Thursday, March 14, 2013


Yes, it's the TWIN TOWERS of WTC (pic taken in 2000)

NY skyline from atop WTC
The land of the BIG Apple – it overwhelms me with its awesome enormity! Even as the plane prepares to land, you can sense it – if it is New York, Chicago or Los Angeles, the skyline with sky-kissing skyscrapers is awesome; if it is Denver or Salt Lake City, it is the vast expanses of land and mountains! In the east, sprawling stretches of woods separate cities and in the west, majestic mountains!
Picturesque Golf course in Salt Lake City, Utah
   As you look out of the window of the plane at the city, you are dazzled at the sight of spacious parking lots with glittering car tops, streams of cars on the highways, green golf courses dotted with trees and bunkers and water bodies, sparkling swimming pools attached to houses. Every major airport has a plane taking off every other minute and within the airport there are trains or buses to take passengers from one concourse to another. If you have to catch another flight from another gate in the same concourse you should be lucky if you have adjacent gates – otherwise you may in all probability find yourself taking a long walk all the way from Gate 7 to 77! Major airports ply carts to ferry old / needy passengers to their gates – you may express your thanks by tipping the driver.

  Okay, if parking lots as seen from the plane impressed you, the multi-level parking lots at the airports and important places will bowl you over – I can’t help thinking of the cramped parking spaces in our country where there is a mad scramble for the limited parking available with the rest of the cars parked haphazardly as per the will and pleasure of motorists! Some of our airports and important land-marks  can now boast of multi-level parking lots. Now something about the cars: you have so many many of them zooming past in a steady stream on the different lanes! The number of cars speeding along some 14 lanes – be it New York or San Francisco or LA should be seen to be believed! But nine out of ten cars have just one occupant! And every family has at least two cars – even for the same number of members! From number let us move on to size – most of them are on the bigger side though you do spot some cute little ‘Ladybirds’. Many families have at least an SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle) – if not an RV (Recreation Vehicle – which is a house-on-wheels) – so that they can tag along boats and bikes for their family on weekend outings. In addition you see all those giant carriers plying between cities. We even spotted one humongous vehicle carrying a house – honestly!
Sprawling 'Pet (dog) supplies' aisle
   What else is big? Why, the houses, the museums, the National Parks, why even every departmental store is sprawling – with well-stacked aisles - even for Pet supplies (Dogs)! Shoppers grab items in multiple quantities. So it is two dozen eggs, a crate of juice cans, 12 pack tissue roll, three varieties of juices… Such shopping sprees call for a big boot, which all cars are equipped with. If you take a peak at the vegetable section, you will notice that capsicum, cabbage, cauliflower, tomato and onion – all are giant sized! Of course you find baby carrots too!

  For the desis, weekly grocery shopping is incomplete without a round of the Indian store. What amazed me was that they too sell giant packs – 4 lb packs of dal varieties or 2 lb packs of sooji or puffed rice or one lb packs of turmeric or coriander powder – all suitable for giant (sorry, joint) families where cooking is done at least twice a day! But our desi families here can’t and don’t indulge in everyday cooking except during parents’ visit. Still they have no option but go for these huge packs and then replenish the supplies every couple of months, tossing away the unused stuff into the garbage bin.

  If you are shopping for clothes, you will get lots of selection for giant sizes – XL, XXL and XXXL, but less for Medium size. If you are shopping for Small size, you had it! You’d be left wondering why God made you that way as you find yourself less privileged than bigger people in more than one respect! You’d curse yourself for being a child of a smaller god!

  Babies are huge too – especially the ones on formula milk. Naturally people out there are also of big build! I used to consider myself on the heavier side back home but compared to the Americans I was scrawny! It is their diet I feel – all that cheese and beef or bacon or ham stuffed in the bread or wrap – it is funny to watch on TV, the ads of fast food joints selling bulging burgers which spill out at every bite! Super sized sodas and sandwiches are in vogue. When it comes to coffee – even if it is the famed Starbucks – I feel that even an avid coffee enthusiast from overseas will be left struggling to finish the large cup! The coffee mugs at homes are large too!

  So that is it – the US is not only a vast land of big bucks but also of big people who eat, drink, drive, watch, wear – BIG and sport a BIG heart too! All the same that is also the country for those want to make it BIG!
© Copyright 2011. Brinda Balasubramonian.

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