Thursday, October 1, 2009


THE ORGANIC THOUGHT wrote about desh ki Mitti today. I was just musing over his thoughts and then I was reminded of 2-3 incidences which made me express my feelings through this post.

I was talking to my travel agent today regarding my ticket to Boston and then he informed me that in USA air travelers have to pay $15-20 for every check in baggage.

I was surprised to know this fact. Was it to discourage the people to travel or was it to generate more money? (In India thank God, we are still allowed to check in huge bags free of cost)

And then today morning Neha informed me that she was not feeling well ,may be food poisoning.

I felt so helpless as I couldn’t do any thing sitting so far off from her except for advising her to take some medicine from the available stock with her or go to a doctor?

And then again I was in for a shock.

“ Mumma , you cannot just go to a doctor. You have to take an appointment with him”
“ But beta if there is an emergency?
“then go to the emergency department of a hospital and get admitted” she replied

I told her, “in India we visit the doctor any time we want, for a simple ailment we don’t take appointments. We can even call him in the night for an emergency situation. For that matter I can go to a local chemist and ask him to give me some medicine. Why don’t you go to your nearby chemist shop and take some medicine
“yes mom, but this is USA yahan aisa nahi hota. The chemist will not give any medicine without prescription”

The above facts along with my conversation with one of our family friend who had come for a vacation from the big world known as USA made me express my self so vehemently today

This friend of ours who had been living in America from last 25 or so years very emotionally expressed his views about the life in the advanced country.

I am putting his views now, sometime in his own words and sometimes in my own words
According to him most of the Indians there are ABCD i.e. AMERICA BASED CONFUSED DESIS.
They enjoy the comforts, the style of life there but when it comes to their values especially with their children most of them are in a fix. They want to bring up their children there amongst the natives of America, but they don’t want their children to adopt American culture, they want their children to adopt Indian moral values.

How is it possible? You let your child grow in that free environment yet you want them to adhere to Indian spiritual and moral values.?

Then he talked about the isolation most of the Indians feel there. They may form a major work force there, they may be earning fat pay packets, they may have invested in huge houses or cars or other comforts or they may have acquired the much sought after Green card, Yet they don’t feel the emotional attachment to that country which has given them the way and style of life which they always wanted.

He said, “ inspite of living in this part of world from last more than 25 years , I still feel my roots are still in India. Moreover the fact remains that we Indians are always considered as outsiders here. We may have Americans as our friends, we may work harder than most of them, but still they don’t consider us as one of them. We don’t feel that we belong to this world”.

“ we still feel a special bonding, a special attachment for India. Daily we follow the news of India, we celebrate all Indian festivals, any thing untowardly that happens there causes concern to us.

To quote him further, “the worst part is most of the Indians try to adopt the culture of America but the fact remains that they are neither there nor here. We try to become practical and unemotional like them but in deep in our hearts we still want the show of love, affection. We miss the warmth of India. We realize the worth of Indian culture only when we are away from that .

“ in India a working couple can by just spending a few thousand rupees can employ a full time servant or even part time ones who will clean the utensils, clothes, house and who will also cook the food. By spending just few hundreds rupees one can get his clothes ironed by a dhobi. And also in India we have parents who give us that emotional backing which we lack there”

“In India we can go for work, employ a servant to look after our child and we are rest assured that the child would be looked after properly under the supervision of our parents”
( how true).
He further said, “ most of the Indians settled there wants to come back to India ( only after saving a huge bank balance to that they can live a luxurious life in India)

He narrated an incidence when his child suddenly fell ill there and his wife was all alone. He said that was the time when they missed India.
“ If we would have been here, our neighbours would have run across to help us, our relatives would have come home, we could have knocked at the door of neigbhouring doctor in the middle of night and he would have come to help us without even raising his eyebrows.”

He went on and on about comparing both the life styles and the advantages of Living in India

“ yes, we get good salary there, we have big cars. Even students can afford cars there. We can wear branded clothes, we do have a better life style, we enjoy so many luxuries there but at what cost?”

“ we are still strangers there, we try to pretend that we are very happy with our big bank balances our jet life but deep in our hearts all ABCDs are emotionally starved”

I just wonder what is that attracts most of our youth to that world. Is it the glamour of a advanced nation or independent and free life style and of course lots of money ( in terms of Indian rupees because in dollars they may not be earning so much but when converted to INR it does make an impressive number) and if it is so than why do most of the ones settled abroad talk of coming back to India?
Another thing which I have noticed while talking to may people settled abroad is their guilt feeling towards their parents who are still in India.
Being Indians with Indian values and Indian upbringing where respect of elders, taking care of old parents is still given importance these migrated birds feel guilty as they are not fulfilling their duties towards their parents but then again the greed of having their own independent life lures them and takes precedence over their guilt feeling

Is it just the desire to acquire materialistic comforts which pulls the Indians to foreign countries? Because after talking to many NRIs I have realized that very few are really satisfied with their life there.


Milan Mehta said...

How very true!! I agree most Indian's are ABCD or CBCD( Canadian based confused Desi's). We are indeed living materialistic life and to a large extent are being selfish. We think of current and future. We feel guilty of being away from our parents but don't or can't do anything about it and just carry on thinking its the way of life.

AJ said...

Yes, all that glitters is not Gold and there is no doubt about it. Indian living in USA and missing India every day is just like a broken relationship of a couple living apart not talking to each other but still waiting for a call to hear other's voice :-) haha
I started writing a reply to your post but then realized it would be too long and probably will become a post by itself...LOL
But the truth is that Life is a trap and it keeps pulling you in it slowly and slowly and by the time you realized that you've been conned by destiny, it is too late and you are left with only memories and regrets...
But there's always a choice to make and it is always in your just need a kick in the butt and a shot straight in your heart...

Mustaf said...

It is an aged(If he has lived there for 25 years, he must be 50-60 yrs old by now) person who has lived there for 25 years, has realized this towards the end of his life. He had the same dream 25 years ago that today's generation has in their eyes. No matter how much we read and hear, certain experiences we learn only after realizing by ourselves.

So, people will still continue to go there, live the same life that they have already read of, regret at the end for taking the decision, will describe his miseries to others and most probably suggest to listen to him and not to repeat the same mistake, still others will listen to him but do what they want just like we are doing here. This cycle will continue forever.

Hopeless Romantic said...

Dear Mrs. Gandhi,

I am following your blog for quite some time, but this is the first time i decided to post a comment. I myself have lived in US for a year, away from parents. I am their only son, originally from delhi, and my sis is married in a different part of India. So when i went to US, my parents were alone. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in US only to realise later that this is not the place i want to live all my life. Though i could have stayed as long as i wanted through my work profile, i decided to come back to India. Though one year may not be sufficient time to make big claims, i still have few things up my sleeve to say..

The kind of people you are talking about are generally from small towns. This is a proven fact that since they already started living away from family (for eg. an IT worker from jalandhar living in noida because of work), it doesn't matter whether they live in US or India. For them, you are always away from family. So for them the natural attraction of being with family, and so called adoption of cultures and values never come into the picture. They are happy living day in and day out (along with experiencing all the things which you have just mentioned), but never giving a thought about how they are living their lifestyle. I have nothing against such people living abroad, my only concern is live the way you would live in india in terms of life standards. they keep acting as kanjoos, trying to save money and in the end decides never to come back to india. I feel people like me (who have their own home, lives with parents) actually would always come back to India. Its so much more convenient to live with them, than to live alone. So like currently i m doing my PG from Australia, but i always have this thing of going back to Delhi and be with my parents (working abroad for a few years is/was an exception, it helps you in breaking out the monotony and you see different places too)

Oops, long comment!

Would love to see you around!


Apanatva said...

very true Anju ji.Right now i am in California and i totally agree with your views .What a coincidence i have posted today only about my 2000's Boston visit .Let me know if i could be of some help since i am in USA these days don't worry ,Neha will be fine .

Gayathri said...

I think it's not just the greed..Everyone likes being in their own country..serving some other country as second class citizen is sickening..but in india,after all those reservations,and such frigging practices,seldom does talent get recognised..see whats happening in IIT now,..those professors chose to be in India,and serve the country,and arent even respected well..and hence people resort to fleeing without the least interest..How can we blame them?

AJ said...

Life is all about choices and decisions which always come with pros and cons...It is all about time and circumstances that shape up everything...To me it all grounds to one you see life....there are people who eventually brought their parents in US and have their all family here...they do miss India but they don't crave for returning back home...then there are some such also who really get home sick, some come here to work, enjoy and learn and return back...perception always changes towards things and that is the secret of life...and it is very obvious to feel returning back home coz when one was at home, he/she had some feeling that pushed him for abroad and then it became his/her new arousal of such a feeling again to return back is I guess natural...maybe post return and 5-6 years down the lane, he/she might have similar feeling again to make a move for some change again...not that I am negating anyone's thoughts here but as I said...its all very practical & obvious phenomenon...Kaaye Bolte ;~)

Indian Homemaker said...

I think the only ones who like to stay there are those who grew up there or were born there.

My 22 year old cousin is taught by his India born, mother, that India is better and our culture is better than anywhere else, Western culture is not good etc... I feel this is unfair to him, because he loves his own country, and this kind of talk confuses him.

I know his parents would love to come back to India once they retire. I understand teaching him about his roots, but if it is not balanced, it can, in some ways make him feel like an outsider in his own country, which is not India... he loves his country (the US),and he should.

BK Chowla said...

Personally.I would not like to settle anywhere except India.
What you have written is correct,but I would suggest breaking up this into two different periods.One,when there were no opportunities in India for professionals.There always was only one wish after completing education.Go to USA and get green card.At that time those who took the decision were perhaps right as the circumstances so desired.
Two,scene now.Not every one wants to settle abroad,especially the US.The world is becoming smaller,travel is becoming easy.Indians now are being invited by MNCs around the world and I know for a fact that they are treated no less than any white man.These are the people who will come after their assignments and of course a lot of money because every $ brought back is Rs 47/=.
Hence,in y opinion today we are better placed as we are wanted and are not forcing ourselves on any nation.

Ooglers Googlers said...

I disagree to most parts of the thoughts. Although they are ORGANIC thoughts from the writer, I do respect that. My take is complete different on this topic.

- Medication is regulated in US due to high law suits that have been filed against the Chemists/Pharmacies when people were abusing the privilige of having free access to drugs. Additionally, how many times do you hear about death of people in India due to overdose or wrong drug supplied by the Chemist/Pharmacist purely on instinct and connections?

- Airline Travel - US economy is in the transformational state and the hungry capitalist will do anything they can to keep themselves sustained. Even Kingfisher airline in India has leased out their aircraft to poor african countires to "keep their lights on". How is this not different than the US counterparts to do anything to sustain yourself.

Above all, it's the choices we make to live our life. If cribbing/remembering one's country for it's benefits that are now unavailable in US is crime, then why do we still have millions of Indians flocking the US embassy and trying to get a visa for this country?

I have learnt to live life here sans the things that are easily accessible when in India. Conversly, you many have not tasted/experienced the different lifestyle of US in order to make a right choice between the good and bad. It's all in your head and it's about the choices we make in life.

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