I was a seventeen-year- old indian when I first set foot in the United States of America as a semester exchange student at one of the universities based in Florida. I was super excited to start my new journey outside of my country and was eager to make new acquaintances.

The university and the country were both very warm and welcoming and I was glad to have made the decision. I met a lot of people from different countries. All of us spoke different languages and belonged to completely diverse cultures. We were all trying to get to know more about each other and talking about our roots and the origins we belonged to.

This was when I realized that many Americans knew very little about the rich and diverse culture of India. India is actually one of the fastest growing technological countries in the world, but few people seemed to grasp this concept. I often had to answer questions that indicate that despite our generation being labeled the first global generation, there is still a lot of misconception. Here are some of the most common questions I faced that indicate we have a long way to go to become a truly global society,

Five of the strangest questions that I faced:

  • Do you guys still travel on camels?
  • Cricket? Do you by any chance mean baseball?
  • Your parents got an arranged marriage? How does that even work?
  • Do you speak Hindu/Indian?
  • Are you a vegetarian?

Facts about these baseless myths:

  • NO! We do not hangout with cows and travel on camels because we have one of the largest railway systems in the world and also one of the largest road networks aggregating to 3.3 million kilometers, (over five million miles). We also produced a record 25.3 million motor vehicles in 2016-17.
  • Cricket is nowhere close to baseball as they are both very different games. There are three things that Indians religiously worship - God, Cricket, and Bollywood.
  • Well, yes my parents got an arranged marriage and the secret ingredient that makes it work is simply love. The success rate of arranged marriages is way more when compared to that of love marriages. Moreover, there is a huge difference between arranged and forced marriages. They are not the same thing.
  • There are 22 official and over 700 unrecognised languages in India, yet none of them is called Hindu/Indian.
  • Am I vegetarian? No - I love chicken and I can live on it forever! Furthermore, 71 percent of the Indian population is non-vegetarian. There is a ban on beef in the country due to some religious beliefs, but the people definitely do enjoy other kinds of meat.