Things we need to make clear to you guys:
1) I want to clear out the first misconception you have of us. NOT ALL OF US ARE RICH. You guys need to stop equating “living abroad” to being rich. Your definition of what’s costly applies to us too in several cases. In fact, I know of people settled in India willing to pay extravagant prices while they shop while there are so many of us NRI’s who’d rather go shop in one of those road-side bazaars where they sell reasonably priced things.
Think about it for a second. Why would we be studying here? Sure, a large number of Indian parents send their kids back to India in hopes they’d become “street smart” and shed some of their “spoilt attitude”. The main reason for a huge number of them to send their child back home is because the cost of education is so much cheaper. So stop with the sterotyping. (Admittedly, there are quite a few kids who come from rich families but I’m talking about the majority of the NRI’s here.) Also, chances are, we live in a hostel, PG or an apartment where we’ve to take care of ourselves. As a result, we tend to live a sort of budget life.
2) Yes, many of us are scared of bugs and stray animals. Where most of us come from, they aren’t a very common sight to see. We are humans and it is our nature to be scared of unfamiliar things. I come from the gulf and the most “wildlife” I have to deal with usually is a small fruit fly, a tiny cockroach or a scared stray cat in the parking lot that runs away at the sight of a human being. I personally have gotten used to the presence of stray dogs but I know a lot of other NRI’s haven’t. Heck, I know quite a number of Indians who’ve lived in India their whole life who get startled by stray dogs.
3) You guys tell us that we whine about every other thing. It’s true, I can’t deny it. We were just brought up with a different standard of living. We are just used to being surrounded by a cleaner and well maintained environment. You really can’t blame us for it, we can’t help it. Most of us come to India about once a year (but some families come home more than once and some go for like 5 years without visiting India). It’s just not we’re accustomed to, I’m sorry. It’s not that we’re trying to degrade the country, we do love our country but you have to admit, it is quite dirty and poorly organized. I know a large number of Indians residing in India would agree. As a result, we come off to many of you as “neat freaks”.
4) This is something that is not applicable to some people but it’s something I’ve noticed with quite a few NRI’s. Some of us are super fussy eaters. Many of us refuse to eat street food in fear of getting ill because we just don’t trust our poor little tummies to handle it. Then there are many of us who have set really high standards for the food we eat. We expect the meat to be cooked to perfection and everything to be just right. I don’t exactly fit into that category but I know people who do.
Many of us NRI’s can agree on one thing though. You guys put masala and spices on random things unnecessarily. You guys have this compulsive need to add extra flavor when it isn’t needed. It is nice in some cases but why nachos? Personally, I like my nachos without all the masala on it. Again, all this fuss is merely because of what we’ve grown used to over the years.
5) We keep forgetting about the concept of tax. Where I come from at least, there is no tax system and I keep getting a mini heart attack when the bill comes after a hearty meal. We purchase things after all this calculation and what not but when the bill comes to the table is when we realize there’s that one thing we haven’t accounted for because it just didn’t cross our mind: the goddamn tax. Despite being here for two years, I still forget every single time and it is quite frustrating.
6) Here’s something we absolutely suck at: bargaining. We just really don’t know how you guys have the confidence to do it. How do you know what’s reasonable and what’s not? I really don’t get it. The number of times I’ve struggled with getting an auto because I couldn’t bargain and then finally give up and agree to whatever price the auto-walla says is just sad. Kudos to those of you who’ve mastered the art of bargaining.
7) Another thing we suck at: crossing roads in India. In a country where road rules don’t seem to apply, how does one cross the road? It’s such a scary task. The bigger vehicles drive like they own the road and give no regard to the people crossing. The two-wheelers are like the vigilantes, they appear and disappear out of nowhere and sometimes, they drive the wrong way too. How the car drivers react to the poor souls walking on the road is very subjective to how nice the driver is or if he/she is in a good mood so you can never be certain of anything with them.
Bottom line is that we’re just humans who’ve lived a different lifestyle through most of our lives and we really do hope you guys could be a little more empathetic to what we go through. Don’t hate us for whining, we really can’t help it.
Also, whatever I’ve written is not necessarily applicable to ALL NRI’s and I, like a lot of other fellow NRI’s have grown out of many of these problems but still deal with many of them.