Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Weekends and Long Weekends

If you have never been to the US (maybe UK I am not sure - I have never been there); if there are 2 days holidays that are adjacent to a weekend, and somebody asks you - "So, what are you doing this long weekend?" - you would probably look at him weirdly, as if he has lost his marbles.
In the US, there is a major hype about Long Weekends and to a certain extent weekends also. While back in India, when I came to office to work on a monday, all I would be asked/told was about the next defect to be fixed, or next project work to be done. Whereas in the US, almost every monday , atleast half an hour is spent in discussing what you did over the weekend - and you won't beleive it when I say that sometimes half an hour is not enough - because of the multitude of things that we do here over 2 days of vacation.
If it is a long weekend - then that is even bigger a story. Almost everybody goes out of home for a long weekend here. In Chennai/Bangalore if you got 2 days off on Monday/Tuesday, I can count the number of families who would pack bags to visit another place. 2 days before are spent in researching, getting maps, hotels , directions, things-to-do, things-to-take, booking a car, flight information, weather ... the list just goes on and on ... And after you are back 2 days are spent in chit-chatting on what all you saw, where all you went, how you could have made the trip better and so on ...
It is almost like a crime if you are not out of your house during the long weekend. "What ! you are home all the 4 days!" , "Come on! what are you doing to do?" , "why don't u check the last minute deals on xyz website" .... all 'friendly' suggestions you would hear if you said - you wanted to rest at home for a long weekend.
Some people genuinely interested in visting places make their trips in advance. Others(especially the ones with housewives) make trips only so that they can - a) tell others they went to so-and-so place - b) put a stop to the nagging wives complaints.
I guess, it is probably the amount of avenues/opportunities that you are provided with here - that allows you to go out more often than in India. When I want to plan a trip to any place in the US - I have zillions of information available - on the Internet and in the public libraries. I can even book a meal at a restaurant I am going to eat in 3 months later!! Whereas while in India, we wanted to go down to the Jog Falls - and we struggled to find some information about a hotel in the near-abouts. All numbers posted in web-sites/yellow pages were not responding - and we cancelled the trip!
Well, another long weekend in the offing and you bet - I am travelling !

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