Monday, October 24, 2011

Really dude! Everybody gets duped. Not just NRIs.

Sometimes, I think NY Times is paid to run a narrative that stops the reverse-brain drain. Otherwise it is impossible for a regular human being to write stuff like this.

Who leaves the country for such a trivial and idiotic reason? Sometimes I wish such sensitive 'supramanis' are flogged publicly. At least then - they will flee India for a good reason. Because it *is* important that such people are kept out of India for the country to really progress.

28 comments:

I said...

The story about why he left the U.S. probably goes something like this.

A waitress at TGI Fridays forgot to place a fork at his table and he realized America is still subtly racist.

Anonymous said...

Those of you who are against this article..why not leave US and work in India. Hypocrites!

-abc

Anonymous said...

athellam seri hawkeye, why did you leave India?

Hawkeye said...

abc,

so by your logic if I say 'reason x to leave india is trivial' you interpret it as 'every single reason one can provide is trivial'.

Hawkeye said...

I,

i actually know of a person who said that.

Anonymous said...

I'd have to disagree with you. Though the NYT author has exaggerated the whole thing to a poor level. I feel he has a very good reason behind what he's trying to say though. Sometimes, it's easy to get hung up on one's own perspective, get swayed by some poor writing, form an opinion based on a few controversial views and forget the central issue that's being discussed.

I know quite a few people who think it's almost impossible to go back for not the same but similar reasons.

Anonymous said...

abc and anon,

You guys did not understand hawk's post did you? The premise is not about someone working in the US or leaving India.

The premise is about the trivial/stupid reasons given by the author to leave India.Now wheel and come back again..

-G.

Anonymous said...

G,

Trivial reasons you say, but try seeing the bigger picture of an agglomeration of the reasons.

The reasons might sound petty for you, but people do get emotionally affected by such scenarios in India.

The only reason I can see why people are against this article is it shows India in a negative shade and it's published on a major newspaper. But the shades are not imaginary!

-abc

Hawkeye said...

abc,

i would consider a person getting affected by such issues as an idiot. which is why i wrote the post that way.

i am sorry you dont feel that way. the main reason why i dislike the article is because it exaggerates a trivial reason as a cause for leaving a country.

Vijayashankar said...

Whatever could be the reason, Indians love to live in US including me. Need an option! Thats it.

I did live in the USA during 94-99 in a remote town and the savings were pretty good for me to make a decision to return back to India and settle with a house. But careerwise, USA gives the best option and people get the best rewards, without the worship of such 'supramanis'.

S said...

Idha parungo.

Anonymous said...

I agree with your POV on most entries, but this time I think you're being overly harsh. IMO, if "my kids will lose 'Indian' values" is a good enough reason to leave the US, "I'm gonna lose sleep watching my own back and I don't like having to treat others like shit" are good enough reasons to leave India.

I think adult life in India is like driving in India. If you learned to drive in India, then random vehicles cutting you off, passing you on the wrong side, etc don't really seem like problems at all. However, if you've driven only in the US, you'll damn well be stressed about those things. What's worse, you would also worry that to drive effectively here, you have to pick up those same bad habits, which could make your return to a more orderly system difficult. Many people re-learn how to drive here and have no problem with it, but some WILL find it not worth the effort and decide not to drive when in India. It's the exact same scenario, except substitute driving with living.

Finally, what no one gets is that not all of us are tough enough to make it here. May be you are, but that doesn't mean those who aren't should be ridiculed.

-Idling

Gaurav said...

Also, dude is admitting that he cannot be polite or civil to people from lower socio-economic classes unless he is living in a society whose norms force him to be so.

Gaurav said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gaurav said...

Anon

" I don't like having to treat others like shit"

That's the problematic assumption. Not one HAS TO treat others like shit in India. As far as I know, there is no law requiring that. Many people I know in India do treat people below them like shit. But I also know many many others who, never even having left India to supposedly grow a conscience, treat everyone with courtesy and respect. That Mungee cannot tells us something about him.

Alan Smithee said...

What is W doing in this article?

I was leaving the U.S. to go back to Shri Thomas Friedman’s India: an India that offered global companies, continental food, international schools and domestic help; an India that offered freedom from outsourcing and George W. Bush.

Anonymous said...

@Gaurav: In India, *if you're soft-seeming* you're forced to show "strength" and deter being taken for a ride, which could mean losing anywhere from a few hundred Rupees to your life. Don't take my word for it, please have a chat with your local sub-inspector about crimes reported against domestic help. (He'll tell you without asking that in most cases, the victims were too nice/trusting.) Again, all of this applies only if you are "soft" or "non-threatening."
-Idling

Anonymous said...

well said gaurav.

Gaurav said...

@anon If you're taking the word of the local sub-inspector as gospel about the behavior of domestic help, you understand India even less than I ever did.
Look, I'm not saying you won't ever get duped and everyone is the paragon of honesty. All I am saying is, it is possible to achieve that sweet spot between asshole and naive without making it seem like an impossible task. It just requires adding a conscience to common sense. From what I read, Mungee quite easily relapsed into being an asshole without even an effort at hitting that sweet spot. And then decided it was too tough to try it, so better go back to the US.

I have no fundamental problem with him deciding to choose the US over India. How can I, when I have made the same choice? But I am not going to couch my choice in terms that paint me as some bleeding heart liberal who is making that choice so as not to be "forced" into treating fellow-humans as shit. That is some rhetorical gymnastics!

Anonymous said...

@Gaurav: "All I am saying is, it is possible to achieve that sweet spot between asshole and naive without making it seem like an impossible task."
Surely you'd agree that hardly ever does one see a 100% success rate for anything that's merely "possible." I'm sure you'd also agree that not everyone will require the same amount of effort to achieve something - in this case, reaching this sweetspot. All I am saying is that while some people can find that sweetspot easily, some others can't after a reasonable effort. Practically, once something crosses your threshold for "reasonable effort," then it's no longer a choice.
e.g. While it is *possible* for anyone to learn to play tennis like a pro, I *cannot* learn to play tennis like a pro if it requires me to practice 16 hours a day for 3 years, because I'll have to quit my job and that's a not reasonable ask at this point in my life. However, let's say that for fitter people with significantly better hand-eye coordination, it will require only 3 hours a day to reach pro level. At this point, if I tell you that I've given up on becoming a tennis pro because I can't get to pro-level proficiency without quitting my job, you can't tell me that I'm full of shit because it is possible to become a pro with just 3 hrs of training a day. Sure some people can, but I wasn't built that those people.
Similarly, some people are great at dealing with interpersonal politics and can find this elusive sweetspot in a jiffy, but that doesn't mean every single person can.

-Idling
PS: Sorry for making your comment space a discussion board, Hawkeye, but this topic bears a lot of personal significance to me.

Gaurav said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gaurav said...

Idling

The problem with your analogies is that they don't quite fit. Your (or my) efforts at becoming a tennis pro don't vary much depending on whether we are making those efforts in India or the US. Even when I had access to the 2 dozen tennis courts and knowledgeable coaches in Penn State, I sucked as badly at it as I did on the 2 courts in IIML with no coaches.

But what Mungee is suggesting is, being polite or kind to fellow humans is somehow way harder in India than in the US. I am not saying it is exactly the same. But it is not as hard as you or Mungee make it out to be.

In the end, for someone who makes 50-100K rupees a month, the effort honestly depends on how beloved and dear a 100 rupee note is to you. Mungee admits as much when says how he dehumanized his maid to deal with the fact that he paid more for a pizza meal than he paid her.

And he admits, "I coped in the worst possible way". Which implies that there were many better and arguably easier ways to cope. Ways in which many people in India cope. And the number as well as percentage of people who cope in better ways is way way higher than people who manage to play tennis like a pro.

In short, your argument, through your analogies, are suggesting a much lower bar for just decent human behavior than there actualy should be. And that's what Mungee is doing.

I don't think the bar is and should be as low as you suggest - being okay with dehumanizing people to save what is less than 1% of your monthly income just to avoid the rare possibility of getting duped. Which is why I think that the most cogent statement in Hawkeye's post is "Because it *is* important that such people are kept out of India for the country to really progress."

Sarang said...

Agree with you hawkeye that the reasons set in the article do not justify the actions taken.

-Sarang

Anonymous said...

@Gaurav: This is my last comment on this issue - gonna quit before I start resembling a troll. Though exaggerated a bit, my previous analogy was only meant to show that people have different abilities/ attributes and hence it isn't fair to imply that absolutely everyone has the same choice. My driving analogy probably fits better, because driving isn't necessarily a rare skill, but still what percentage of expats do you think feel comfortable driving in India?

In any case, my fundamental disagreement comes from you asking the author to cope the same way that "many people in India" do. If it were that easy (even if possible) to do control/dictate how you feel towards a certain situation, there would be no such thing as psychiatry. Heck, there would be no such thing as a divorce. :)

Here's my summary: the guy knows he gets angry/ becomes mean when confronted with a certain situation. Now, he can either self-reflect (or get psychiatric help) and find a way to deal with his emotions OR he can excise himself out of the situation. I don't think anyone has the right to judge which of these he chooses to maintain his own sanity/ happiness.

Finally, I do agree that India can't progress with people like him around. In economic terms, he contributes to the inefficiency of the market/system much like a momentum-based hedge fund would. Again, that only makes the case for his leaving even stronger!

-Idling

Asura said...

He actually left because his bitchy wife couldnt live with her in-laws. The guy is just trying to get rid of his guilt by shifting the blame onto India. Happens all the time. No one actually leaves because they had an epiphany one day and found out that they need to be jerks sometimes to get things done in India. It is all about $$$ and freedom in the end.

sreekrishnan said...

I lost interest reading that article when he had a driver in India.

Anonymous said...

Asura,
You had to blame the wife after all! Is that the best you could come up with??
Oh and what a befitting name you have chosen for yourself!

Anonymous said...

Asura,
You had to blame the wife after all! Is that the best you could come up with??
Oh and what a befitting name you have chosen for yourself!