Away in India

DISCLAIMER: My opinions and observations are presented here. No one has to agree, disagree, this is not personal to anyone and not meant to offend either. If you are an Indian (ex-, once upon a time, right now, always, Never have been!, Just for now, Purrlease!, If only i wasn’t.., No way!, etc) who has a great time enumerating the reasons why this country has no future, please do NOT read as you don’t need to know my opinions or I, yours. Any hurt sentiments and bruised ego, it is the reader’s responsibility, the author takes none. Obviously.

Going abroad is no big deal! For travelling, or for studying or a job, it is a simple job of filling out an application and waiting for its results, very much like what you would do back at home. It is one of the perks of Globalization, every place on earth is a one-stop journey. 

Everyone has a someone who stays in the US of A- the brother of our maid’s daughter-in-law, my aunt, my best friend’s cousins, my brother’s friends, my sister’s friend’s parents, my boyfriend’s class-mates, my cousins… Gosh, the list’s endless! But still, one has to travel there like no one else has done it before. And come back to erstwhile home for the holidays and compare, giggle and wonder at the amazing ‘things’ that happen here ‘Oh my goodness!” as if you hadn’t seen them all your life, treating them like you would treat a naughty toddler.

Every person on this planet as much as is ruled by culture, upbringing, country of citizenship (read: lifestyle), I believe each one has a unique personality that would have been optimally the same wherever they might be. So every country, every community, every society has their share of the good and the bad in equal proportions even if the shades and kinds different. 

I had once written a BAT-winning post that had come from my heart, a compilation of scattered events and my own thoughts fictionalized. At the same point of time I had been preparing abroad for my doctorate. Why is it thought that going abroad is synonymous with not loving your country or who you are? The only two options that I came up with are-
1) You are dumb, not to mention, narrow and closed-minded.
2) You wish you had been in that position of renouncing your country.
Pardon me if I am rude, but this is what I saw. 

Some people I had called friends baffle me. They have lived all their lives in India and they consider themselves foreigners to India. At least, they try. What they actually are I wonder. Going abroad for them is not about the job, the degree, it is about leaving the home you don’t want to call home, period. 

There are people who have issues with the country, that’s okay. But trying to be a non-Indian, and pro-whatever the best way out they take to prove their ‘faithfulness’ to the country they should have been born in is by bitching about the country they allegedly are not a part of. 

Sometimes people go somewhere, they fall in love with the place and want to make it that home. That’s a perfect sentiment, one that I understand. But how can you know, like a place, that you have not been to ever before and enumerate its attributes even before you have experienced, and compare! 

The reason why I write this is I cannot be an American just because I am in America (and I damn well can be there!). I will always be an Indian. But I will be so proudly. But even those who literally renounce their country to especially look down upon the people of their ex-country, they forget, that they will never be an American even if they hold a green card. They may enjoy the culture more; beer instead of chai, smokes instead of samosas, bread instead of rice, bottled water, nuclear families, free, uninhibited sex, fast, superior life and rave about it back in India (oh, they need to come back to show off their superiority) but if I can feel what an Indian at heart feels, they will cease to be our own too. 

But this country with all its flaws is like a warm, caring mother. She accepts back even the most prodigal of sons with wide arms even when they don’t deserve it. But I am more headstrong, bull-headed and unforgiving and would never accept them back or honour them as Indians. Kindly do not boast of the Indian wit or intelligence as your assets when you’d rather be an American. When you renounce, do renounce completely, the bad and the good, however few. 

And wherever I be, be it North America, Europe, Japan, Brazil, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan or Pakistan, I will always be an Indian, first and foremost. And if you won’t be (that’s an individual choice, nothing wrong), don’t come back here to make a comparison chart to feed your own inflated idea about yourself.

N.B. Read the article on TIME magazine “My Own Private India” by Joel Stein. It was the reactions of my Indian friends to this article that brought on this post, who was all for the article, Guindians etc. forgetting that the slander he was heaping on, is his own while the person he was supporting will always look down his nose at him. You may quote the saying “When in Rome, do as Romans do”, but that statement is entirely applicable to tourists and not the ones who stay there for long periods of time. Because it otherwise asks you to forget who you actually are. Can you do that? Also read the rebuttal article by Rahul Parikh

About Guria

An Artist in Science: A Misfit 'cause I choose to be one. "Whenever you find that you are on the side of the majority, it is time to reform" And a Maverick, because, I'm... umm... brilliant?
This entry was posted in India, Observer, People and Relationships, Sarcasm. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Away in India

  1. Shilpa Garg says:

    Well said!! I think these people are hypocrites. I'd like to know, if they are not looked down upon in their new country abroad? Chances are that they are!


  2. Dhiman says:

    U know what I have seen people who can live like kings here go there and live like peasants … I mean I felt so bad seeing them drive worn out cars and always look for 'economic' options …whereas we were willing to splurge …. people were surprised when I said that I would not try for a longer term Visa even if I am eligible … I am fine with occasional short term visit… its true that u have much better opportunities there but still home is home ….. atleast noone can write articles like Joel Stein wrote ….


  3. Makk says:

    Echoing …me

    Gr888 going …keep it up.


  4. Debosmita says:

    Clap Clap..
    Exactly my sentiments. So many people around me have taken up jobs abroad/studying abroad and are already planning to settle there. There's nothing wrong in that absolutely. Just dont forget you are an Indian; and dont abuse fellow Indians and look down upon them. I simply cant bear the 'holier than thou' attitude.

    Btw, have you noticed similar attitude towards Kolkata as against Delhi/Mumbai? All that you wrote hold true for it also…

    Have you reached foren shores already? Where are you going btw?


  5. Bikramjit says:

    ooops someone is in bad mood today he he he he

    anyway Well Well i dont want ot go into a debate on this .. BUt yeah you are rght there are people who when they leave india think of india as a some sort of inferior country BUT NOT ALL..

    I remember writing a article on this for I was told that I am a looser since i came abroad, and a lot of people said a few things then NOW that is not true IS IT, If I have left the country that doesnot make me a looser or DESH DROHI or sorts as i was called.

    I just took a oppurtunity to come and do better then what I could have done back home.. and I DID do a lot of hard work but it did not work out.
    So you are right there are people who live in india and do things and stuff to there own country, they live as if they are tourists in india but this is also a fact that if given a chance to come aborad majority will say yes and that is a FACT

    I dont look down upon any indian But we indians in India look DOWN upon our fellow contrymen, I had come to india on british passport along with my parents who had indian passport THEY were made to wait in the QUE while i was asked to walk on,

    In every other country you land people who are citizen get special treatment then who have come from abroad, I was ridiculed when i pointed this point saying that our country has a tradition of ATHITHI BHAVO or something like that , guest is god Now come on tell me is that RIGHT.

    I know for a fact that I probably am more of an indian then a lot of people who live in the country.

    I agree that some who return back do make comparisions and i hate those like someone pointed out , they come abroad and work there arse off on petty jobs but they wont work the same job in india, I hate those people.

    yeah i have earned and gaineda lot of respect in this country but then thats because I care and lvoe for this country as much as i do for my home country Because this country provided me with all that i have today. a famous punjabi line is

    but the sad part is that most indians eat and live off india yet they are ready to put a knife right in the middle for anything …

    Half of punjab has come abroad.. It is true and i dont feel ashamed that I may not be able to come and live back because of the life i am used to now.. but that doesnot mean i dont love my home town.. HOME IS SWEET HOME…

    if you read my posts and articles they are mostly on the life i had there …

    BUT we need to start respecting and caring for our FELLOW COUNTRY MEN before we make accusations on others.

    ooops I have taken a lot of your space .. I am sorry if i have said anything wrong Please feel free to let me know , if at all i have said anything wrong.

    Bikram's Blog


  6. Guria says:

    @Shilpa: Hypocrites is true, but I prefer thinking about them as 'non-identities', those who don't know who they are. I have seen them end up as neither. The way these people claim so hard not to be who they are, can they ever be anybody?

    @Dhiman: Yeah, true but they will still come back home, and preen and strut like a peacock saying “Yeah, I am on vacation, just back from so-and-so country”. But in times of Globalisation Stein makes it sound like we are encroaching! he should wake up, what will half of  their companies, organisations do if not for the Indians and Asians. Having resources is great, but then only if you know how to use it! And after all we do there (after all Americans didn't invite us, or give us the work/student visas because we look good in our brown skins!) we also have to adapt to their “superior” lifestyle, emulate them to accommodate their warped sense of right-wrong, humor and finally for them to ridicule us? Living somewhere else in the world other than your place of birth, shouldn't mean giving up your history or roots! Next they'll ask us to be adopted by Americans if we stay there!!
    However this post was for a Indian friend who thought Joel Stein was right in whatever he said, that Indians are outraged because of 'the truth' in that column! 😀

    @Makk: Thanks! Most should feel the same wherever they are in India or abroad if they are comfortable being who they are. That's the simple truth.

    @Debosmita: The irony is their sense of own superiority is ineffective if they cannot abuse their renounced country (that includes siding with racist remarks against your likes, supporting whites like Stein who has a lot of waffle to dish out) to their erstwhile countrymen!! I mean who else will listen?! Staying abroad for studying, working etc or settling down is still a personal choice but it is funny it's juts a means of escape, when studying, working is an excuse to escape from this country/place to another that you have only ever heard of!
    About Kolkata/Mumbai/Delhi, you are right. It is always easy to criticise something, anything than uphold it.
    Naah, am still in India, will be in phoren in less than one month. Going to a place near Boston for my doctorate. 🙂


  7. Guria says:

    @Bikramjit: First off, I don't mind you hogging my space. In fact, I welcome it. Thanks!
    I don't think that if you choose to live in another country it makes you less of an Indian. I, personally when was in US of A, Australia, it made me appreciate my country even more. Till today, because of that early experience, I see the beauty of my country than just its flaws which I know are many. But then which country in this world is Utopia???
    Majority goes abroad, yes they might, but not always to stay back or settle. Most go to use the resources, earn or learn or just the exposure and in exchange they also share their expertise, hard work, ideas etc. So, I'd call that an even barter. Personally, India is a young country, and I think there will be a time soon (in my lifetime) that it won't be necessary to go abroad for anything but pleasure. That's debatable, I know, but my faith.
    You talk about Indians looking down on Indians, we know it because we have seen it. I know of Canadians being harassed by Canadians officials at the airport. It is also true of other countries. Read the para#3, those are more individual traits that show. On top of that, I believe, after being subjugated for many years, Indians need another generation or two in becoming completely confident as who they are. And sometime that's why we hold the white-skinned in awe, because we have been treated, taught to be as such. It will take time but that will change too.
    My point was the last ones you made: Your location should never matter. You may be anywhere in the world but never belittle yourself or your fellow men, because the only person you end up belittling is yourself. You may hold a different passport, that's okay but does that decide what you are at heart? for anybody? Does that affect your morals or principles or values? Or your culture, upbringing? If you are ashamed of your country what you actually are is ashamed of is yourself. Because no one else cares what you think! You can hate your country but that doesn't affect what my country really is or how I think about her. But if all of the above is true, one is nothing but a non-identity in my opinion which is neither her, nor there.
    Thanks Bikram for all your comments. I really enjoy reading your views. And if people call you a loser, it's their problem not yours, you should do what your heart tells you. When you are confident of who and what you are, to hell with the others.


  8. Bikramjit says:

    wow an equally good reply.. thanks for that .. I totall concurr with you on everything .. it is indeed the white skin we are awe of, but they are not that bad once you know them .. touch wood i got some nice mates and i am teaching them the punjabi way … in august or sept we are all coming to india 6 of my white mates are coming with me to see the real india, that is my village not the cities…

    yeah and thanks for seeing my view too, Oh i have already asked those people to go to hell, hardly talk to them now.. but then there loss.. I hold both the countires India and Uk at par with each other cause both have a special place for me, One is my home , second is my provider .. Now it would be BAD of me if i say bad things about uk and only good about india.. Somehome i dont beleive in that to me both are equal both have good and bad points.

    And you going ot boston oh wow, nice place to be in, my company head office is there .. 🙂 might bump into you then he he he he..


  9. Good point Guria, but this topic's very subjective and too many opinions and issues often come up when spoken about.


  10. Hey Sreya….


    Just my thoughts but i cant say it so well.

    Stay safe in USA.


  11. Oh, i just love talking about this topic….i can so much relate to this as i have lived/worked/studied in USA and Aus….i will write about it soon hopefully..

    But i absolutely agrees with so many things here…Any country u live..there is nothing like your home country…and i abs hate people who live abroad and criticise India for absolute preposterous reasons…

    Jai Hind!!
    Amit 😛


  12. BK Chowla, says:

    I think it is a matter of attitude only as most of these people have a complex.
    Which ever country I have been to,I always found india to be the best and I would not trade it for any other country despite all the faults we have


  13. Guria says:

    @Niveditha: You are right. The topic is indeed subjective. But opinions and issues come up when you want to talk about everything but the issue at hand. You are either an Indian or not. Your choice. But if you choose to be not, then please I don't need to listen to you! We'd rather listen to those who actually care.

    @IP: You say it better than me. Always. :))

    @HR: I think living abroad makes the true blue appreciate home evn more. It was such in my case at least. There will be no place like Kolkata/india for me on earth.

    @BK Chowla-ji: It is indeed a complex and an inferioruty one at that! And I understand you perfectly! Then which country is perfect? The faults and flaws make me apppreciate the beauty of my country even more.


  14. Beautiful post Guria and love the way you have written this 🙂 I had written a post on similar lines too and agree wholeheartedly with what you have written. Most of the people who go abroad to study, go there with the intention of settling down and not for studies or work, like you said. That is what irks me too. It is as if they are escaping from here and then start bitching about this country in front of others.


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