Outsourced? - Welcome back to India, mate!
What inspired me to write this article
The head line that I read few days ago about Australia stopping visa schemes - called "475 visa" sparked a whirlpool of thoughts in my mind. It read something like this - "No Temporary Workers! Australia stops visa scheme used by most Indians". You and I would agree to this if we were ruling Australia. When my country is having unemployment as a its burning issue, would I give employment opportunity to outsiders? No. This put so many Indian aspirants in a dilemma. And how can we forget Trump administration! Ask any Indian now a days and they'd say "Trump has made things difficult. I plan to travel back to our home country soon. I don't feel safe in here". I am referring to employment based, non immigrant H1B visa which is issued by America for temporary workers. This can not be filed by a US worker. Only specially skilled people can opt for this visa. You can stay for 6 years in America, once you are through. And guess who uses these visas the most? - The Indian IT industries! As I write this article, my TOI feed pops up and says "Wipro lays off 2000 employees as a part of performance appraisal." - Thanks to tightening visa norms.
But mind you, Trump is also thinking legitimately. All he is asking for is "Buy American, Hire American" which means, replace illegal immigrants with American workers. He has been a millionaire and a business man all his life. You want to know how many Indians are affected by this little tag line? - Half a million. And why not? These are illegal immigrants, liable to be deported. 11 million undocumented immigrants exist, out of which 8 million will be affected. Is the Indian government aware about it? Yes! There have been instances where native Americans have taken this philosophy very seriously, resulting in killing of innocent Indians, blaring the slogan "Get out of my country!".
I find it very comfortable in India. Neither I have thought about moving to foreign countries, nor I ever will. I never even asked my supervisors about processing my H1B visa. I just have a feeling that India is far better than staying in any other country. Why? Read through.
Reason 1 - MONEY is not everything
People go abroad primarily for earning money and to improve standard of living. Imagine having a hell lot of money, and your family and friends who are thousands of miles away in India, desperately needing your presence. Only way you can reach back home, immediately, in case of emergency, is via flight would cost you somewhere around 50k. Total 1 lakh for a to and fro journey. It might be illness, a festival, for assistance...anything. Money can not replace all of that.Plus, contacts make our life easier. You need a lawyer that can help you fight a case with less charges - call up your father's best friend. You need to purchase an electronic item at low cost - reach out your mom's-friend's-husband owning a store in the near vicinity.
The level of satisfaction when you spend time with your near ones is priceless, and can never be replaced with millions of dollars. Whats the point when you have the best car, best home, best job abroad and your mind constantly thinking about the agony, your family is going through, just because you are not there?
Reason 2 - It is NOT your country
You might be very comfortable in a foreign country, enjoying the weather, the best delicacies, best facilities. But the fact is - you are a guest and it is not your country. You will be treated differently, unlike India. Under rare cases, you will have a strong group of family and friends, that would make you feel like home. Lets take an example of racism. In India, we don't really have the black and white concept. Or I can say that the color-of-the-skin is not a big deal in India. We treat everyone equally. Racism and ethnic discrimination in USA has been a major issue since the slave era. legally sanctioned rights were not given to people except white Americans. Why, on this earth, do you want to fall in that trap?
Reason 3 - You can break the RULES
If you are in India, the famous saying Rules are Meant to be Broken is completely applicable. I guess we Indians love doing that. Standing with other rash driving fellow mates at the red signal, you can look around, scrutinize if there is a so called, with all due respect, mamu (traffic cop) hidden somewhere, and get into an adventure of breaking the signal, even when you just had to wait for 30 more seconds. You will be seen as a super hero for the fellow mates, who then gets some courage to follow the leader i.e. you. And then you have a swarm of people breaking the signal, just to reach the destination 30 seconds early. Only in India, you can honk as loud as you want, no one penalizes you. You can spit anywhere and throw your garbage, how much ever you want, any where. No matter how many Swachh Abiyans Modi sets up, our people will piss in open, spit and dump everywhere. Sanitation is a mindset, that only few can follow. To run the business after 12 midnight, invest as little as Rs. 100 to the patrolling police and you will be able to run your business over night, getting handsome returns. This is better than SIP, isn't it? You can dress up how ever you want (get naked even!) and will never be charged for indecency like in America. You want to earn money? Just set up a tapri with either tea, or wadapav or egg stall just about anywhere in the city, whithout even a hawker licence. No rules for you, mate. These are just few examples that I think of on the top of my head. I do not know whether they are good or bad, but when you break these rules, you have fun. In more advanced countries, even when there's no one on the road during the red signal, people stop. Wait for it to get green, then move ahead. Nah. No fun in that. I'd rather be a momentary super hero.
Reason 4 - You will miss the FOOD
Ask any foreigner about the best thing about their visit in India, one thing they are sure to say is FOOD. Admit it - Indian food takes you to another world. Think about Mumbai, Delhi, Gujarat, Kerala - these places have heavenly food that's not available anywhere else in the world. For instance, Maharashtrian people live on wada pavs. There's a wada pav stall almost in every other lane. Kachchh has Kachchhi Dabeli in every other lane.Gujarat has ganthiya almost spread like wildfire. If you ask be to choose between pizza and gujarati thali, I would choose the later, nothing is as nutritious and satisfactory as a Gujarati thali. Punjab has makke ki roti and sarso da saag, thats mouth watering. Haryana has kadhi pakoda.Rajasthan has ker sangri thats made of dried berries and beans, cooked with yogurt and Indian spices.
And how can we forget chole puri, pani puri, dahi puri etc ? You might get it at foreign location, but the quality and taste will differ. And the eating style. No doubt about the fact that you will miss hot ginger tea with hot onion bhajiyas in the middle of rains, with your friends. The cheap but tasty softy ice creams on summers. No dining room etiquette needed in India - you want to eat with bare hands, go ahead and do it. The South Indians claim that if you eat the food with bare hands, it will increase the taste and satisfaction. Some of my mates actually Live to Eat. I had to advise him that it is other way round, but he wouldn't listen.
And lastly, how can we forget home cooked food? I've stayed out for many years and nothing can be compared to a simple meal cooked at home. A lavish 500 Rupee would not suffice me as a simple Roti Sabji cooked at home with a blend of Indian spices, and family love. P.S - And I can't do it without home made buttermilk.
Reason 5 - You will miss the Family FUNCTIONS
Indian family functions are celebrated with such a pomp and grandeur, I must say. Let us take a moment to think about events like raksha bandhan, the engagements and weddings, grah pravesh function, vastu shaanti functions etc. the real fun is in two things - meeting people, gossiping about world of things and food, which is why most people attend the ceremony. Like how X behaved with Y that made him pissed off and what A said to B the other day. These Indian styled functions with awesome food is something you will miss. The funny, illogical rituals like the grabbing the groom's nose soon as he enters the marriage premises. The chaos, the people not adhering to timelines. These are the things that you might not see abroad.
Let's talk about festivals. They are all about collective spirit and celebration. They are about socializing and mingling with a set of people who you love. No one gives a damn about why the festivals are celebrated, but what really takes their breath away is gathering, good food and fun. I have got a friend who said that he "tried to" celebrate Diwali just the way he did it in India, but the euphoria seemed to be totally missing. Another friend quoted "Indian folks here try to celebrate traditional festivals to their best effort, but it’s never to the same effect.”. In India, you know that if its Holi, you color yourself and the people around inside out. You'll have a dry Holi abroad. What's the point when a festival like Holi isn't colorful? I have few friends abroad who'd make a Skype call, and keep his parents engaged until the function is over. I mean really? Give me a break.
Reason 6 - You will miss PEOPLE
Remember how you made fun of that vegetable seller who had his own funny way of calling? And then the trash collector who came regularly at your door steps? How about vehicle screeching and hooting in your neighborhood streets? And that neighbor, whose might be looking somewhere distant, but his attention was in your house hold chores? That bells that rang during the morning arati, the blaring loudspeakers from the adjacent car that passed by. If you look closely, this is the sound of life, that you will miss abroad.
I shifted back from Mumbai to Pune, complaining that it was too crowded. Now, I complain that Pune is a little lonely. We humans, are never void of complains. When you are back home from work, I'm sure you abuse being in a crowd. The same crowd, the noises, the yelling, the screeching will haunt you abroad. If you visit Europe, you will feel as if you are in a curfew zone. Forget Indian faces, some countries are so deserted, that you would die to see at least some faces. That's the time when you miss the 1.2 billion Indian population.
Indians are said to have some unknown affinity towards people. People from various cast and creed, color and language are seen swarming around at various places. You will definitely miss the colorful crowd, between which you grew up, in your quiet, peaceful town.
Reason 7 - You will miss the MEDICAL Assistance
When I was young, hardly 8 years old, my granny used to take me to the same doctor, who was few steps away from my home, for almost every ailments. On a lighter note - he used to give the same pills. White, Pink and Yellow. I have no idea what they were, but I have to admit that I was cured. Right from the childhood, it has been imprinted in my mind, that if I need a doctor, he is just next door. And in India, that remains a fact till date. In Europe, meeting a doctor is a rare event, which you can note it down in your diary of memories. In India, we cough twice and we have a personal ENT doctor readily available. In Sweden, for example, the pregnant ladies are handed over to trained nurses instead of specialized doctors. Unbearable medical costs and craziness of Insurance companies make life miserable abroad.
I've lived in couple of cities in India, and I have never found it difficult to find best doctors, in the near vicinity. Thanks to the applications like Practo.com, that you can select the best doctor, book an appointment, wheneve you need who with the cost in mind. Not only that, there are also two to three 24*7 hospitals open just few mins away. We don't realize, but that's a boon (Don't they say - ghar ki murgi daal barabar? Translation - Pet chicken is like lentil). If you are living in countries like United Kingdom or in United States, getting a doctor is a uphill task. And the cost? forget it. India has cheaper service, take dentistry for example. In India, dental implants cost around 50,000 INR. In USA, it costs around 4.5 lakh Rupees. My colleague told me over the call - "Dentists are so freaking expensive in here!". I nodded in agreement.
Reason 8 : You will miss your MAID
If you have shifted you home to a brand new locality, and there's a lot of cleaning, cooking, dusting yet to be done, not to worry. Ring the neighbor's door bell and they'll arrange a maid for you. If not, their maid will call up someone in their "maid network" - to make sure that you get one. Even easier - just stand near to a famous apartment, in the wee hours, tell the security guard to let you know when any maid is available. And that plan is sure to work.Now a days, there are hilarious-but-important websites, for example - bookmybai.com where in the maid's skills and fees are listed and you need to choose one. You get a call back and bravo! Your desired maid is here.
Soon, you develop an emotional bondage with the guest,start sharing sweets, tea and coffee, candid conversations. You also abuse him/her for taking unplanned leaves, and love him/her at the same time. And why not! He/she is into cleaning utensils, chopping, cooking, dusting etc. every single day. It is not that easy to get a maid abroad. Talk about the cost - it costs 65$ for a 1BHK abroad, which is 4000 INR. In India, even in metro cities, they say "ek kaam ka 300 lagega! (one task will be 300 INR". Even if you have them do your daily cleaning, and utensils, the cost do not exceed 1200 INR. Not comfortable with one maid? There are hundreds of others available. You will miss this abroad.
Reason 9 - You will miss the thrill of desi BAD WORDS
WARNING - **18+ content - Parental advisory - Explicit Content**
Admit it - Saying "F**ker" or "F**k You" doesn't have the same level of thrill as saying Bho*d**e. Saying "I will kick your a*** " doesn't give you that desi vengeful feeling, as saying the words "g*** mar lunga" does. Prefixing "Bh**c***" in every statement, for instance "Bohot garmi hai Baancho" is more exciting than saying "Shit, its too hot". It carries a different weight. The word Bh**c*** is thrown around in every sentence in North, which makes them unique. And no one really gives a damn about the meaning, but admit it - its exciting to speak local bad words. If call someone harami, it has a different impact than calling him/her "Bastard".
Forget the heavy words. Calling someone Kutta is more exciting than calling him a Dog. Calling a awkward behaving man as Hijda carries more weight than calling him Gay. Being an Indian, why do you want to abuse someone with a simple word like "Pig"? Why not hurl our desi leveled abuse - Suvar Ki Aulad - Try doing that and if you do not get the adrenaline rush soon after, you can stop reading my articles.
Reason 10 - You will miss the Local TRANSPORT
I am referring to the lucky era when mobile and mobile apps were scarce. When you never had (or even thought of) applications like Ola, Uber Taxi4Sure, Jugnoo etc. When a a car or rickshaw stands near your doorsteps waiting for you at one click. The era when humans were actually smarter than mobile phones. At that time also, in India, at all the places I have stayed (Jamnagar, Bhavnagar, Panvel, Kamotha, Andheri, Kurla, Airoli, Thane, Bhusawal, Jalgaon, Pune,Bangalore, Chennai, Goa to be precise) local transport was never an issue. Wise auto drivers (except some) would not only guide you with their sweet talks, but will help you reach your destinations. If that was not there, we had State Transport buses that would take you almost anywhere.
There was a time when I didn't earn more (not that I earn millions now!) and so, I had no vehicle of my own. the BEST (that's the name) Bus transport served as a blessing. You and I will agree that you always had rickshaws, buses, sharing rickshaws (called magic - what a hilarious name! the greedy driver would manage to fit - sometimes a staggering 16 people in it). Even if you had just 20 bucks in your pocket, you can travel up to Railway Station, 20 kms away from your home, in BEST transport. I guess there are very few places in India, where local transport will be an issue. Want to jump into a rickshaw? Just stand by the roadside, and wave at the first rickshaw you see. And, raise your had if you see a bus!
In foreign lands, no matter how well connected the country is, with the ultra fast trains and superb bus transports you will still have to walk from home up to the station or the taxi stand and then reach your spot. Soon, you will be loathing about the distance you need to walk up to the taxi stand or the bus stand, longing for the commutation comfort in your hometown.
Reason 11 - You will miss the local HELP
In India, the role of neighbors is pivotal. They not only help us when needed, but also play a role of a family member in dire circumstances. I remember my family members exchanging a wide scope of items with my immediate neighbors - wafers, food items, ice, money, milk, grocery, vegetables etc. Plus, their kids would come to my dad for personal coaching. And at times, my neighbors would take me to a joy ride, in my father's absence. You see, there is no conditional love, or I can say Tit for Tat. I remember one of my neighbors, who would cook my favorite dish once in a month and hand it over to my mom saying "Here, I've made Fruit Salad, just because your son loves it". Second neighbor would bring fries once a week, and not just handful - it was a barrel full of fries, sufficient enough to last for a week,even when my sisters ate daily. At times when my family was out and I was alone, they would wholeheartedly give me shelter, make me feel like home at their homes. Allow me to use the things that they use. In return, my family would do the same, or sometimes even more with their kids. We never measured who did how much for each other. We just did out of love. That was a never ending trade where he exchange of feelings and materials would never cease to happen. Do you see the same level of affection abroad - I bet not.
Let's talk about strangers. In India, when you're lost, ask ant auto driver, he would explain you exactly how you can reach the spot along with landmarks that you might stumble upon (without Google Maps!). Indians like to strike up conversations at random places - stations like - "The train is too late, don't you think so?", in ATMs "Did you get money?", in queues "Modi is doing an awesome job." etc. If you don't believe me, as people in Mumbai commuting in locals, as to how many friends they've made in local trains - they would have lost the count. We as Indians are emotional creatures. Sometimes, we get our temporary emotional nourishment just by striking up conversations with strangers. That's who we are. Do you see the same abroad - I bet not.
Reason 12 - You will miss TAPRI WALAs
I had to visit Singapore once for official purpose. I landed at 10:30 pm, and was not feeling well. Being a tea addict, I thought of having one full glass of hot ginger tea. In India, a strong ginger tea, which is available everywhere - I believe, can cure most diseases. With a hope of finding tea, I loitered almost for an hour, but in vain. Forget tea - I couldn't have anything, because all the shops were closed. And the additional headache of the non-availability of vegetarian food. I went back to the hotel room and dozed off. How badly I missed India!
Most streets in India have local convenient shops, where you get most of the stuff available. That consists of essential and non essential items for our house. Just walk by few steps and you get grocery, tea, idli wadas, omelette, flowers, barbers - you name it. I have a friend in USA who told me "I am here for three years, I miss visiting shops around the corner for quick snack.". Another one said "I miss cheap movie tickets and food stalls that are open 24*7". I found this one hilarious - my friend says "I dislike toilet papers!". There are more examples - "I miss masala dosa more than anything else". And it goes on. You will miss tapri walas.
Final Word - You will miss INDIA
I believe conditions in the foreign lands are worsening and it it not at all safe for you and me to settle elsewhere apart from India. While the visa norms are getting tighter and the foreign administration are trying to resolve their unemployment issue, it is wise to be in India. In today's newspaper, there is a case of a girl, who studies for three years, to get her dream job in USA, but she is not getting a visa now. Why do you want to settle in USA when there are several splendid reasons to stay back in India? India has got such a wonderful history, perhaps, skills like Kung-Fu, Yoga etc. which are practiced world wide has its roots in India. Why do we have the tendency to westernize, when our own culture can lead to eternal bliss? India has issues, like sanitation, corruption etc, but which country doesn't have problems? Foreign lands have their own perks, and I will be the first one to agree with you. But more than that, I believe it is important to "Be Where You Belong".