Nothing’s very different here in LA. The brands are the same, the look and feel of malls is the same…if anything is different it is the people. Yes, even if we in Mumbai consider ourselves extremely metro and cosmo, this place is 10 times that. Every colour and type of human being is here….and that kinda makes one stop staring. I have been abroad very few times, Mauritius being one of them and when I did, I saw many many desis around. So when I saw anyone from another ethnic origin, I couldn’t but do the desi stare. You know what the desi stare is, don’t you? It is the never ending round eyes transfixed shut-mouth gape that only desis are capable of. All men and women alike stare at men and women alike.
But even though it is in my ethnic make up, I am not able to stare. The people are so varied and diverse that you have to choose whom to stare at. There are so many people of diverse backgrounds, that the originals are the minority. But hey! This is America. There were never any originals except the Indians. Talking of ethnicity, it would have KILLED me to be Chinese. I went to one of these home supply stores. Imagine this: Not being allowed more than 80 kilos in baggage and landing up here to buy basic supplies. Then you look at the bottom to see the price and it says ‘Made in China’. Ok, as an Indian, I may think ‘I came all the way across the globe for THIS?’ But imagine what it will do to a Chinese person. As an Indian, I only have to look out for clothes that could have been made in India.
Also what is the deal with the buildings here? It looks like a town built on a beach, not a city on a coast. Sprawling SHORT buildings and neon signs everywhere. We have been looking at some high rises to rent so that we feel at home…like in Mumbai. But the highest floor we have seen yet is the 6th. So you get the drift. Also the airport, the hotels, etc. look like the ones in the cinemas of the 1970s. They all look exactly like in the photos my dad and uncles got in the late 70s and 80s. Vintage is the word. But not expected out of America by a humble Indian.
I tried explaining to Deepak that we may have tumbled into a wormhole and stepped back a few decades, but he wouldn’t buy it. I’ll get him to see OSO today 😉
We went to the Grove, which is the hub of all activity during weekends. It is like a huge mall. Even by Indian standards, it was crowded. It is the holidays, people. What can I say? One thing though I must try to understand is that these people who have been living here all their lives are not used to this crowd. They are probably used to running down a strip of pavement, with their eyes closed, confident that they won’t bump into anyone. So when they are in public places where there are more than 2 people per square meter, it’s a politeness and niceties mela. “Excuse me…oops..I am sorry”. Mein kiyan – “What’s the big deal yaar? Thoda push vush kar liya karo…koi gal nahi. I will maaf you!”, I say. Oi, nothing to beat the desi shove and push feel afterall. I have only seen two desis till now and my heart yearns for some bhangra and himmesh screaming from autos.
Oh, the roads are soooo quiet that I may be booked for causing noise pollution in public. Even the vehicles don’t make any noise. The buses are cool and fast and everywhere. Only not frequent. The cabs are big on the outside and super small on the inside. They are all luxury vehicles which are impossible to get out of fast. So in case, you plan to make a fast exit without paying, it is not possible 😉
I have yet to do sight seeing because there is a lot more fun to be had as a resident than as a tourist and Fun I shall have.