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Posted by Karima Khan  18 Aug 2014
Urban India is basically America

I was born and brought up in the livliest city of India - Mumbai. I grew up with Bollywood and on the internet. I saw the rise of McDonald's, KFC and all international brands making a home here. I saw my beloved city adapt to and add their own flavours to the culture of the west that we learned from Hollywood and American sitcoms. Mumbai had become a futuristic city where everything was cool and happening.

But when you get an opportunity to go see the world, you take it. That is how I landed in the city of New York. Over the course of the few years that I've lived here, I've realised NYC is sparsely different from BOM. The major difference would be the timezone, weather and that NYC boasts a large portfolio of different ethnicities that call it home. Besides that, the bustling life, the night life everything is the same.

Life here gets a little overwhelming sometimes because of being 100% independent. In India, you have your parents and siblings right when you need them. And then you don't realise how much work your mom does for you. I've realised that and I think that's an experience everyone must learn. The bird must leave it's nest!

I've done internships in India and in comparison, New York is more professional. People come on time and leave on time too. They don't compromise on their personal life for professional. And the best of all, companies don't expect you to work on the weekends. I've seen my family do a work-from-home on the weekends despite it being a holiday for them. So, urban India is catching up on this too, with my buddies back home reporting that the weekend scene is improving for them.

As for my life, the routine of going grabbing something at McDonald's and sipping my favourite Caramel Latte at Starbucks remains the same even as I have moved to New York. The items on the menu are definitely more but they've got my favourites so I'm still winning.  

People in New York are open about sex and right now, India as a whole is taking baby steps to talking about sex like it's not an offence. 

Living here, I'm feeling very proud of how far my country has come. We're opening up to new cultures and ambitions. Indian parents are opening up to newer career paths for their children and some are even accepting their gay kids, that's beyond awesome.

Sure, we have our problems to face and mindsets to change but India is getting there. The only definite thing that BOM's got on NYC is Vada Pav and Cutting Chai.

Image credit: Bill Longshaw / freedigitalphotos.net

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