Dear Expats

So, you’ve got a job in India. Welcome. I like the fact that a stint in India is a valuable addition to your CV. I also appreciate that your salary enables you to live among India’s rich. I also understand that you’d like to stay in yuppie enclaves as you find yourself most comfortable there. But having done that, what sense does it make for you to complain that India’s rich yuppies behave like the rich yuppies back home? If you really want to “find” yourself, well, locate yourself elsewhere. There is a lot of India for your kids to experience, if you can sacrifice the comforts of an expatriate lifestyle.

Also, most Indians aim to live their lives. We aren’t particularly interested in being a country-sized museum of anthropology for you guys to visit for extended periods when you get bored of your suburban life.

3 thoughts on “Dear Expats

  1. Good one, Ravi.

    I think there is an international expat culture, especially for those who are in the more lavish, free-flowing money side. With this kind of expat existence, it’s easy to live anywhere in the world and not really experience the culture of the country you’re living in- living with the locals, so to speak- because you’re not.

    When I was deciding to study in India 10 years ago, it was this group think that forced me to go it totally on my own. Of course, living in India as a student is a different subculture- not really full of money or separate communities, etc, but I would have come in a group of Americans otherwise- which would have naturally kept me at a distance from the culture I so much wanted to learn.

    So I became the first and to my understanding only American to matriculate and graduate from Madras Christian College. I was not the only American there the whole time, but for most of the time, wearing Indian clothes and eating Indian food (what else was in Tambaram 10 years ago?) all but maybe 5 days in my two year stay! 🙂

  2. I am not an expat myself, but would sure love to be one sometime in the future, God willing. I thought your piece on expat culture in India (sounds like a separate new sub-culture altogether) was interesting. I’ve lived in US close to 12 years now, but I still miss, infact more so everyday, the India that I grew up in, the old city part of Hyderabad. If I am going back, I will not pretend to not want to have a better lifestyle than the one I grew up with (who wouldn’t want to?), but at the same time, I would not want to cocoon myself away from the real India.

  3. You know, the India that you are talking about does not exist anymore. I miss my hometown, like you, increasingly more everyday. But that place is gone. I remember the sunny, warm, lazy days where we had to walk everywhere. Autos would be hard to find, if we wanted to go to JP Nagar III Phase. (In Bangalore, those days just about 15 years back, JP Nagar was a remote suburb.) These days Banneraghatta Road is chockful of traffic and you can forget about walking anywhere. Its so polluted.

    The work ethic in Bangalore was always a little questionable. Kannadigas are the nicest and the most polite people to talk to, so they cannot say ‘No’ easily. That essentially means you cannot always trust them when they say, ‘Yes.’ These days, I am not quite sure about the politeness bit, but things in the trustworthiness department have kinda gone south. No real indictment here, I have been away too long.

    Anyway, I still have some hopes of going back and exploring the smaller cities. May be I will find remnents of the ‘real’ home that I remember…

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