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Old 6th December 2012, 01:14   #151
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Default Re: Returning to India

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Originally Posted by amitoj View Post
And here is the counter article by the self righteous, pseudo intellectual Chetan Bhagat who thinks he is the final authority on anything Indian:
http://www.chetanbhagat.com/blog/201...am-still-here/

I dont think he has countered the points raised in the NYTimes article. He just wanted to say something because he felt like it.
After reading both of the posts, I feel that Sumedh accepted the fact that he has lost that dexterity and slight thick skin you need to have in order to survive in India, and thus went back to US.

Chetan's article is not a counter, its just a 'holier than thou' article.
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Old 6th December 2012, 06:52   #152
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Originally Posted by zoombiee

What you have said is absolutely right. We certainly need to improve on certain things. However isnt inertia a global phenomenon?
Some one was mentioning about the service industry. I certainly feel its much better in India than abroad. People in the service industry here are more interested in helping out than doing a job for X amount of time sticking to rules.
Quote:
Originally Posted by amitoj

And here is the counter article by the self righteous, pseudo intellectual Chetan Bhagat who thinks he is the final authority on anything Indian:
http://www.chetanbhagat.com/blog/201...am-still-here/

I dont think he has countered the points raised in the NYTimes article. He just wanted to say something because he felt like it.
We believe in Karma. What must be, must be and what will be, will be, regardless of whatever we may do. We are fatalistic by nature and much of religious or quasi religious mythology tells us the same.

Add this condition to a certain ' laissez faire' attitude and you have the perfect base recipe for apathy. Garnish it with a smidgen of corruption, overall non-accountability and lack of responsibility, a tad of 'might is right' and the 'devil take the hindmost' attitude and Voila!. This is the great melting pot of the 'banana republic' that is India with its ' mango people' who simply don't care as long as they, themselves are relatively unaffected by what goes on around them!

That is the worst of it. We simply don't care about anything or anyone but ourselves and our own!

I don't know much about Chetan Bhagat but I always thought he was a bit pretentious. Now he sets himself up as a sort of India expert and a veritable BhagatGuru of all things Indian etc and there is no one who feels like challenging him, again because we really don't care at all, beyond the superficial level!

We talk of the service industry. I am a part of it and have been for many years, in some avatar or other. I do believe while the Indian service industry is reasonable, the way it is in South East Asia, China and the newer South East Asian economies, has to be seen to be believed. They are at a different level completely and will beat us hands down every time, any day of the week, month or year that you care to choose!

We continue to fiddle about and rest on our laurels; namely our 'English speaking ability', another one of the many things that had us ahead for a time, but are sadly eroding irretrievably and inexorably now, aided and abetted and indeed, accelerated by our idiot political class and parochial local yokels who seem to be proliferating and profiteering in an unbridled manner!

Satyameva Jayate!

Last edited by shankar.balan : 6th December 2012 at 07:00.
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Old 6th December 2012, 07:41   #153
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Default Re: Returning to India

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Originally Posted by shankar.balan View Post

That is the worst of it. We simply don't care about anything or anyone but ourselves and our own!
That is a universal truth, Shankar, perfectly embodied in this poem by Martin Niemoller
Quote:
First they came for the Communists,
and I didn’t speak up,
because I wasn’t a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak up,
because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn’t speak up,
because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me,
and by that time there was no one
left to speak up for me.
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Old 14th December 2012, 17:22   #154
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Default Re: Returning to India

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Originally Posted by selfdrive View Post
Edit:
take some time off (perhaps a fortnight) and come and live here as if you have moved back (not as a NRI vacation, if you know what I mean!). then try and ascertain after a week if you can extrapolate your experience. the only thing you will miss is workplace issues, which unfortunately is the second worst part in my opinion. the worst being lack of respect.
selfdrive, I don't know how I missed reading and replying to this post for months, apologies for that, very rude on my part. I am coming to India for 3 weeks around the new years and I will evaluate if "I have lost the edge". My brother jokingly tells me I have lost the competitive spirit and I am laid back now
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Old 15th January 2013, 00:37   #155
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Default Re: Returning to India

Wow, what a thread! I wonder how I missed it for so long. I just read it end-to-end and had marked a few posts to quote in my reply, but I got so engrossed in the discussion that I just didn't see my laptop screaming for sustenance and it just shut down on me.
Anyway, so the below points I add is from memory now that my laptop is back up & connected to power.

Having a few years abroad both in Europe & in the USA and returned to India (for good?) in Dec 2011, I can relate to a lot of the sentiments posted.

Quote:
Originally Posted by selfdrive View Post
After a few years of working in Europe, I decided to return to India earlier this year. While there was no definitive 'Swades' type moment, the urge to return home only grew stronger due to various reasons over time.
Ever since we returned, my wife and I have been having this discussion of whether we should head back. Our returning back wasn't a choice, we had to do it due to a family emergency, but now we can start thinking of a future away from Mumbai/India even though options are limited on that front.

We actually love being back among friends and family and in familiar environs, but a few of the points mentioned in this thread have been playing on our minds and making us question whether its worth living and bringing up a family in urban india any more.

Quote:
- Rudeness/ boorishness/ arrogance
Any person on the street has an attitude about him/ her.
This is something we were shocked with. My wife & I have been brought up in Mumbai for the most part and started our careers here. We don't exactly remember people ever being extremely polite, but we don't remember folks going out of their way to create nuisance. Be it at the cinema hall ticket line, shopping or even in my office cafeteria where folks just refuse to form a queue - there just seems to be a total lack of respect. Most people seem to think they can do/say whatever they like and are ready to argue with you endlessly for any perceived slight - such as asking them to get in line.

Quote:
- Tardiness/ lack of punctuality
This was never a strong point with us indians, in India or abroad and is expected all the time. Ticking someone off at work for regularly coming late to meetings or some odd jobs at home or even the cable wallah for connecting the settop box for which we've already paid gets Rudeness/ boorishness/ arrogance in response.

Quote:
- Traffic urgency
I'd say a total lack of common sense on our roads with many people having bigger bank balances than brains - so they think they own the roads. It starts from as simple as people flashing lights for you to give way and let them by when both of us are driving in the middle lane of a 3-lane highway, to bikers with no helmets cutting lanes scaring other vehicles into slamming on the brakes just to not run over the biker. This really scares the crap out of me. The clincher is that no one thinks they are in the wrong and worse with all the road rage violence that's published in our papers I dont even feel like correcting them - you don't know who can pull out a weapon and start going ballistic.[/quote]
I don't know the solutions to these things as they are a mindset and it'll take generations of good education and good civic behaviour to change mindsets.

But I know for a fact that all this has caused my wife to stop driving, and she's even nervous to take rickshaws alone especially at dusk/early evening, i've started getting very irritable when driving and go to great lengths to avoid in-city driving on weekends. We've started going to super markets on weekday evenings when there's less of a rush and nuisance from folks who just dont care about others they are sharing space with. These are a few examples, but I find ourselves adjusting in a lot of small ways to deal with this general attitude and wondering whether we are adjusting too much, whether its worth it.
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Old 15th January 2013, 01:39   #156
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Please note that i have never been abroad, except to Nepal, when i write this.

For whatever reasons, there is a note of pessimism and curious self denial in this thread. I will just put my thoughts about 2 things.

We are very well mannered people - we have been taught to do namaskar/adab to visiting relatives/known elders etc. To strangers no we don't do. Which is fine. Everyone is occupied by their own struggles. With regard to questions of etiquette (examples of lifts, and other public areas which have been brought about) where no one seems to acknowledge the other; have you noticed, if you try start a conversation Indians join in so much faster - and this will be all Indians. But if you try do polite hello hi, then no one cares. I would say this is better than the other.

If we have paid money for something, we like to see that we get its value's worth. It might seem as boorish behaviour but hey! don't be in the service business otherwise - it is our hard earned/saved money. We are not rude to service providers, we just demand our due for the money paid. Boorish would be to demand something which is not possible to be provided/or which was never promised. that is not the case here. This should also not be confused with instances where basically a bargain is being made - there are some cultures, where bargaining is a traditional culture, where it is not considered rude, India is one of them. To look at it from a different lens is one thing, but to judge it wrong is wrong.

How one looks at greed/consumerism is more a matter of temperament/age than of cultures. No culture is more selfish than the other. You will find equal examples of piety everywhere - just that the targets will be different. We will be handing over our old clothes to our maids/drivers, while they make the donation to the church/aid organisation. We want to buy the bigger flat, while they want the better holiday. %age by %age, the number of people who settle for what they manage with a reasonable effort, will be the same across cultures.
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Old 15th January 2013, 09:49   #157
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Default Re: Returning to India

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selfdrive, I don't know how I missed reading and replying to this post for months, apologies for that, very rude on my part. I am coming to India for 3 weeks around the new years and I will evaluate if "I have lost the edge". My brother jokingly tells me I have lost the competitive spirit and I am laid back now
So how did that NRI vacation go?

Quote:
Originally Posted by gomzi View Post
We actually love being back among friends and family and in familiar environs, but a few of the points mentioned in this thread have been playing on our minds and making us question whether its worth living and bringing up a family in urban india any more.
I think social life and ties are the only things which bring a lot of folks back to India. Probably a little can be attributed to the weather and availability of domestic help (housemaids, drivers, etc.)
Urban India is degenerating into a mess and there is nothing happening to reverse the slide. As for rural India, there is no infrastructure and people who have lived in rural areas abroad will not be able to adjust with the lack of electricity/ water/ schools/ roads/ the list is endless.

Quote:
Originally Posted by manolin View Post
For whatever reasons, there is a note of pessimism and curious self denial in this thread. I will just put my thoughts about 2 things.
Sorry to point this out, but I think I need to clarify some of the points which seem to have come across in a way different than what I have been talking about.
Of course if you find something optimistic about fellow country people being abusive and boorish, do let me know. I would be glad to come out of what you term as self denial. Just help me understand if I have been living in a different country altogether.

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Originally Posted by manolin View Post
We are very well mannered people - we have been taught to do namaskar/adab to visiting relatives/known elders etc. To strangers no we don't do. Which is fine. Everyone is occupied by their own struggles. With regard to questions of etiquette (examples of lifts, and other public areas which have been brought about) where no one seems to acknowledge the other; have you noticed, if you try start a conversation Indians join in so much faster - and this will be all Indians.
To be honest and blunt, I dont care how well mannered anyone is. It only shows their upbringing. I dont want to talk to anyone or say hi or smile or anything anymore. But is it too much to ask that I should not be elbowed out when I am waiting for an elevator? Is it really so difficult to understand that everyone is waiting for the same elevator and if you miss one, the other will be there in a couple of minutes. Or there is the staircase. If you are late, then you need to leave earlier. Pushing other people out of the way or stomping on their feet is not the answer. It does not take anyone to live abroad to understand this basic etiquette.

And if you say we have been taught to greet our elders, what makes the same people rant and abuse elders on the street? Have we also not been taught the "pehle aap" way of moving ahead?

Quote:
Originally Posted by manolin View Post
If we have paid money for something, we like to see that we get its value's worth. It might seem as boorish behaviour but hey! don't be in the service business otherwise - it is our hard earned/saved money. We are not rude to service providers, we just demand our due for the money paid.
So if we pay tax for the roads, do we drive as if its our personal property? Dont other people pay taxes? There is a reason it is termed as public space. Are others not entitled to use the roads too? This is the reason we have rules. And the fact is that we dont follow them and endanger the lives and property of others due to this idiotic attitude of flashing lights, going up the wrong side to overtake waiting vehicles, etc.
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Old 15th January 2013, 14:13   #158
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Originally Posted by manolin View Post
We are very well mannered people - we have been taught to do namaskar/adab to visiting relatives/known elders etc. To strangers no we don't do. Which is fine. Everyone is occupied by their own struggles. With regard to questions of etiquette (examples of lifts, and other public areas which have been brought about) where no one seems to acknowledge the other; have you noticed, if you try start a conversation Indians join in so much faster - and this will be all Indians. But if you try do polite hello hi, then no one cares. I would say this is better than the other.
I have never lived abroad but have visited some countries in Asia and Europe. So let me give few examples. In Thailand we were at a tourist place where bus loads of fellow Indian tourists were also there. As we were taking photographs of ourselfs, all other nationalities will either stop or pass behind the person holding camera. Indians on the other hand will just cross our path. If you say 'thats not a big deal', it will only buttress the point that I am trying to make.

Another example: In Vienna I could chat up with fellow tourists in the hotel lobby (I initiated, with a lady) or inside the tour bus (other tourist initiated). In India I dare not try, especially with ladies; no fellow Indian tourist has tried to chat with me either.

I totally agree with selfdrive on the waiting for lift example; rude to the point of blocking people getting out.
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Old 15th January 2013, 14:19   #159
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Guite and Selfdrive - are these issues which have only come up in the recent years, or have these behavioral issues been there always. I think to a massive extent they have been there forever (maybe not as visible earlier, because liberalisation has brought more empowered people into the public spaces) - in that case, it is each of us evaluator's mindset which has changed - which is fair enough.

Last edited by manolin : 15th January 2013 at 14:20. Reason: liberalisation, not liberalism
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Old 15th January 2013, 14:51   #160
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Originally Posted by manolin View Post
Guite and Selfdrive - are these issues which have only come up in the recent years, or have these behavioral issues been there always. I think to a massive extent they have been there forever (maybe not as visible earlier, because liberalisation has brought more empowered people into the public spaces) - in that case, it is each of us evaluator's mindset which has changed - which is fair enough.
I feel it’s a recent phenomenon. As you mentioned, empowerment/liberalization (maybe a bit too sudden) maybe one of the reason. I can equate this to the way our cricket team has changed – from the time of Sachin, Dravid etc., we suddenly moved into this new breed of street fighters with fake aggression.

------

In my recent visit, I noticed some welcome change as well – customer service standards have gone up a bit, be it in the supermarket, malls, or even at car dealerships. I could feel the genuine effort to do well (strictly from the experience in Cochin/Thrissur, Kerala).
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Old 15th January 2013, 16:53   #161
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While travelling somewhere in Switzerland (dont remember the place), I happened to see those telescope thingies at one of the vantage points. It had a board to warn people not to use other currencies. The first currency on that list was the Indian rupee. In bold. Other currencies were listed later. It was not in alphabetical order.

At another location we were trying to enter a cable car where an Indian fellow was arguing about the age of his kid with the cable car guy. He was trying to pass his 12 year old kid as a 6 year old (or some equivalent number). I asked the Swiss guy in French what the issue was. He replied saying its quite common to see these Indians do this. People can spend all the money to reach Switzerland but try to save the price of a cable car ticket? Seriously now?
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Old 25th February 2013, 19:52   #162
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I stumbled upon this thread this morning and could resist writing a few bits. The charm of an alternative lifestyle and earning foreign currency lured me to the UK last year. I had been to the UK a couple of times in the last 5 years but only for small tenures. Back then I always dreamt what it would be life I had the opportunity to live in this country. Fast forward, I have now been here (more precisely London) for the last 8 months or so. When I was offered a position to come and work here, I thought perhaps this is the beginning of a new chapter in my life. Wifey wasn't particularly excited at the prospect of resettling but nonetheless joined hands with my decision. And now less than a year here and we are already on our way back home. Wifey and kiddo (2 year daughter) are on a flight back to Mumbai on March 11th. I am working out modalities with my employers to relocate me to their office in Mumbai. In all likelihood, I'm back in India in the next 5-6 months. It hasn't quite worked out the way I had imagined. I enlist the reasons below:

1. Wifey could not find a job here. She has been itching to get back to the workforce after a 4 year hiatus.
2. Childcare costs are ridiculously high, so even if wife gets a job a big percentage of our earnings would go towards that.
3. Travel is expensive.
4. Rentals are expensive.
5. Social life is nothing home to write about.
6. Awful weather most of the year except a few weeks here and there during the summer (last summer was the wettest in recent history for UK and winter this year is really harsh).

This is not to say that we did not know of these aspects before the decision to relocate to London. However, we thought we would be able to tide over these things in due course of time. Its only when you are in the thick of things you realise how difficult it could be.

Some friends who have been here for a while now think I am making a hasty decision by opting to go back. However, we believe we are better off in India than here. Reasons:

1. Our own house and car
2. Family
3. Close friends
4. Weather (though not the most pleasant, is still acceptable)
5. Education and travel are less expensive comparatively

Sometimes, I still ponder over our decision. Will we regret it? Should we give ourselves some more time in this country? The honest answer to these questions is that I do not know at this point in time. The only thing I am certain of at this point is that we want to return to India sooner rather than later.

That said, I also think my situation is a lot different than some of the others who have perhaps lived a good part of their life abroad and have now returned or thinking about returning to India. I can imagine it can be overwhelming to come back and settle in India after a long time. A lot has changed in India in the last 10-15 years or so. And some of the concerns voiced in this thread are perfectly valid. But with time, one gets around them with a little patience and experience. Moreover, you can always fall back upon advice from your friends and family who know the ways of life in India. Also, as someone said T-BHP will also do its bit to make you feel at home :-).
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Old 25th February 2013, 22:11   #163
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Originally Posted by wanderlustindia View Post
I stumbled upon this thread this morning and could resist writing a few bits. The charm of an alternative lifestyle and earning foreign currency lured me to the UK last year. I had been to the UK a couple of times in the last 5 years but only for small tenures. Back then I always dreamt what it would be life I had the opportunity to live in this country. Fast forward, I have now been here (more precisely London) for the last 8 months or so. When I was offered a position to come and work here, I thought perhaps this is the beginning of a new chapter in my life. Wifey wasn't particularly excited at the prospect of resettling but nonetheless joined hands with my decision. And now less than a year here and we are already on our way back home. Wifey and kiddo (2 year daughter) are on a flight back to Mumbai on March 11th. I am working out modalities with my employers to relocate me to their office in Mumbai. In all likelihood, I'm back in India in the next 5-6 months. It hasn't quite worked out the way I had imagined. I enlist the reasons below:

1. Wifey could not find a job here. She has been itching to get back to the workforce after a 4 year hiatus.
2. Childcare costs are ridiculously high, so even if wife gets a job a big percentage of our earnings would go towards that.
3. Travel is expensive.
4. Rentals are expensive.
5. Social life is nothing home to write about.
6. Awful weather most of the year except a few weeks here and there during the summer (last summer was the wettest in recent history for UK and winter this year is really harsh).

This is not to say that we did not know of these aspects before the decision to relocate to London. However, we thought we would be able to tide over these things in due course of time. Its only when you are in the thick of things you realise how difficult it could be.

Some friends who have been here for a while now think I am making a hasty decision by opting to go back. However, we believe we are better off in India than here. Reasons:

1. Our own house and car
2. Family
3. Close friends
4. Weather (though not the most pleasant, is still acceptable)
5. Education and travel are less expensive comparatively

Sometimes, I still ponder over our decision. Will we regret it? Should we give ourselves some more time in this country? The honest answer to these questions is that I do not know at this point in time. The only thing I am certain of at this point is that we want to return to India sooner rather than later.

That said, I also think my situation is a lot different than some of the others who have perhaps lived a good part of their life abroad and have now returned or thinking about returning to India. I can imagine it can be overwhelming to come back and settle in India after a long time. A lot has changed in India in the last 10-15 years or so. And some of the concerns voiced in this thread are perfectly valid. But with time, one gets around them with a little patience and experience. Moreover, you can always fall back upon advice from your friends and family who know the ways of life in India. Also, as someone said T-BHP will also do its bit to make you feel at home :-).
Buddy,

Reading your post reminded me of my England days. For 5 years i was in England to be specific in Coventry. I completed my B.Eng & Masters from Coventry University. Trust me, not a single day went by when i did not called or miss my home.

In England, i always found myself as i lost tourist. The place was never my cup of tea. Could not take the weather anymore, always raining, sun shine not seen for days & days. Life used to revolve around Queen & Queen :-).

Not only in England but i would say this would be true for the entire Western countries, the term socializing would only mean PUB.

When though i had an option for Work Visa, but the day i got my Master degree, i came for good.

Yes! it was indeed an tough decision, but England was never my cup of tea.

Wishing you best of luck!

Amit
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Old 25th February 2013, 22:27   #164
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Buddy,

Reading your post reminded me of my England days. For 5 years i was in England to be specific in Coventry. I completed my B.Eng & Masters from Coventry University. Trust me, not a single day went by when i did not called or miss my home.

In England, i always found myself as i lost tourist. The place was never my cup of tea. Could not take the weather anymore, always raining, sun shine not seen for days & days. Life used to revolve around Queen & Queen :-).

Not only in England but i would say this would be true for the entire Western countries, the term socializing would only mean PUB.

When though i had an option for Work Visa, but the day i got my Master degree, i came for good.

Yes! it was indeed an tough decision, but England was never my cup of tea.

Wishing you best of luck!

Amit
Thanks Amit. I have to admit I was initially excited at the prospect of coming to London and starting a new life. But with time, I've come to realise that England isn't my cup of tea either! That said, this is not a criticism of the country of place. I absolutely love London! If it was just me, I would have perhaps stayed back for a couple of years or so. But a family-man has to put the family first before the self! Wifey absolutely loathes it here. She misses her best friend (my sister) and we tend to believe that our dear daughter will be more at ease back home. Worst of all, I miss my driving and riding days in India. Trust me, I can't wait to get back home and get back on the saddle of a motorcycle of behind the wheels of my beloved Fiesta 1.6 S!
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Old 26th February 2013, 09:32   #165
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Thanks Amit. I have to admit I was initially excited at the prospect of coming to London and starting a new life. But with time, I've come to realise that England isn't my cup of tea either! That said, this is not a criticism of the country of place. I absolutely love London! If it was just me, I would have perhaps stayed back for a couple of years or so. But a family-man has to put the family first before the self! Wifey absolutely loathes it here. She misses her best friend (my sister) and we tend to believe that our dear daughter will be more at ease back home. Worst of all, I miss my driving and riding days in India. Trust me, I can't wait to get back home and get back on the saddle of a motorcycle of behind the wheels of my beloved Fiesta 1.6 S!
Buddy,

We stay in India and we crib about it, but still i would say India is the best place to live. Every country has its pros and cons. In India, we crib about Traffic, roads, driving manners but in western world owing a car is like a dream. Road Taxes, Insurance, fuel bills just kills you.

If one has bit of money in India, you can afford to keep maids working in your house, afford chauffeur driven car, one can go on long drives which i think in western countries we surely can't afford.

I truly feel its good to experience lifestyle in western countries, but for long run India is the best.

Happy coming Home :-)

Amit
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