final stop was Tirupati. Here, what I learned about strong family ties were reinforced, as my father’s family lives there.
I noticed that almost everyone rode motorcycles, with few cars on the road, while in America you usually see more cars than motorcycles. Plus, many people in India, which can be easily seen in Tirupati, are very religious. Some wait in a long line for over two days to be able to enter the famous Tirumala Venkateswara Temple.
Once I came back home to America, all of these differences really struck me, but there may not be as big of a difference as many automatically perceive.
“India is very old compared to America and is also in a very different location geographically. The cultures in the two places are also influenced from very different things. America is filled with many different cultures….you can’t generalize in India either since there are many difference languages spoken there, different views…but you can say that when you think of India a certain image pops up,” said Nimmala.