Tedha hai, par mera hai

During lunch yesterday, I was sitting in the break room with colleagues and friends. 1 Indian and 3 Vietnamese. Our talks were about very random things, and then veered towards girls getting paid to text Mr. Old Moneybags. I have heard that it is just texting and no adult conversation involved. Apparently, they just want to talk and have a mentally stimulating conversation with educated girls. Weird.

As background, let me tell you that one of the Vietnamese girls is married to an Indian, a Bombay Gujarati boy. Her Mother in Law is here visiting right now. She started telling us about how her MIL is a vegetarian and doesn’t work and women in India arent allowed to work. I jumped in right there with a big Nooooooooo! I said that was or is in only the super traditional families. Or some women genuinely don’t want to work, they prefer being homemakers, eg. my cousin bhabhi. Then somehow the talk took a turn towards the movie ‘Water’ where they have shown the plight of young widows, new widows, old widows. The movie is a very true portrayel of womanhood, in my opinion. Yet I chimed in and said how pathetic the situation was, but there are people trying to improve it and there are improvements. Then she told about similar situations in Vietnam where young girls were sold off with a moneyback guarantee by the poor families. Human trafficking is rampant in the developing/under-developed countries and it is very hard to put a check on it. The need for food, clean water, and a roof on the head makes people do things way beneath human dignity.

I agreed to everything, but I realised one thing. I am extremely protective towards India’s image. It is like, I will say anything about my country. But you say something, and I will break your face. I don’t hide behind unicorns and rainbows when it comes to facing the grim realities, but I hate the generalization that happens when non Indians talk about my country. They don’t know about India. They don’t understand that there are many little countries within this giant country. I do not disagree that the general status of women is more like a commodity and something to lech at, but I still hate that when I talk about my life in my city, some of my friends here tell that it must be so scary and dangerous. :-/

I do not pooh-pooh away the fact that most families cannot afford a decent square meal a day. But it makes me angry when people wonder in front of me about why anyone would want to move back leaving USA and the cushy job. I am perfectly aware of the inflation and the sluggish industrial pace my country is facing, but heck, if you don’t know that India has very good job prospects, you are living under a rock.

If you ask me, I can list down 10 bad things about India. And about the USA. Also, I can list down 20 great things about India, and the USA. Comparing India and the USA is like comparing apples to oranges. Both are so vastly different with so many goods and bads. Specially, India is an absolutely different culture than any other country. It can be very overwhelming, even for Indians when they are moving to another location within the country itself. Let us cut it some slack. We are positive about things. There will be marked improvements in the coming years.

So, do not speak about how bad India is. Only I am allowed to say that.

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10 thoughts on “Tedha hai, par mera hai

  1. Mera bhi hai!

    I’ve noticed, most Americans i interacted with in office (especially the well traveled, educated ones) are aware of the negatives, but also notice the positive things. They appreciate the fact that each country is the way it is because it has a certain history and has traversed a certain path to get to where it is today. That there is no absolute good and absolute bad. Once while talking about rapes that happen in India, my manager told me about a couple of incidents that have happened in the US and that of course, it’s a lot worse in India, but it’s not exclusive to India.

    Unfortunately, i do not see this objectivity among many Indians who equate living in India to living in hell. The reactions i got when i told them i’m going back…sigh. What pisses me off the most about these Indians is that when they make such sweeping negative statements, if you try to prod them a little further with a ‘why’ or a ‘how’, they draw a blank or say something that makes them look like a goldfish. “Why do you think violence against women is so rampant?” “Why do you think there is so much corruption?”, “how do you suggest we fix this?”, “what according to you is real development?”. I feel only those who can give me an intelligent answer to these questions have the right to crib. Then again, those who are aware of the larger scheme of things don’t make such statements. The others, i would request them to not even bother returning to India, we have enough dimwits here already.

    And for those who think India does not have opportunities, come talk to me. I’ll show you my offer letter *nose in the air*.

    I just ended up typing an essay. But this topic drives me mad. Arghh.

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    • Many people do know how to keep a healthy balance of the good and the bad. But the generalizations make me angry. The issue exists for every country now I think.
      About the jobs, lets not forget you are in IT/media. I am going to have trouble whenever I decide to make a move. Sad, but true. I am very happy about your offer letter. *looks on sadly at the nose in the air*

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  2. Lol..well i was all boasty to create an effect. Waise, it isn’t that great, but it’s enough for me eat healthy, live in a decent place and occasionally shop. So according to me, its a wonderful offer. Also, the company is really good and i feel better about working in a good company doing good work for an average pay instead of working in a mediocre place for a good pay. But then, this varies with individuals and circumstances. The amazingness of a salary & job is so subjective.

    And yes…outside of IT, things are not very rosy. But i feel that in the coming few decades this will change. One reason i feel why IT has the most jobs now is because pretty much all industries & every individual now use IT in some form or the other. So we have these gazillion new companies to cater to that need. Another reason of why it’s booming in India is probably because, we belong to a generation where one needs to earn a lot of money to live comfortably. So no matter what one’s educational background, people gravitate towards the IT sector. Maybe once the basic standard of living improves in the country, people may be willing to settle for jobs that may not pay as much, but gives them job satisfaction, something they like doing. In this case, people will study what they like and not just professional courses and stick to their fields after graduating. And if this happens, i do think R&D in universities will go up. Its all about demand n supply na. At least with private univs. And if our culture + government encourage enterprising students, they can go ahead and set up companies in their fields and help generate jobs.

    Did i make any sense? or was i totally wrong? But based on what i know and have observed, this is what i think could be the reasons.

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  3. you are not at all wrong!! I agree..i wud b defensive abt India or even Pune for that matter..i hate it whn anyone says anything abt Pune…

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  4. how did I miss this post!!! 😀 😀 I have the same title for one of mine! 😀 😀 lol..amazing! 🙂
    and this post was so bang on!! 😀 I can speak anything about india, the non-indians should never dare!! :D: D

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