Tuesday, April 10, 2007

6 months later - An R2I look back

We recently completed 6 months of stay in Bangalore. Overall, I don't think there were any major surprises. But for a person planning on an R2I, I think what would be of more interest are the things that we missed the most on returning. I expected to miss and do miss all of the following:
  1. Roads and regulated traffic - The city traffic situation and the road conditions are so bad that going out is not in the least bit pleasant, unlike in the US. No amount of writing about it will paint a picture of how the traffic situation actually is. Whenever I have to step out, I try to almost always do it in the non-peak hours. Luckily, I have the freedom. Unfortunately, my husband who works outside of home has no choice but to navigate the traffic at peak hours. He is actually a very good driver and almost always has driven in India whenever we came here for our vacations. However, these days he is considering getting a driver to help him out. Lets see. Here's a pic from Wikipedia of a city road in SF bay area.
  2. I terribly miss the sidewalks and the lovely walks I enjoyed when we were there. The pic on the right shows a typical sidewalk in the SF bay area. Here, unless you live in a huge community that offers some kind of walking/jogging track, it really is no fun! Sidewalks are non-existent or illegally used leaving the pedestrians to use the roads for walking. The traffic situation is so bad that you have to think twice before stepping on the roads. Add 2 little kids to the equation! Gosh! I am glad we will be moving into a community that promises some of these facilities, because the city doesn't offer the pedestrian any infrastructure. You are really on your own out there in the cramped, jostling city jungle.
  3. Pictures of beautiful parks in Cali is all I have left here. There are some parks in a few neighborhoods here. However, after having enjoyed the lush manicured lawns, the ponds and the ducks, the children's play area, picnic tables, rest-rooms of the parks in the US, it is difficult not to miss 'em. The park you see in the pic below, well we lived right opposite to it.
  4. The entire family misses the public libraries that you find in the US and in almost every city in the SF bay area. I often find myself salivating at the thought of those libraries. The innumerable number of books on every subject, DVDs, CDs, videos, children's books, children's learning material, the quiet, the rest-rooms, the views from the reading areas. Sigh! I would take the kids every week, and we would pick loads of age-appropriate books for both the kids. The kids enjoyed picking them out themselves. The easy use of the online library sites that helped us put things on hold, search the library catalog, etc. And to think that the whole thing was for free! How can anybody not miss it? (I do not have a pic of the Santa Clara city library. If you have one, and if you don't mind me using it for this post, please send it to me.)
  5. Lastly, I definitely miss the doctors back in the US. Yes, I did write here about how cheap the medical care facility was, which I still think is the case. For regular everyday issues, it is still alright to go to the neighborhood doc and quickly get a prescription for our illness. However, the experience of a visit to the doc's office in the US is not available here. We had an exceptional pediatrician when we were there. He was good at his job and was wonderful with the kids. We were so pumped with general knowledge of how a child must be doing at every well-baby check! It was almost a disaster here, when we went for our second kid's 2 year well baby check, because of how little the doctor spoke to us about how our child was doing overall, and if he was meeting all the 2 year milestones.

  6. Adding a few more points from my comments, about the docs there: (Apr 18th 5:15pm) Docs there are easily accessible over the phone whenever you have a question. During both my pregnancies, I was able to talk to my Ob/Gyn whenever I wanted. With both our kids, the pediatrician was so good about returning my calls whenever I called in with a question, that I always felt comfortable about their reliable service. There really is no such procedure in place here for our calls etc. Nurses there are available 24/7 via phones. And when you have 2 young children, you almost always have a question to run by them! All our docs talked to us and acknowledged that we were educated adults who could understand what they were talking about. Their bedside manners is commendable. And my childbirths, well I cannot thank the hospital and the nursing staff enough for my wonderful experiences both the times. The nurses are so dedicated, and the hospitals so clean.

    Also, the use of computers in all doctors' offices. Your 'case' is always stored away and nothing will ever be forgotten, either with your prescriptions or your diagnosis. Especially helpful when it comes to the kids, since their growth charts and general progress are all so well maintained. It is the insurance procedures that are a pain, but the docs themselves are wonderful. We have had to go to a few specialists, and we have had good experiences there too.

So, in all these 6 months, what has been worth coming back to?
  1. Family. It has been wonderful to meet our folks as often as we have. Nothing to beat the closeness, and it is so light on our nerves being physically near and not worrying about their health problems from half a globe away.
  2. Hub and I also think that India offers multiple work/business opportunities to do anything that we may want to. Whether we will make use of the opportunities or not remains to be seen, but at least we are in a happening place. :) And to think that the happening place is in our own country is exciting, to say the least!
  3. All the manual help that we can get very easily here. A maid, or a driver, a cleaner, a painter, a carpenter are all very easy to find and very affordable. Since, you tend to do most of the chores in the US by yourself, sometimes it is so hard to have a life what with the kids needing your attention too amidst it all.
  4. No extra effort to get the kids to talk in their mother tongue. We have neighbors who talk the same mother tongue as us, and then the grand-parents and all the relatives. Helps with their sense of belonging too.
  5. Access to a whole range of alternative medical sciences. There's ayurveda, homeopathy, siddha, unani, and tons more. This works for somebody like me who doesn't believe in popping a pill for most anything. I am glad we have access to so many more treatment options, and not worry about insurance coverage to heal ourselves!
  6. For me personally, the temples! Not all, just those that truly matter to me. In the US, I could not relate to the temples at all, just the knowing that they were fairly new and didn't have a "history". Yes, some of the temples there are about 25+ years old, but really nothing like a thousand year old temple. I can relate better to the 'Gods' in such old temples. Yes, if you believe in God, you also know that God is probably everywhere and without form, but the visit to some of these temples does make a difference in the way I feel. And for not an overtly spiritual person like myself, the 'extras' definitely help. And to think that I do not have to cram up all those visits in a month long visit is wonderful. As an added bonus, the kids love meeting the elephants in these old temples! :)

As a concluion, I think coming back has been good. Though I do miss the things that I have listed, and will most likely continue to miss them, I definitely enjoy the pluses. Also, I think I am happier(?)! There, so that's what it is after 6 months! :) Your comments/reactions please.


silkboard said...

Its been 2 years for me (us) now. Few things have dropped off the I-miss list. The only two remaining are your #1 and #3. One thing about park/outdoors was accessibility - drive anywhere at will. So part linked to #1 again.

In the 2nd list, worth coming back to, only 2 items. One is #2 - the comfort feel that there are more opportunities here. Bigger one is the 'feel at home' thing, probably combines your #1/4/6 and more. I have tried writing about it here.

Raj said...

Chitra: Great summary. It's been about a year since we R2I'd and we share a lot of what you have written.

Sometimes the #1 negative in your list (TRAFFIC) overwhelms all the positivies that we see.

With the proposed "surge" of great infrastructure projects, I am guessing the nightmare is going to continue. This definitely makes us loooonnnngggg for less & regulated traffic.


Ravi said...

I'm positive things will improve...it's just going to take some time, lots of time. Certainly, by 2020, I think you will see a different India, at least in the metros! Having said that, I still cannot marvel at the points that you mention in #1 - #4. *Sigh*

mumbaigirl said...

Chitra, that's a very helpful post. Most poignant was your last line on feeling happier. That's the main reason i want to move back one of these days.

Deeps said...

I agree with mumbaigirl. The positives, especially family, is the reason I want to move back. But I know I'll miss all the things you mentioned and more..

We live in a small town, so we have our home just 5 min away from my hubby's office. That means he leaves home at around 8:30 AM, comes home for lunch and comes home in the evening about 5 PM. I'm certainly going to miss this more than anything else. When we were initially in India, he'd leave home at 7 AM and be back only by 8-9PM in the night due to traffic/distance-to-office conditions...

But on the plus side, there are no bothers of H1 sponsorship and I'll be able to get a job much easily ;-).

Anonymous said...

Hello Chitra,

It is really nice to read your blogs. I have been reading some of your blogs and did not make an attempt to post a comment up to this time.

After reading this, I thought I should post a comment.

We are in the process of going back to India. In fact, we are here in the US for a very short time (close to 2.5 years now) and already feeling that we should go back. I am sure, there are many juicy things out here including the ones you mentioned in your blog.

I can list many of them here...
1) We live in an apartment and hence getting everyday repairs done is very easy for us ...like the plumber, carpenter, reapir of AC, heater etc. Back in India I used to struggle going from one person to another and wait for them to turn up.
2) Library is a big PLUS! There are city-central libraries in Bangalore...but not up to this level.
3) There is no match for the roads, highways and the controlled traffic.
4) Shopping is really easy...everything at one place and one time shopping per month!
5) Always credit card...I don't have to have big pockets to carry cash...I know that credit cards are used in India, but not like in US.
6) I can get the treatment today and pay my co-pay after 2 months and in installments...back in Bangalore...you are not allowed to do that...you pay and then only you can step out of the hospital even if the hospital bills runs to lakhs of rupees. It doesn't matter how good your credit is!
7) Electricity is always there...ofcourse the otherside (that is, even 10 mins without electricity in US is nightmare) can be a big story by itself.
8) No problem with Water.
9) No Street Dogs! - These are the ones that scare me most of the times - My brother laughs and keeps arguing that India is very good and we allow Dogs to live happily on the streets...and our argument never ends.
10) Many more...

Inspite of all this, we are planning to go back. As you rightly mentioned, the sense of belonging is most important and the loved ones are always (everday) missed here.

Anonymous said...

Hi Chitra,
Have you ever felt that here in the US that you never fit in or u move only amongst Indian groups? I did feel that way and never could see myself fitting in as much as I tried to. I have heard people say" your English is so good, but where are you from?" I think my kids will get asked the same question when they have spent their whole lives here. I never felt comfortable with that question ever. They will say well I was born here and grew up here only to be asked again "but where are you from exactly?" I feel the stress of raising the kids in the Indian way in the US is getting to us now. WE have to give up so many other things just to give them that. The groups that we have to be part of... the gatherings... the festivals that fall on weekdays..( we celebrate that with the husband and kids at school sometimes) which have to be moved to the weekends. It does add up to the stress. No one ever says raising kids is easy, but I am sure most of the Indian kids growing up must have asked the question" why is my skin different or why is my hair not golden color? These are just some of the things that I went through, not everyone has the same experiences. Some of my experiences in the US have been absolutely fantastic. The good comes with the bad.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone used car seats in India for their kids? Here in the USA it is very easy to just put your kids in the car seat and just drive with a peace of mind that your kids are safely secured in their car seat? Is it worth bringing their car seats to India/ Can it be used with the cars there or have you seen any good ones there?

Chitra said...

SB, don't you miss the libraries? I was almost addicted to them, and miss them terribly. Will definitely check out your post.

Raj, yes I totally agree about the traffic setting everything else back, whatever positives maybe. You are right about the infrastructure projects adding to the misery as well. Hopefully, the "projects" when complete will help us all a bit.

Ravi, 2020, eh? On the lines of our president Mr. Kalam? :) Yes, I think we are heading in the right direction, lets hope we get there soon. In fact, I wonder if returning after a few years to India is a better thing to do! And I think you meant, 'cannot help but marvel'. :)

Mumbaigirl, I didn't realise also about being happier until I started putting it all in words. That's why the question mark and an exclamation mark. I was surprised that I said that myself! I didn't know you were planning on returning. All the best! If you need any pointers, pl feel free to email me. Though I guess you will be moving from London to Mumbai, and I am not familiar with either!

Chickoo said...

It felt great reading your writeup. Hubby and I have our mind set on moving back to blore. Infact the first thing he asked me even before we married was whether I was interested in staying in US and my answer was NO. Yes, you do have a lot of advantages living here in US, I have driven back and forth alone at 12 a.m in the night without worry. Yes, I am addicted to the libraries here. But as you mentioned, family is THE thing for me to go back to India. That is the major motivating factor to me and hubby. Your blog is an inspiration for people like us.

Manoj said...

A good article but certainly not all US cities are same. I have to struggle to find sidewalks in Houston, libraries, post offices---forget them. I have to stand in a line at 5:00 am to appear for a driving license......... Give me India anytime.

De-Silva said...

Hi Chitra,

Some fantastic content there! :-) Thanks for sharing such good information. With my sights firmly set on R2Bloreing in Jan-Feb 2008, it's info like this that gets me excited to make it happen.


mumbaigirl said...

Chitra, it won't be for some time yet. I am from Bombay-but in-laws are in Bang!

Chitra said...

Deeps, true nothing to beat family, especially parents and in-laws. If you guys manage to stay very close to your hub’s office when you are in India, it shouldn’t be too bad. :) Yep, and you can work too very easily.

Anon A, thanks! Oh, yeah there are tons of great things in the US, however I only listed things that I terribly miss, those that I really wish I had here. As far as shopping is concerned, you have many grocery stores/chains where you get everything under one roof. Personally, I prefer the small guys to the chains. Just the one-on-one interaction, the persona touch and the owner’s knowledge about his goods. The cash thing that you mention is true. It is really an added effort to always carry cash.

The sense of belonging is good. All the best for your move.

Anon B, welcome to my blog. I don’t know where in the US you are. We were in the Bay Area, where there are lots of Indians. We pretty much met the non-Indians mostly through work and work-related outings/parties. Even the schools in the Bay Area have so many Indian kids, that they hardly feel their skin being very different. So, that way I didn’t really foresee a problem. But, I really wanted to raise them in my own turf! :)

Anon C, yep, car seats are fairly common these days. But the speeds at which cars move within the city, rest assured, nothing will happen to the kids even in an accident. People use the brakes more than they accelerate. :) If you have car seats, you can bring them with you. The use of them is fairly straight forward, as long as you buy cars with seat belts both in the front and back seats.

Chikoo, welcome to my blog and thanks! I am glad you find my blog inspiring. However, I must say, that was not the intention of the blog. I just wanted to write everything – the good and the bad. In fact, I am surprised to see how positive this blog sounds!

Manoj, welcome to my blog. Hmmm, maybe, I will re-word a few things. I had heard Houston was wonderful. I have never visited it myself. But, most of the cities that I know of and have visited have wonderful amenities.

De-Silva, thanks and welcome to my blog. If there in anything in particular that you would like me to blog about, pl let me know.

Mumbaigirl, Bangalore huh? That’s wonderful. I would love to meet you when you are here for good. :)

Debbie Ann said...

interesting to read yr blog - I miss all the things you miss, but in your other list other than number three none of it is true for me because I am american living in Bangalore and no kids - but still I am finding other things that I love about being here - one is just to see and experience a place that is so different from the US.

I am not yet happier - I miss even more things I think - fast internet at home (we are working on this here), watching dvds at home (again we could try to get that happening here), going to movies, but most of all I miss being so comfortable and familiar with everything, it is a struggle to get used to everything, but that it is also what I came for. I miss having a job and friends.

nags said...

Hello Chitra,

This is Anon A in the comments.

Personally, I like to shop at big chains and super markets because it allows me to shop 'my way'. Also, I can do everything in one shot and no need to visit every other day. Other thing is about returns. It's very easy to return items to stores here. Try that in India! No Way. I was in Bangalore last November and had 'THE experience' of shopping at Big Bazaar on Old Madras road. No need to explain...I think you know how it is.

Credit card is a big plus for me. I just don't like carrying cash.

I have a request. See if you could write a few lines about this.

a) As you know, most of the kids born here in the US become US citizens. Are there any issues for the kids after they go back to India (R2I) for good?
b) I know you have written about shipping earlier. Since I was here for just a couple of years, we don't need a big container. But our stuff will not fit in the cabin/checkin luggage. Is there a solution for something in between 'a big container' and 'checkin/cabin' baggage?

- Nags

Anonymous said...

I know that some people ship their stuff by mail... just regular first class mail,not express. That could work too if you have books and documents and light stuff to ship. Anon B

nags said...

Thank you Anon B.
Sorry Chitra for taking the liberty to use your web space.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to Chitra for providing a forum to discuss these things. It helped me quite a bit,hopefully everyone will give me suggestions that will help me too.
Anon B

Chitra said...

Debbie Ann, I understand what you mean. Seriously, it is very easy to miss the US. Even for an Indian like myslef who has come back to India. I can totally see how it must be for you. :) Just wondering though about your job situation. How easy is to work in India as a foreigner? I have no clue about this issue, since I do not know too many foreigners who are living here.

Nags, thanks for your comments. I am just wondering now if should blog about the small shops vs the chains here? :) Since, I so much prefer the smaller guys. About the returning items part, I do it very easily at the regular smaller stores not because of their "policy", but just out of their goodwill. Talking to them helps.
a) I don't know of any issues here for the returning American kids of Indian origin. Both of mine are. Let me dig around.
b) Thanks Anon B for replying to Nags.
Oh and you are welcome to use this space. That is the purpose to begin with. :)

Anon B, I am glad the discussions are helping you. I know I replied to your earlier query about raising kids in the US, but I have been continuing to give it a lot of thought, and may make a post out of the issue.

Vijay said...

We came back 11 years ago after spending time in the US and then Singapore... I agree with you.. having the family (and the Gods) makes up for all the other stuff... not to forget the restaurants :-)

Usha said...

Very positive post. I feel good when someone is able to look at the so many positives we do have in spite of having a long way to go in terms of infrastructure, library, public parks etc. I am glad you choose to see the positivesa and not crib about the negatives.

nags said...

Hello Chitra,

Regarding this,
a) I don't know of any issues here for the returning American kids of Indian origin. Both of mine are. Let me dig around.

I meant, the hassles of registration of kids at FRRO (Commissioner's office), illness due to difference in environment and pollution, difference in fee structure for higher education etc.

Anonymous said...

Hi Chitra,
It looks like you got the most comments on this particular post. It just goes to show that that R2I is still "unknown territory" for a lot of us and we all do have the same expectations, joy and fears. If someone else has been in the same shoes,, it makes a lot of sense to hear from them and know what they are going through.. I agree with Usha. Our moving date is getting closer and closer and things are finally happening. It is going to be really interesting !!!
Same Anon(Anon B)

Chitra said...

Vijay, welcome to my blog. yes we are happier when we are closer to things closer to our hearts. I agree about the restaurants. I have written about desi food here, http://r2blore.blogspot.com/2006/11/desi-food-in-des-slurp-slurp.html

Usha, thanks! Good for us to look at the positives. What fun is it to see the negatives. :)

Nags, I will have to check about the points you mention. I have written about falling ill etc here, http://r2blore.blogspot.com/2007/01/i-spoke-too-soon_6718.html

Anon B, are you the 'same anon' of my blog? If you are not, please feel free to email me.

kpowerinfinity said...

I agree with you. Roads, sidewalks, infrastructure in general!
But somehow, life's a lot more fun here. There is a sort of a throbbing life around you. You hear noises, people on the road. I like it!

[Have never stayed in the US. Visited a village called Redmond a number of times though]

I am not sure if I agree about docs. I heard from most people that Docs are a pain in the US and getting appointments even in an emergency is v difficult.

Chitra said...

kpowerinfinity, welcome to my blog. You are right about the throbbing life. It is very alive. More fun!

Trust me, with regards to the appointments, it is pretty much the same here or there. Your docs there are so easily accessible over the phone whenever you have a question. During both my pregnancies, I was able to talk to my doc whenever I wanted. With both my kids, the pediatrician was so good about returning my calls whenever I called in with a question, that I always felt comfortable about their reliable service. There really is no such procedure in place here for our calls etc. Nurses there are available 24/7 via phones. And when you have 2 young children, you almost always have a question to run by them! All our docs talked to us and acknowledged that we were educated adults who could understand what they were talking about. Their bedside manners is commendable. And my childbirths, I cannot tell you how wonderful the experiences were both the times. The nurses are so dedicated, and the hospitals so clean. Now, I cannot stop typing.

Debbie Ann said...

I think in genl it is not so easy for foreigners to work here - I have no job here although my partner does. so no kids, no job=some isolation...

SFGirl said...

Its been 3+ years since we also came back. We lived in the bay area for more than 7 years and while my husband was convinced we should come back I really was not so sure. But I did want my kid to grow up in India, to be close to his grandparents, to grow up in an environment where there is quite a bit of competition to get to where you want to go in life.
So we moved. And while everyone has been happy, I still have had my reservations on whether we did the right thing. Here's why:

1 - Childcare: when we first came I had no idea of the childcare situation here. didnt know if there were good daycares around, how accountable they were, whether we could hire a good nanny here with whom we would be comfortable leaving the child. As there was no immediate family in bangalore, I was not comfortable leaving my son (then 1.5 yrs) with anyone while I worked. So had to quit working.

2 - Hired help - while you can get people to help you with all kinds of things, the help needs to be micro-managed, there is no real commitment to turning up on time/ turning up at all. Which means all your plans can go awry at the last minute.

3 - Being close to family - While I love the fact that my kids have access to family (read grandparents), many times I feel that I have become too independent in my thinking. We as a family like to take our own decisions, do things our way (even if they are wrong) and are not necessary always in sync with the way they think. For me, I had my second child here in India, and I found that lot of advice, though well meaning was based on traditions and "because our elders told us so" type of thinking. It is sad but many times I dont have anything common left to talk about with them. Maybe it is just my situation. OR I have slowly moved further away from them by living in the US and didnt even realize it.
4 - Work - I worked here briefly for 6 months when my son started going to preschool. Stopped when it became too difficult to be home for him when he came back at noon, as well as be in the office. We were doing staggered hours- my husband and I.
Also, and I found a huge diff. in the attitude here. People dont mind working loooong hours (atleast in IT). Add to that in some companies the culture is to start late and work late. I missed the feeling you get in the US that your family time is truely your own. Here work related calls are the most important calls that have to be answered even during the one meal a family has together in the night. Not happening - according to me.

Having said all this,
I would still PROBABLY not want to go back. There is always that feeling - to want to go back and see if the magic of all those years spent in the US would still be there. Probably not. If I can let go of that feeling "What if we had stayed on" - I think I would REALLy see all the positives that are there as also the overwhelming possibilites of this place.

Thanks for letting me share my viewpoint. comments/ critisism welcome.

Pradeep said...

Good to read this analytical piece. Nice to see that you have been very practical in evaluating the pros and cons. Each place has its pluses and minuses. It all depends what each one of us want. Be where your needs take you and be happy. I am glad that you are taking the relocation well.

Chitra said...

DebbieAnn, I can understand your situation. There are tons of spouses of Indian men abroad who are in similar situations! I hope the newness of the place will keep you occupied for a while.

SFGirl, welcome to my blog. I can totally see what you mean about issues in India. What you say about hired helps is quite true in a lot of cases. However, looking at it from another angle, these are mostly people with not too many opportunities in life, and in a way I am glad we are able to give a couple of them some employment. Of course, their sense of professionalism is very questionable. Considering how tough their lives are, I am willing to overlook a few things for them.

I am very glad you took the time to jot down your points of view. I was hoping to re-post your points in my blog to provide the readers another perspective. Please let me know if that is alright with you.

I had a lot of hardship to get used to the idea of having to return back to India myself. My question was not whether I wanted to come back, it was more of 'well, we've got to do it, but how'. It took me a couple of years to get used to the thought, but I did that well ahead of when we actually made the move. We went over a lot of ifs and buts, frustrations and anger, mostly all from my part. I vented it all out, and came back home more serene. Maybe, I will blog about that. :)

Pradeep, thanks! From the little I know of you in the world of blogosphere , I see you as a very practical and unruffled person yourself. So, coming from you, I take it as a big compliment. :)

kutty said...

Good to read your blog.Feels like coming back home.

And when u mentioned elephants n temples, i m sure u MUST have had KERALA in ur mind...LOL

Anyways, Have fun!

kutty said...

Please forgive my grammer...

I think your Copyright at the bottom of the page should read

The contents of this blog belong to the author, Chitra Aiyer. Please point back to the source if any of the contents ARE used
The contents of this blog belong to the author, Chitra Aiyer. Please point back to the source if any of the content IS used
The contents of this blog belong to the author, Chitra Aiyer. Please point back to the source if any of the "contents is" used

Happy reading!

Chitra said...

Kutty, welcome to my blog. Thanks!

PS: The pic is from TN and if you notice it has an elephant too. :)

Thanks for the grammar correction. I am a 'grammar nitpicker' myself! LOL

Chandan said...

Hi Chitra:

Great blog. Started searching for "Return-to-India" content and came across Mahipal's and then landed on yours.

My Wife and I are based in Canada for the past 10 yrs. I haven't been to India in last 4. So the urge to go back and that too for good...is way too high.

Posts like these definitely help set a lot of expectations and provide a lot of insight.

Try digging the article(s) that you post. I am sure it'll get a lot of Diggs :)

Best Wishes!

Anonymous said...

Hi all R2I's,

I have been searching all similar blogs but haven't come across any about what kind of work hours do people have in IT in India. Also i would like to know what kind of salaries are being offered and with how much can you afford a good life style.

cinetrends said...

When comparing the traffic and the parks infrastructure of the US and India, i think we have to make an apples to apples comparison and not an apples to oranges comparison as we are all doing.

In the US, there is less traffic only in the SUBURBS. And most of the desis live in god forsaken suburbs that are far out from the main city and pure residential areas.

Tell me one US big city (top 10) that does not have horrendous traffic inside the city?
NY, Chicago, SFO, LA all have crazy traffic in the city.
To get out of San Francisco city in the evening is such a nightmare!

If we move out 30 miles and live in a suburb, obviously the traffic will be lesser! There will be vast stretches of land and hardly a soul in sight,if that's what we want!

In India, try the other cities outside the top5 and you will have a lavish lifestyle with all the trimmings as in the US! You will have less traffic, be able to buy a palace and live like a king in your own country! But we prefer the cities and pay the cost collectively!

I feel that as NRIs we equate the Metros in India to the suburbs and god-forsaken states in the US (midwest alabama, missouri, etc) and want to get that same lifestyle.

Anonymous said...

Although never lived in the US, I'm coming back to India (been here 8 months already!) after living in Australia, Germany and Netherlands over the past 15 years.

It is hard to get used to Bangalore traffic it. Not to mention the power cuts and water issues.

Nice blog BTW! I'll probably start writing my experiences once I get time.


chikku said...


"Family" is more important and valuable to me too.. Having lived in the bay area for little over 11 years..and considering to move back.. getting all the brains here..

We cant equate India towards US, but it is developing country..

Important aspect is stronger bond..

Poker Betting said...

It is remarkable, rather useful phrase

Anonymous said...

I grew up in USA from my teen years and went to school/college here. Married my husband who came here for work on H1 from HYD. I know lot of people want to go back, while some do and some don't. I really admire people who make choice to go back. My BIL has said so many occasions of going back, but never did. He got kids and thought he needed more $$$ to settle down in a nice palace like home. He never made it. The point is that those who do go back are very courageous to make that choice sacrificing financial gains and peaceful life. I can see how difficult it is to mix with people here particularly you never went to college here and cannot connect with people even among other Indians. I do go to India to stay with MIL almost 3-4 months at a time. I took temp assignments just because I like staying there. The traffic, shopping, pollution is horrible; however, in midst of all this chaos, I hardly seen accidents. I hardly see people pulling each other hair on road because of stress. Somehow people make it all work at the end of the day in India. That is very hard thing to do in chaos like environment. Its easy to come home in a car, watch TV, eat dinner and sleep soft mattress while AC is on. In India, these things are not easy to get, even then people go back and make it work so that it is something to be very prod of. People go from 2500+ sqft homes to 1500 sqft flats in Banglore and make it work. Another reason is that kids are getting good education India. When I came as teenager, I was ahead in math and science compare to American students. I never had to use calculators to do simple math and my mental math was great. My brain was trained to memorize pages which has been the greatest reward to my success in college. So even though, the kids are not using laptops, or sitting in AC room or fancy lectures in classes, they learning better then average kids in U.S. So be proud of your choice that many cannot make because they cannot let go. I never want to go back, I can deal with traffic, chaos and walking on streets and going in a public transportation, caz I done all this for 3 months and I like chaos. However I cannot stand not being independent or routine life of cooking and cleaning all the time or getting stuck between people and traditions and servicing others.

Namashivaya said...

Any latest update