How Clean the Streets and Drivers Follow Rules Here


My mother lived in Kerala, a region in South India.  She talked about the luscious green trees and plants surrounding her house. The bumpy roads and noisy auto rickshaws passed by at night.

She said, “I lived a normal life. I come from a middle-class family, which in India is just enough to live well.” She described her family consisting of her two parents, one older sister, and a younger brother. The family owned one car and one motorcycle, living fairly well in the rural area. Oftentimes, Anjali and her siblings would walk to school which would take around 20 minutes. The walk was not too tedious and was quite enjoyable if the weather was good. When it was raining, Anjali mentions how their pants and slippers would be soaked by the time they got to school. The cars passing by, paying no mind to the students, would run over many puddles splashing them. Monsoon season, she described, was the worst for school.

In contrast to the previous question, I asked her how her lifestyle in America is different from her lifestyle in India. She starts off saying it’s “easier here.” I ask her to elaborate on that. She says that there are many technological advancements here, such as dishwashers, washing machines, more accessibility to cars, and much more. This plays a part in time management and overall leisure in day to day tasks that would take much longer in India. In India, there were very few resources available for Anjali’s family to prosper.

Additionally she mentions that the library was a very impactful part of her life when she moved to America. When she moved, she enrolled into San Jose State University, in hopes to complete her Masters Degree. She says that the library “greatly helped me gain knowledge and information that helped me graduate in later years.” Moreover, she talks about parks and how it was an important part of her children’s (me and my younger sister) lives. It was a great way to get our energy out at a young age.

Finally, she talked about the difference in shopping here versus in India. Here, you can pick out your own things and check out yourself. When she grew up, you would have to tell a worker what you wanted and they would get everything for you. She prefers the way of shopping in America since you can see what you are picking out and make sure it is what you need.

Next I asked about her travels from India to America. She said that they took a plane from Bangalore to California. She came here with her husband, my father, leaving the rest of her family behind. She later described this as being the most challenging part of leaving her home country. I asked her what it was like when she arrived in America. The first thing she noticed was the chilliness.

India, hot almost all year round, was almost an exact opposite of the California weather. Anjali and her husband did lots of traveling as well.

Especially since Anjali and her husband had landed towards the end of August of 2003, the climate was definitely colder. She also described how the roads were much cleaner compared to India. She describes the trash littering every crack of the roads, the immense amount of potholes, and the wild animals everywhere. She was pleasantly surprised when going through the roads of America and seeing barely any signs of the “dirtiness” in India’s roads.

Moreover, she was surprised to see everyone following the traffic laws. “In India, everyone does what they want and somehow avoids major accidents” she explains. Lastly, I asked her if there were any education, language, or culture barriers when she reached America. Anjali describes that although she learned English in India, her accent was very hard to understand. Not only did others not understand her, she found it difficult to understand others as well. It was very difficult for her to make friends and communicate with others. She described it as a major loss at the time. Fortunately, she was able to improve her accent and communicate better with her coworkers, friends, and peers. Anjali describes it as one of her greatest accomplishments.

I finish off the interview asking her what her favorite part of America is. She mentions that, especially with access to transportation, it is much easier to go and see different places. When my mother and father first got here, they did lots of sightseeing. Traveling and hiking to a variety of places before they settled down in Santa Clara, California.


Comments are closed.