I'll admit I'm a bit of a gawker. If I see something interesting, I stare. If I see someone reading something, I'm consumed with curiosity trying to figure out what it is. In crowds, I get my kicks looking around and observing everyone around me. And I guess back in India, not too many people mind.
Which is why one thing I find really difficult in the US is maintaining that particular, unwavering gaze that's aimed off into the middle distance, meant to be non-threatening, yet not making it obvious that one is avoiding eye contact. It's especially difficult in places where you're packed in tight, like elevators, corridors and subway trains.
A related problem is what to do once eye contact is made - some sort of acknowledgment is usually necessary, yet an actual conversation is too much. It's like the gunslingers of the Wild West, making eye contact, sizing each other up, and then firing off a quick "Hey, how's it going?" and turning your gaze away before the other person makes the mistake of thinking that you actually care. So far the most I can manage is a quick nod and some sort of a gurgle in my throat. It's something I'm working on, though, and, hopefully, I'll get it right in a couple of weeks. Maybe I'll even be able to say "Have a good one" without laughing. I'll just have to stay strong and tell myself, "Yes, I can".