Wednesday, September 07, 2005

The "Better" Life in the USA

I just read an excellent post by Arun. We seem to have very similar throughts and so its no wonder I like reading his blog. I am very glad to find people like Danesh , Arun and Ravi who dont feel that their only goal in life is to go and live in the USA . There arnt too many such people.
I know a lot of other people who feel that they have to go there. They sometimes act like they dont really care about going there but once in a while they make some comment or other that reminds you that they still have delusions of going to the "land of milk and honey". One such person "Y" wasted a couple of hours of my life trying to convince me that life is better in the USA. He has been to a couple of other coutnries but never to the USA. He was going on and on about a common "friend" who was quitting his job in one of India's leading IT firms(actually a globally known brand in IT Consulting) to go join a no-name body shopping company in the USA. Y seemed in awe about the pay packet promised by Mr No-Name Bodyshop consulting to our friend "P". Working through the numbers I was able to inform Y that P would be saving only a few hundred $ a month. It may seem like a large amount when multiplied by 43. Otherwise it is a pittance when you speak only in $s. In terms of % saved I think I am doing way better with my Indian paycheck. Y's best example of the "better life in the USA" was that a middle class person could buy a Toyota Camry in the USA while he couldnt buy a Camry in India. I agree 100% to that, but the difference is that the Camry is treated as a luxury car in India(less available space on the roads so this is a luxury car and is costlier) while it is slightly higher than an economy class car in the USA.
I did go to the USA and spend time there(seemed more like "doing time") but am very happy to be back home with family in my own country. Comfort wise I am not sure about what the USA offers that India doesnt. Only thing I can think of is there is much more of physical space per person. Everything one gets in the USA one gets in India. May not be the same exact brand but very similar. One should get away from being brand crazy as pretty much all branded items now come from India or China anyways. For e.g. Tommy Hilfiger clothes from Ranganathan street in Chennai cost Rs 50 while they cost in excess of $50 in the USA. You think it is a knock off - actually the clothes really are made in India ! All clothes sold by Van-Heusen / Arrow / Louis Phillipe/ Levis / Dockers are all made in India / China/ Pakistan/ Bangladesh. Most of all I missed the feeling of belonging which I have only when I am in India where I can truly say that I belong here and was born here. Staying away from my parents as they grow older was also somthing I cannot stomach and I know that sending money from the USA cannot bridge. But of course that is just me.
The purchasing power of the middle class in India may be different from that in the USA but from experience I know most of the middle class Indians in the USA live more frugally than their Indian counterparts. They still struggle to save money in the USA (which they spend only when they visit India) and live mainly on $1 movie rentals and curd rice for lunch and dinner. Breakfast for them is usuually the complimentary bagels at work ;-). Add to that they have no maids, no cooks,no drivers and most of all no support system from parents/ siblings/relatives. Most spend their weekends salivating at sales in the dollar stores where everythign sells for a dollar. I wonder if the great American Dream many Indians are dreaming about is really worth it. People who are at levels below me in my current company have all of that and more living in India.
I forgot to add the part of people going all the way to0 the USA to then have to work hard to preserve their Indian "culture" and "traditions" by eating only Indian food, going to only Indian events, having only Indian friends and watching Indian movies. These people should just stay in India. They also have to make the obligatory once in two-three year trip to India to complain about how India is hot,dirty, crowded, polluted, third world etc etc. Most come with sun-block to prevent their delicate BROWN/BLACK skin from becoming sun-burnt ;-). When I hear the dialogue of the litany of probvlems of India I think I would prefer to have a one time deportation of all the people who want to go to the USA so that the ones who want to stay in India can be left in peace. Ones that come back on visits just to complain should be banned from entering the country/ making calls to India/emailing people in India. They can come back in if they have anything constructive to do to remedy the problems they speak of non-stop. But of course it is just so much easier to complain and then go away.
I have to work on this some more as there are other points I think I am missing.

7-9-05 2:45 PM : I also want to state that I hate the way people "come down" as in "he came down from New York" to visit India. India isnt that low down. Antartica maybe one can go down to.

I also hate being asked when I will be going back to the USA. Just because I was there for a bit it doesnt mean I have to/or will go back there again.

India Donates Money to USA

A writeup from India News Agency detailing why India shouldnot have donated money. WOW !!! I stopped reading after the part where India donated 5 million dollars towards relief for Katrina victims.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Mallu Naming Convention