Lost in deep thoughts, I was busy packing my baggage with an expression less face .But I was not at all surprised to see the happiness on the face of my wife. She was all excited ever since I broke the news to her that I may have to travel to states soon. I had tried to set her expectations in the past 3 days but the excitement for first foreign trip is always there in mind of an individual, I could very well relate her state of mind which I had for my first overseas trip some years back.
I had disclosed about my travel plan to very few people. 5+ years in the IT industry and my previous foreign trips had taught me enough lessons that projects get scrapped at the last moment and all the travel plans go down the drain. And along with it the sheer excitement, happiness and various fantasies one creates about the trip. It is very difficult to digest such news especially someone like my wife who has never been through the taunts and comments of the people ( especially relatives ) who will leave no stone unturned to prick you to the core why your trip got cancelled or why the project end midway of your estimated long duration of stay at onsite.
This was my third foreign trip in last 5 years and I was in no mood to travel at all. Had not been the majbooris of life I would never prefer to go abroad.Last time when it was a year ago, just before marriage I had vowed never to come back to US, at least for working (Travelling as a tourist was fine). But soon realized life never works as per plans we make. My company had been constantly pushing me to travel client site but I had always refused citing personal problems.
With moist eyes and pain of departing from my near ones we departed and reached USA.Soon life became a routine, travelling between office and home and I was in my previous workoholic avatar.
I have never loved this place and the more I am staying here the more I am missing my country.
What hurts me more is when people write comments on my Facebook wall, send mail telling as
“Tum to Dollar chaap rahe ho ”
“Aish kar rahe ho Guru “
“Zindagi ke asli maje to tum hi le rahe ho ” et al.
But believe me not by any fraction I am Happy here. Had it not been a career issue and other reasons I would have never cared to come to this country.
There are many reasons why I don’t like this country , some of them which I would like to highlight here:
1) Miss those chai ki tapri : One thing which I miss most is the CHAI KI TAPRI or chai ka khokha where we would stand with our colleagues or friends and discuss topics varying from Cricket, politics, economy, boss , Bollywood etc. It is also hot spot for chilling out the day to day tension. And an avid tea drinker like me misses such scene the most.
2) Miss the roadside dhabas : Travel and journey can never be complete without the roadside dhabas. You simply park your car/bike, wash your face and sit on a charpoy parked at roadside. Chat around, relax, rejuvenate and again move forward. No amount of Mc Donald’s, KFC, Five Guys or SubWays can match these fun in India .
3) Miss my friends, family and relatives :Here life just revolves around office and home. You are lucky if you have some Indian friends in the same project or in the same society you are staying. But they may never replace your true friends. These people may come close to you while you are in USA but it’s very much likely they will lose touch once you come back. Well exceptions are always there and I too have very close friends out here but again very few.
4) The great Gr$$n Card Dream: Most of the Indians I have met here don’t think beyond green card at all. Every second Indian has dreams of getting a Green card and settling in states. They may try to showoff of missing their nation but from beneath they are in so much of fascination of the facilities, infrastructure and especially the dollar that they don’t want to return back. Surprisingly these are the people who curse and abuse India & Indians as such.
5) Feel like unwanted or an alien: Though we may be terming ourselves as IT professionals orhighly skilled resources but the truth is Americans still look towards us as “CHEAP INDIAN LABOURS” .We are perceived same as Indians perceive poor Bangladeshis or Nepalese working in India, just to earn some money for a decent living. Fear of law makes them treat us in somewhat decent way but there will be several instances where you will realize what they think about you. Body language speaks a lot and shouts loudly at us “Go back you morons, we don’t want you here”. I have heard such statements in reality when they shouted in fit of anger & frustration. And believe me at that moment you feel like giving a punch in the face of that idiot, pack your bags and catch the first flight back home.
6) Freedom for many Indians: One of the many interesting excuses I have come to know is – INDEPENDENCE.I agree that this country gives space to everyone and respects their privacy.The most funny excuse I have come across is from married individuals especially girls, who say they were fed up of post marriage ceremonies and invitations from their relatives. Almost every weekend and sometimes weekdays in India they had to constantly travel to their relatives place for dinner, lunch and other functions. Travelling to onsite provides the break and privacy they were so much coveting for.
7) Cut off from the culture: In my view it’s easier to bring up kids in India than in USA. The most important constituent of upbringing is our family and spanking. Unfortunately it’s prohibited by LAW. Parents are not allowed to beat their own children and are put behind bars if they do so. The kids never have that respect inculcated by fear and have no knowledge about Indian culture as they grow up since there are no family elders to teach them values.
The term ABCD (American Born Confused Desi) most aptly fits in this scenario to define them.
8) Life is too simple and easy that I don’t feel any challenge in day to day activities.
In India from the moment you wake up, go to office, work, come back and sleep we face n number of challenges. Right from your house maid, traffic rage , MCs BCs, #^%#^%,handling challenging resources at work, handling clients, handling traffic and climate, to handling everything provides so much of challenge and fun that it keeps us occupied all the time.
It takes 30 min to travel 50 km in USA whereas it takes 2 hours to travel 22 km in Noida. What to do in rest of the time is the question for many like me?
9) Miss the festivals of India: No amount of celebration with people of Indian community match the fun of celebrating festivities in India. The charm, the madness, the excitement which builds 10 days before the festival is beyond words .The colors, light, dancing on the streets ,water balloons, dholis , bhangra et al is surely missed. Yes I miss my family the most in such times.
10) Sad news from India sends a chill down the spine. In the past 5 months I have heard 2 sad news in the team where team mates lost their parent. Though we feel bad on hearing such News but it gives chill down the spine because somewhere in the corner of the mind and heart we all fear that something similar may happen to us and pray silently to keep our parents safe, at least till we are in a foreign country.
11) Everything is so plastic here : No true feelings. Though people are law abiding citizens but the care and sympathy is not natural. It’s good to follow rules but sometimes the FUN element comes in breaking few rules too. Isn’t it? We cannot even think of doing so here.
12) People may show care and concern but it may be short lived and momentarily. Everything Is measured in terms of profit and loss ( the basic Capitalist framework of this economy).Believe me or not I have found Americans more helpful as compared to Indian settled out here. NRIs have an air of attitude whenever they see any Indian. They fear that the Indians may ask for any help from them sic.
13) Less respect for elders: Most of the Americans leave their parents in old age homes at the time when they need their kids the most for emotional support and care. Thanks to this culture of Independent lives, adults leave their parents as early as they reach High school and are least bothered to return back to their parents. I can’t even imagine of doing so.
There are other positives too about this nation but at the same time I would like to stress that I am not against settling in USA. It’s about the satisfaction and happiness. I believe one should be far sighted as far as peace of mind is concerned. We should not risk our happiness for short term gain.
Getting a Green card is just a temporary phenomenon. What next after that? What matters most is happiness on day to day basis.Leaving the country where you are born,the people with whom you have grown up,the culture which has deepely ingrained in your genes,the motherly and fatherly affection which binds you and the patriotic feeling which empower us can’t be easily forgotten.
After all it’s the small things in life which give us more happiness than million dollars in a bank account and ferrari parked in the garage.Isn’t it ?
NB: The views expressed here are personal but would love to discuss and debate about your views too 🙂
Akshat Joshi says
Aptly put sir, I have seen lot many scenarios of the points that you have compiled….the one that I hate the most is NRIs develop an attitude of disgust towards their roots…..fuck them who cares…as Steve Job said…our lives are verry short and we shall avoid lliving some one’s elses life. A huge portion of the great american dream is fueled by being accepted and hailed in the indian society which lauds materialistic success….but only the individuals know what they are going through. Keep up the good work 🙂
Good one.. agreed with most… carry on good work…
Ravindra, After reading this blog I am dropping the idea of going abroad :D.
“per ek baar jana to banta hai…phir true comments dungi is blog pe”
The thought of settling down there and leaving our parents, friends, relatives all here surely create lot of anxiety within me…I don’t think I would be ever be able to get settled there even if i get the opportunity…it’s fine for 1-2 years…but definately not more than that….nothing is more important than love, care, attachment…and my family
Nicely Put as always 🙂
Nicely compiled… I agree for all… Would add few more
– So called NRI’s look forward for Green card as well get their kid in US itself, so that they get US citizenship by birth; and anyone of them can fly in/out anytime.
My own opionion; You dont live the life being in US most of the time, if you are there for shorter period of 1-2 years or if dont belong to the breed who has the greed for GC. Exception is if you get your own friend circle (mean it short term), they do fall under #12 of above.
I personally have inclination towards life in Japan, even though you work extremely hard there, still you have enough room to enjoy.
Indeed…very well written!!!
So well written Rajput..totally agree with it!!
Sushant Agarwal says
Everything being said is true…our INDIAN roots are the biggest asset that we have…i do not want to loose it by shifting to US…
True! Very True!
gayatri soni says
it’s not just about foreign country but moving to other city also makes us feel getting detached from our loved ones. we miss our mother’s food, our parents’ catechism….though sometimes one would feel like going away from them but these are the things we miss most. moreover, it’s all about our perception too & how do our surroundings behave. just ignore & get involved with beautiful people.
well!seriousness apart, how many times did you break the rules 😉
missed your posts!!! 🙂
Shweta Singh says
Nicely put together. Keep writing.
I am simply moved after reading your blog. You spoke my mind and heart exactly as it is. Even I face exactly the same situation. I prefer to be in india and take care of my parents , but my wife has the fantasy to settle abroad, just for the simple reason because she can get freedom/independence and for a cleaner and corruption free society.
Even though i have exactly the same feelings and agree to each word of yours , yet i couldn’t have written so well as you. Keep writing and have the great work going
Major Anita says
All that you have written is so true. I my self have not travel to US anytime , but i have been to Dubai, and what you say of everything being “so plastic” is absolutely correct. it feels like your are on a museum tour, everything spic and span. Feels so artificial. And point No.10 , so so valid . Seen that happen to a very dear friend.
Well written and keep writing
vivek ghosh says
As expected, this blog hits the nail on the head. However, there is a point that I would contradict.
I don’t know why and we often say statements like “Americans leave their parents at old age homes” and “Less respect for elders”. This has almost become a cliche of sorts when we try to patronize ourselves. In reality, most young americans are emotionally well connected to their families.
Abhishek Sharma says
I have seen that movie Swades you know and yes deep inside we are desi but still I would definitely prefer to wander about out there once at least 🙂 … The idea behind that would be to understand everything that is there, that makes life easy and what we as Indians can do about it without leaving out on our culture and other primary aspects of life …. our township life was comparatively easy, secure and in a way full of bliss as to what we have here in the city, u see, that is where I am trying to eventually get at … that way of life more improved … improvised and in accordance to our holy scriptures.
Abhishek Lenka says
Hi.. that is a nice post 🙂
I am going through the similar emotions. USA is a always a double edged sword !!! Nothing is more soothing than having a morning tea with friends/relatives & sharing each other’s happiness & problems. I am missing that aspect badly.
So true said…!
We always miss roadside chaat, dhabas, watch hindi movies in open air theatre, while trip to somewhere no tension for foods blah blah blah so many things… In short more we stay here more we miss and value our country, our ppl etc
I usually talking to my husband that we never get close friends here.. I do not know but somehow ppl change their nature or what but here friends are also plasticy and also looks for profit or may be they are not much emotional as we are… forget it..
I personally did not feel what you have written in No. 5… nevermind its may be your personal experience…
but everything well said… Keep up your good work…
What you have written is absolutely true. This is the condition of a working professional. Imagin what will be the case of those ex – working women who come to USA as dependents. If one wants to know the real value of freedom then come to USA as a dependent..
ravindra rajput says
Thanks Ashwini for dropping by here and sharing your views.
Its true that I have shared my views as a first person working here.Would like to hear from ex working housewives.
A good Article…..But there are few Burns which have forced me out of that country…
1. I was in Mumbai, I was a Victim of Mumbai Blast in Trains in 2006. I cannot forget it ever, its fear Specially in eyes of my parents, who had almost lost his life.. I DO NOT want to see the same pain in my eyes and injuries on my Son.
2. I had Just Lost my MERIT seat in VJTI just by 1 seat, and 30 seats were distributed to the SC,ST….
3. Every day travelling 2 hrs in Buses and Train for reaching office and than same time coming back.. This is absolutely non productive work and I am severe asthmatic. I hope you get what hell I used to get through EACH DAY…
4. I have never seen my father spending any quality and quantity time with us as he also used to follow same routine (Morning 8:30 to Evening 9:30 Monday to Saturday) And Sundays he would rest, which he most deserves. I wanna spent quality time with my son each day as a father and want to get involved with him each day.
5. Its we Indians who are in to the transition generation 1/2 life in India and 1/2 in USA are so much in to culture and festivals. My Son is 100% USA born and born and brought up here he is American. Culture by defn is way of life which a generation and Surrounding teach him. I feel hard to accept culture here as my culture is from India and not from here…My son has culture from USA and so is easy from him its we who make them Confused Desi…
6 The quality of food, every month i used to have one or the other Allergic reaction after eating the food i eat daily… Thanks to Pesticides and Chemicals.
7 Original VAIO laptop i had bought from India and it did not even last 4 months <> and same laptop in USA i bought in 2009 and i am writing now from the same.
8. Yamuna river is the most sacred river in my Religion and culture and when i see it today from banks of Mathura and Gokul.. TRUST me tears roll down my eyes.Good question comes what have you done to prevent it… Guys I am common man, I elected ppl to do that…and we all know what did they do.
9. My Sister delivered baby in C Section as doctor wants to pick up his kids from School and he was running late… The delivery could have been Normal… Just imagine. And my wife had missed her due date in USA, and she was so treated so carefully each day and after a week she had normal delivery.
10. There was Hotel On the ground floor of my building, I have see seen its kitchen… GUTTER could not be better…. trust me in USA such Restaurants cannot be existing.
There is many many stuff in USA which I don’t like, their very open Culture, their need to be very independent and need for personal space etc but its me who is Confused Desi and not my Kids…
business marketing says
Highly energetic post, I loved that bit. Will there be a part
loved ur blog. frankly speaking i too wanted to visit or settle down in foriegn country like my other friends who unlike you feels lucky and at the same time become arrogant as they have achieved an impossible thing in life.
Seriously, ur blog has consoled my heart and made me proud for being in india. it has showed me the truth which i had ignored knowingly.
thanks buddy for the positive motivation. Keep writing.
Deepak Singh says
wo kehta hai mujhse is jameen ko chhod de,,
is fate kurte ki fati aasteen ko chhod de,,
chal tujhe duniya ki jannat dikha laaoo,,
chal tujhe jeene ka sahi lehja sikha laaoo,,
Mai poochta hu us se…….
kya wo jameen bhi aise hi haath faila kar gale lagaati hai,,
kya waha bhi fati aasteen ko seelne maa pyaar se bulaati hai,,
wo dost jo mere dukh me roye aur sukh me saath saath haste hai,,
kya us jannat me bhi aise hi fariste baste hai,,
apno ko bhul k apne aap me hi khoye rehte ho
kya isi ko jeene ka sahi lehja kehto ho !!!!!
saritha reddy says
Hi all! its been 11 yrs i got student visa to usa….tried twice to stick to my plan of finishing my MS but no i missed my family so much that hardly i stayed there for 15 days once and 4 days on the second trip but still confused whether it was right decision or not???????????