Amerika ist wunderbar!

Last week I visited the US. This is my third visit to the country. Since people are so friendly there, it is hard to feel foreign in the US but I still cannot stop myself from finding the following things strange about the country.

  • They first write the month in a date.
  • On US$ coins, they don’t write the values in large numerals.
  • Flights at the airports are listed in the alphabetical order of destinations
  • At the airports, they still use am/pm for time.
  • On a whim, they can drive 100s of kms in some direction and come back.
  • After every 30min, waitresses ask if everything is ok.
  • Their smallest coffee cup is thrice the size of my expectation of a small coffee.
  • They have huge parking lots.
  • There are not as many MacDs in the US as I imagined.

Otherwise, the US is fun to visit.


US independence

Recently, I read about the process and the war for independence of US. It is an amazing story. This war was fought in a time when the French king lost his head to a revolution and Napoleon ended up occupying the throne. US ending up as a democracy is not the most likely outcome of the war.

In India, my education taught me that there were bunch of revolutions happening in the lands of whites, those resolutions brought renaissance, and renaissance launched them way ahead with respect to rest of the world. Before India could have such revolution, Brits were occupying India. I had to re-read the history again and again to demolish such simplistic narration of history. US independence was one of those events which I had to re-narrate to myself.

US independence was a result of tussle between the traditional authority and the new industrial power structures. One of the reasons that lead to creation of the US democracy is the mistrust among the original 13 states. They wanted to be together as long as it benefits them. They always had doubts over centralized power. The result–a hodgepodge democracy. So many aspect of US government structure were not democratic. For example, sanction to slavery, no votes for women, and annihilation of native Indians. But, it had a flavor and possibility of becoming a strong and vibrant democracy. Sometimes achieving thisĀ  possibility is a big deal.