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Blog

The lone Indian

By: Toothless Posted Sep 18, 2012 General 985 Views
(Updated Sep 29, 2012 08:36 AM)

I had written a detailed blog in two parts titled “Grass is mowed on the other side” a few weeks ago and it was about life in the US vs life in India and what can be learnt from these two great countries. This will be a more personal post.

Now that I have lived away from home for over 7 years I have met people from almost every part of the world. I found that the Americans in general have never asked me any personal questions, they may go to extent of asking me if I am married and if I have kids but that’s it, they enjoy talking about cars, machines, space exploration, holidays, camping, technology, history and government policy.

People from China who are in the US are curious about my job, if I am getting paid well although they won’t ask me the exact number and they will complain that the US government is partial and doesn’t cater to educated immigrants as much as they will to illegal immigrants but they will stop at that.

People from England will talk about the war (Second World War) and to some extent cars, people from Germany won’t talk at all and folks from Russia love to talk about their family, the cold in Siberia and they love to curse their wives but I found the Russians to be happy go lucky people. Folks from South America are even jollier and they will teach me Spanish as much as they can.

Now we come down to folks from India, my own countrymen, and the first question an Indian will ask me is if I am on a work VISA or a Green Card or a US citizen. Depending on the answer, his level of respect for me will be regulated. The next question is how much I am earning and if I have purchased a house followed by “Is your wife working?” if so then how much she is earning. What is my qualification, when did I come to the US and how much installment I am paying for my car. If my kid goes to a daycare center and if so how much I am paying for it. What is the medical insurance plan I have? Have I invested in stocks, if so then which ones?

I used to answer a few questions and be evasive on other questions and in all of this conversation if I retaliated by asking a similar question to that man his face will turn pale and he will try to make a disappearing act. My intention of asking the question is not to gain any insights into his life, but to see how comfortable he is at answering the same question which he so easily asked me.

The other thing I noticed with Indian people is that they think they are the most brilliant lot in the world and the rest of the world is dumb. This is absolutely rubbish. I found that there are smart and dumb people everywhere; just because you did engineering from one of the 5 million engineering colleges does not make you a smart man. I found the smartest people to be those from Eastern Europe, my two friends from there were brilliant mathematicians, I also found a man from Nigeria who was brilliant and of course the Chinese were smart too. Americans had the most common sense of all, I found them to be able to think straight and provide solutions in a less complicated way. Indians are smart, there is no doubt, but not everyone is smart. In my college years here, I found the entire clan of Indian students doing the same thing they have been doing in India. “jugaad”, copy assignments, copy tests, copy projects, copy everything. I did my assignments on my own and although I did not get the correct answer all the time, the Professor appreciated my effort. I never saw a Chinese or Nigerian or Bulgarian or even American copy stuff.It is this “Jugaad” that has made our country absolutely useless, because of this there is no such thing as thinking out of the box.

When I go to a supermarket, if there is another Indian man or woman, s/he will keep staring at me, in the US people do not stare at each other and if by any chance their eyes meet, they will say Hi or Hello and move ahead. I learnt this in my initial days here, so I did the same, however if I say Hi or Hello to an Indian guy who has been eye balling me for the past 2 minutes, he will not reply, instead he will make a facial expression which can be roughly translated to “Who the hell are you and why the hell you are saying Hi to me, do you know me you dumb idiot?”

I must admit that I have been fortunate to make a few good friends in the US who are from India, people who think like me and who act civilized, however most of the folks who may be highly educated are shallow minded.

Since I can’t change the world, I decided to change myself. Now, I stay away from people from India and take my time in making any new friends. I do not feel comfortable with them as all they want to know is the most intimate details about my financial situation. Not everyone is the same however I would still take my time in judging anyone and everyone who accosts me and becomes a quiz master. My love remains for my country which was once “Sone ki chidiya”, I still adore its glorious past and its mathematical, spiritual and Vedic achievements.

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