And a very big hullo to you too.

Last time I visited Philadelphia was 17 years ago.

Amongst discovering bagels with Philadelphia cream cheese, Subway sandwiches, Yoga that trip; I noticed a lot of morning joggers, walkers and office goers who would smile at my dad and me. They would ask us how we were doing and walk, jog, run away before we could respond.

I found it weird.I would generally shy away. Every other ‘American’ approaching me was like another ‘hullo’ attack to my amused self.

My father would generally wave back. A very extrovert gesture for a very introvert man. That would totally amuse me, more so when he would go on to explain that these strange strangers mean no harm.Instead they are nice to visitors. They were only greeting the tourists.

It is part of American custom I had come to believe.  I came to enjoy the American friendliness, accepting nature and love for tourists.

Over years I have come to hear a lot of anti-American-hullo-culture. It has been called put on, forced, superficial, irritating and needless.

May be, it was all that.

17 years later I have walked the same Delaware river sidewalk for the last 3 weeks.Approximately at the same time that I have done in the past with my dad. The walkers, joggers and office goers are still there.But there are no friendly hullos. There are no smiles.

Makes me wonder if this is the price we pay for war, terrorism, recession, ethnic cleansing, hatred and fear. A lot has happened in the last 17 years. I am trying to understand.


Have we made it impossible for us to trust the next human. Is it now impossible to be tolerant of another faith? Can we no longer accept another colour?

I am forced to wonder.



Filed under Camaraderie, Confusion, Culture, Disappointments, Emotions, Expectations, Experiences, Fears, Life, Pain, People, Questions., Rants, Sad, Thoughts

5 responses to “And a very big hullo to you too.

  1. Till 1968, coloured people were segregated in US.
    Considered inferior, untouchable.
    Many lives were lost, before they were reluctantly given equal rights.
    Since then how many ‘hullos’ were exchanged in genuine friendship?

    Surely not all, it could only have been a few.
    For if their was genuineness in that friendship,
    it would have withstood
    whatever test it has been put through in the past few years.
    It obviously didn’t.


  2. Oh well that’s just too bad. People everywhere are too guarded now, not as open & friendly as before, so I am not sure the lack of hellos are because of one’s skin colour.

    As a child you were a cutie pie (I have a vague memory) & so probably irresistible to pass by without saying hello. While I don’t say hi to adults on the streets, I definitely smile & say hello to a child. For if don’t let the children know that there are friendly happy faces out there, their view of the world is a much sadder & scarier one. Take yourself for eg: you look back at that time & see it as a happy friendly one…Now it’s our turn to make that friendly gesture on to the little ones of today, especially the world of today.


  3. ya it’s so much nicer when ppl just look at each other and say hi..and i don’t mean the types like the grocery clerks who just randomly ask “hi how are u doing” in a stereotyped way, i mean the real ones with a smile on their face…for me, the american experience is just over a yr old so i don’t really know if things have changed…but i don’t think it’s a color issue..


  4. Apy

    Phew!!.. itna saara Homework.. Jus finished reading all the posts in your brand new blog.. well fr me it is brand new 😛 … Good to know that you are doin fine… Keep rockin….


  5. Yeah, it is these incidents which are to blame for people turning cold. !

    Nevertheless, I hope you are enjoying your stay in US.


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