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Discussion Post | 7 Things in American and British novels that used to astound me as an Indian reader.

Hey everyone! Welcome or welcome back to my blog!

A while back I did a post on my blog, in which I discussed things I found super unrealistic in novels, and when I was writing that post, I thought of this idea wherein I discussed a few things that surprised me when I got into reading novels, as an Indian reader!

Let’s get into it!

  1. Phone Chargers:
    Weird as it sounds, when I got into reading novels, especially American ones, I would be surprised to see that a character would ask for a phone charger, and the other character would have it, without asking the phone brand. In India, there are multiple phone brands, unlike in the US where Apple has its monopoly, and this used to astound me.
  2. Carefree? Or recklessness?:
    Okay, so there was this film I watched- The F*ck It List, and it was a great movie, but in it, the love interest smashed their mum’s boyfriend’s car, because the guy insinuated that he wanted sexual relations with her. Now, there’s nothing, absolutely nothing wrong with that, but what happened next surprised me, because the girl hadn’t figured out where she’d live before she smashed the car. As an Indian kid, I think a lot of us have foresight and weigh in on our actions because we’ve always been told to do so.
  3. The parents are so so lenient!:
    Raise your hand if you’ve read or watched three or more instances wherein the kid runs away from the house, and doesn’t get scolded at all. *raises hand*
    Okay, look, if a kid runs away from their house, it’s definitely a point of concern, and sure Indian parents would be concerned, but the kid would definitely get scolded once the parents have checked they’re fine. Not kidding.
    But not only that, how are these kids allow to roam wherever the hell they want? I wanted to go to my best friend’s birthday and I had to say it’s the last time before my boards!
  4. Call me by my name:
    Okay, so in India, whenever we’re addressing someone slightly older than us, we say, Didi for females or Bhaiya for males, and whenever we are addressing someone very much older than us, we say Aunty for females and Uncle for males, out of respect. So I was very surprised to see all these ten-year-olds call their best friends’ mothers by their names! I mean, sure, that’s American/British culture in general, but it was definitely surprising for 7-year-old me who read this in Enid Blyton short stories!
  5. Children drinking with their parents/ Children drinking/smoking/doing drugs at all:
    Okay, so both my parents don’t drink, and I live in a dry state. So, my exposure to alcohol, needless to say is very less. So, I was surprised when I saw 16-year-olds drinking and smoking and doing drugs. But well, since then, naive little me has grown into a smart young woman (Who am I even kidding?), but yes, I have realised this takes place in India to some extent as well!
  6. Parents literally dropping their kids on dates:
    Okay, so 90% of the populace of my school who dated (Did I use that correctly?) has dated in secret, because we knew we’d be buried alive if our parents found out- well actually, most guys’ parents knew, but none of the girls’ parents knew #sexismiseverywhere. But there, parents literally tease their kids with the guy they’re crushing on and stuff? Like how?
  7. Disrespect:
    I said this in my previous post, and I’ll say it here- how do these kids get away by being disrespectful? Like, seriously how? They’ll be like you don’t do this, you don’t do that etc. etc. They’ll make fun of teachers on their faces and get away with it! Honestly, I hate this! But at the same time, I can’t help feel jealous- because it’s unfair! Like, one time, I stood up to my teacher for myself, and I was told and I quote “not to shout at my teacher”. Like the hell, I am simply standing up for myself? Ugh!
  8. PDA in a classroom:
    So, I was reading this novel, and there was this line “His hand creeping up my thigh like it did in calculus” and I was like ???
    Look, not being able to keep your hands off each other, I get it. Holding hands in the classroom, I get, but that, is extreme. EXTREME. On a related note, teenagers having sex for the sake of it is also something I will never get. I am not sex-negative but I also don’t think sex is something you just have to have before you go to college or something. Anyway, I have ranted about this enough in the post I mentioned, so yep.
  9. What do you want to be when you grow up? Influencer:
    Have you noticed every other person is like a mini-influencer in these films and novels? Like, fine, not every other, but there’s at least one in every grade of every high school and that is a lot! And it’s just weird, honestly. And most of them are like viral or something as well just after posting one video! Give me your power fictional teens!

And that’s all I have for you today, let me know things that surprised you in novels in the comments below!

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47 thoughts on “Discussion Post | 7 Things in American and British novels that used to astound me as an Indian reader.

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  1. Hahaha, I really enjoyed this, Riddhi! Some of these, I could really relate to – like, yes, you need to clarify which kind of phone charger people need before you just hand them one! (Also, why are these people all texting each other using iMessage, when you can just use Whatsapp? 🤯) But in other areas, I think Germany is actually even more extreme than the US 😂 Like, kids have a ton of freedom here, and if you told people your parents were still controlling where you were and making sure you were studying and sticking to your homework schedule at any age older than, say, 13, you would get REALLY weird looks and people would think you weren’t self-reliant at all! And we’re also very much encouraged to discuss/argue with parents and teachers (while still remaining polite, though!) and think for ourselves. After this country’s history, I guess we just have some very bad experiences with blindly listening to authority… 😅 Oh, and drinking is definitely very much a thing, too 😂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ah, thank you Naemi!
      I know right- they don’t even need to Facetime all the time- Whatsapp video calls, duh!
      Oooh, I see, I mean in India, there are both types of people- ones who don’t need their parents to stick to their homework schedule (me!), and the ones who do, so I feel it depends from child to child. Making sure we’re studying- that’s something Indian parents do till the kid’s in their house, so well, yeah😅
      Yess, we can discuss with our teachers as well, but like honestly, I just feel maybe American movie/TV shows/books exaggerate but what they do isn’t polite, even if it is a discussion!
      Ah, of course understandable!
      oooh, I see!

      Thank you so much for the long comment Naemi!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I can relate to these feelings you have. It’s quite interesting to see that they get away with a lot of things because this is how some of them are in reality. Besides everyone is an influencer these days 😅

    Liked by 2 people

  3. That name thing is definitely an issue. When I lived in Indonesia, everyone had a “panggilan” … that is, something they would be called by others that was not their personal name. For people you meet on the street, you’d call them Bapak or Ibu (Father or Mother), but in some other places it would be Uncle/Aunt, or Grandfather/Grandmother depending upon age. In Javanese, you call a young man Mas and a young woman Mbak. Even within the family, people often call each other Kakak (older sibling), Adik (younger sibling), or parents will call each other Mother and Father. In short, people almost never use their given name except on legal documents. It could be very difficult, as a newcomer, to find out people’s names. Oh, and I forgot to say, mothers were called “Mama [insert name of first child].” So, you’d think you had found out somebody’s name only to discover that it was actually their child’s name! To make matters more confusing, “Cucu” was not only the word for “grandchild,” but also a common shortened female name!

    This is sooo different from the U.S. We don’t have “panggilans” that come from family relationships. It’s just not a part of our language or culture, probably because it’s such an egalitarian, individualistic society where people think of themselves as sovereign individuals first and as members of their family second, if at all. Of course that’s a generalization, but true in most cases.

    A few generations ago, adults who weren’t close friends or family would call each other Mr. or Mrs. with family name, and children were expected to address adults this way as well. However, my parents’ generation (the hippies) basically destroyed that. They did not want to be called Mr. or Mrs. because it made them “feel old” (there’s that “youth culture”). So, as a young person, it was a common experience to call an adult Mr. or Mrs., only to be told, “Oh, please, call me by my first name. You are making me feel old.” In school, we still call our teachers Mr. or Mrs., but that’s it. Often, when addressing someone you have to find out what they want to be called (there’s that individualism again).

    In some parts of the country, I believe it is still common that children are taught to call older people Sir and Ma’am. However, in other parts of the country, this will be taken as sarcastic or sassy. Hollywood is in California, which is ground zero for the culture being individualistic, free-spirited, “casual,” and focused on youth. So, any movies or TV shows made there are not likely to preserve the use of Sir, Ma’am, Mr. or Mrs., unless they are portraying people from the American South (and Hollywood folks tend to think of Southerners as r*cist hicks, so the portrayal is not likely to be flattering).

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I mean, yes, that’s similar to the system in India, except it sounds kinda more complex! We just call people slightly older than us to Didi (Female) or Bhaiya (Male) and much older than us Aunty (Female) and Uncle (Male) and older people simply call us Beta or by our names!

      And ohhh, I see, I didn’t know that! Thank you so much for sharing Jennifer!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, basically, it translates to son. And yes, beta, didi, bhaiya are hindi words, but uncle and aunty are used as it is! Like didi literally translates to sister and bhaiya to brother!
        Yes, no worries!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh this is so relatable! In my home there are three different kinds of charges for different devices, that is so annoying. Why can’t there be just one type of charger for everything? My parents joke about my sister dating, but she’s twenty five now lol.
    People calling others much older than them by their names was strange at first, we call just about everyone auntie/uncle/brother/sister in my language.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Aaah, well, only recently everyone in my family started using phones of the same company (except my dad, who uses two phones from two different companies), so we have two charges- but the funny thing is we still need a third charger for bluetooth speakers and headphones, lol!
      Ah, I get that too!
      Same, actually! Do you speak Hindi, by the way?

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ikr, kids get so much freedom in foreign. But the auntie/didi/ uncle thing didn’t shock me. Some of my cousins call their elder sibling by name.
    I have seen so many kid YouTubers, and can’t believe how they can have so much freedoms. One 13 year old girl got a squad house. How??

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yess! I mean, like it’s pretty normal to me now, but when I was like 7, I would be like whaaaaaaaaaat
      What?! I didn’t know that! I mean I see 17-18 year olds in squad houses all the time, but 13 is freaking young!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Good observations! I’m Filipino American, born in Hawaii, which is so far from mainland USA but still a state in the USA lol, but when I used to read novels I too would be shocked at the parents dropping kids off on dates. I had secret boyfriends in high school for awhile because yes, my parents threatened me about dating. They would have not dropped me off on any dates! 😅 In Filipino culture we have words to mean someone older also which I did follow and then just went with the whole Hawaiian culture of calling elders Aunty/Uncle. I’m not sure about PDA in the classroom haha – I never saw that happen where I grew up – what book were you reading?! lol

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you!
      Ah, I can relate to that! Oh, I see!
      As for the PDA thing, it’s actually in an ARC of a book called Turning, I don’t remember the author name😅. But like I feel I have seen it in a few films too, idkk it might be one of those exaggerated things, haha!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. The phone charger thing so trueee! Like everywhere you see in movies, people have iPhones🥲 And here in my house, we have like 3 different brands with 3 different chargers?!?
    and omggg ikrrr HOW DO THE CHILDREN EVEN THINK OF SHARING THEIR CRUSHES AND ALL WITH PARENTS? Like, I’m terrified to tell my mum anything and these guys just go and drop off on dates and call their crush/boyfriend/girlfriend for dinner?!? like howwwwww🤧
    Thiis was such a relatable post, Riddhi!!💫

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Oh I love making these lists!!!
    Also, they get to drive at 16 which makes a lot of things easier- going to parties, scoring alcohol etc. Before commiting myself to an activity I need to check if the place is within walking or cycling distance or if one of my parents is free to pickup and drop me.
    Also, the teens are so rude (atleast from what I have seen in the movies and series). They ignore their parents and shout at them without any grave consequences. I’ve seen teenage girls calling their mom bitches in tv. It’s so unbelievable that I sometimes feel it’s exaggeration.

    Loved the post, Riddhi!!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well, I learnt to ride a two-wheeler at 16, so at least some of my problems are solved! But sadly, a lot of the activities take place at night or are so far away, I have to rely on my parents 😦 But still, I do some stuff on my own

      Yesss, exactly! Like even behind their back and even to their faces! Like, whaaaaat

      Thank you so much Shruvi!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Yeah, the phone charger thing always gets me. But I guess there’s some wizardry or the other to make all the phone chargers as a “one size fits all” kind of scenario. Idk man, maybe some sort of magic is involved 🤔😂

    I honestly don’t understand how these kids can get away with being super disrespectful towards their parents, teachers or basically any adult figure. How are you so super casual with doing that?? Pretty sure we’d be buried 6 feet under if this ever happens here…..

    But anyways, this was a really relatable post!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. IKR! I came across sooo many films or novels that have teenager kids shouting at their parents or slamming a door at their face and the parents are sad and do not just scold them, I’m like how??? Like if you did that in India, you’d be locked up in your room, or given threats with a chappal. And about chargers, we’re always like “ye kaunse brand ka hai”, “chalega kya mere *costly* phone ke liye?” and compatibility is honestly rare.
    And like how parents are so playful about dating like, whoa I’d be buried if I told them I even had a crush 💀
    But nevertheless, I’m okay. I guess.
    I could relate one hundred percent, Riddhi! No, Riddhi Didi.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Exactly!!!
      Well, that’s the good thing, isn’t it? Ours is the last generation that’ll have to deal with the.. stigma? around dating.

      Aaah, please no, don’t call me didi- if it were real life I wouldn’t mind, but the blogosphere is an age-neutral place for me!

      Also, do check your email!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Love this perspective! Even growing up in America, some of those things baffle me too. 😂 I think sometimes people who write books take teenage years to a little extreme. Sure, I’m sure these things happen, but I don’t think I’d say they’re the norm. I don’t remember any of my siblings or myself ever screaming with our parents, and I could drive myself by the time I was going on dates. xD

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I call most adults Ms. Mrs. Mr. or Miss. I have a few friends who are young and they like to be called by their names. But even my dad calls some of his friends Ms. Mrs. or Mr.
    No kidding! At my friends house they don’t have any chargers like mine! I always make sure they are charged or bring my own.
    If I ran away from home I would be more worried about the punishment I would get than anything else. When I was younger that is what kept me at home (laugh)(jk).
    No way would my dad ever drop me on a date! I have to go with him at all times everywhere we go. I have never had a date and probably won’t until I’m MUCH older. But that is my choice.(plus idk boys my age) But it’s crazy how the parents just are fine with their child going off on a date and not telling them anything!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Not gonna lie I might’ve grown up to realize how normal all of this is, but on some level i am still seriously shocked at how a few of these still happen. Like losing your virginity just for the sake of it? And the drugs part and just… It’s weird but it still feels so unrealistic when i think about my life and the ones around me lol. Awesome discussion!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Ooh this was interesting to read as an Indian American. I think these books and movies exaggerate the reckless behavior and rudeness (most parents I know would explode if their kids really disrespected them lol). We’re allowed to drive at about 15 or 16 here, so it’s much easier to roam around without your parents. And I call my friends parents by their names or Mr/Mrs (depends on what they prefer!) or aunty or uncle if they’re desi haha. Drinking and seeing people vape in school bathrooms is honestly pretty common, despite it being illegal.

    I also agree with what Naemi said about being encouraged to REALLY discuss with teachers and adults even though your raising your voice. And on the influencer thing, I know a couple people who are actually famous on social media (one guy actually has millions of followers!!!). Great post, Riddhi!

    Like

  15. THESE ARE ON POINT! The phone charger thing—I noticed it when we in India had a huge problem as devices were switching to C type. I literally have a converter to help with new and old charger ports. And considering how Americans/British have iPhones AND Androids, I don’t get it.

    Heck yes to leniency and parents approving and encouraging dating! I have not dated but all my friends have dated in secret too. The books made me think about a whole new world and while I accept it in books, it is still hard for me to accept it in real life because the society doesn’t.

    Love this post, Riddhi!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yess, I noticed that too- like just how, I don’t get the phone charger thing!

      Yeah, I agree… I mean, when some of my guy friends tell me their parents don’t mind them dating, I am shocked, still.

      Thanks Sumedha!

      Like

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