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Old 23rd May 2011, 12:46   #31
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Default Re: Returning to India

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Sorry to disagree Dot, I feel the above two sets are quite contradicting. You have all those bad experiences mentioned in the first set, and then you mentioned ‘US is far better than Europe, Singapore etc.’
My points are already off topic, but maybe relevant in a fringe kind of way.

Yes, I realized that the points are contradictory at face value. But the following lines might help to convey what I intended.

Best place to live: India

Now if have to live abroad,
Next: US.

US very close to S'pore. However S'pore much better than mainland Europe.

Why US>Singapore?

Because S'pore is too strict and way tooo expensive. And you cant drive, even if you managed to buy a car.

Why Europe is worst, IMHO? Because of the discrimination/silly behaviour that I have experienced in US are like child play when compared to Europe.

I have many points to add, but since this is already OT, will stop.


@blackasta: Please read the MG road of my post as Esplanade- Park Street for Calcutta. Of course Harrison (MG) Road - college street crossing is not a bad place to hang around too.
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Old 23rd May 2011, 13:43   #32
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Default Re: Returning to India

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Why US>Singapore?

Because S'pore is too strict and way tooo expensive. And you cant drive, even if you managed to buy a car.
Points well taken... Thank you

Agree that this place is strict and expensive. And yes, there is no point in owning a car.
Why I prefer here:
1) Safety: Not seen any place which offers better safety cushion. In today’s world this is something which I give paramount importance.
2) Multi-cultural: I am always fascinated by different cultures, and this place is awesome in that aspect. My 3 year old’s best friends are natives of Mumbai, Uzbekistan, Singapore and Australia. I find it quite fascinating.
3) Closer to home: 4 hours flight to cochin, and I am home.

US is one place which I have turned down a few times. Yes, its cheaper to live, and you can own a car. But its quite opposite to what I mentioned above. So that a place where I want to bring up my daughter – No!

Now getting back to the original topic listed by Selfdrive. Why there is a new found arrogance and attitude. As Blackasta mentioned, I feel, at times the young ones tend to equate smartness to arrogance. Or try to follow that specific aspect of the western culture. Problem is, even our movies, media, sports etc., kind of promote this fake attitude.
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Old 23rd May 2011, 14:21   #33
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Default Re: Returning to India

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Best place to live: India
Now if have to live abroad,
Next: US.
I agree with your choices, I would go for the same too.
My reasoning for the US as a second choice over other countries except India is:
- English language is predominantly in use (well, mostly!) This makes a lot of difference especially after having lived in mainland Europe
- People from multiple origins, so comparatively less discrimination
- Social life; personal & subjective. More of my family/ friends are there than in India
- Infrastructure & other topics already mentioned by dot

However, India is the place where I want to live as among other things I am not treated like an alien here

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Originally Posted by vb-san View Post
Why there is a new found arrogance and attitude. As Blackasta mentioned, I feel, at times the young ones tend to equate smartness to arrogance. Or try to follow that specific aspect of the western culture. Problem is, even our movies, media, sports etc., kind of promote this fake attitude.
Yes this arrogance & attitude really grates on the nerves. In fact I think there is a problem of this deepening divide between the haves and the have nots. This has been reinforced by an incident that happened last week.
I was in an auto and talking a bit to the driver. At a signal, he looked ruefully at an Indica and said that he had worked for 36 years yet had to end up driving an auto for his living. That he could not afford to buy one and then wondered where people got all this money from. In a couple of moments, a biker tried to squeeze his way between our auto and the said Indica. This auto driver mumbled to himself, but said nothing to the biker. The next moment the biker had scratched the stationery Indica on the left front door. This Indica driver got off and started arguing with the biker (whose fault it clearly was). Before I could intervene, the auto driver heroically stepped off and began hurling a volley of abuses at the Indica driver. The Indica driver responded in kind and then it went according to the usual script (abuse - return abuse - other people join - more abuse - mumbling by everyone - other vehicles honk - move back to own vehicles & move - end).

Now what got the goat for me was the auto driver's clear resentment for the car driver. He had no business whatsoever in the argument, but he just made life hell for the car driver because he doesnt have one.
Why did he not argue with the biker?
Why this resentment at someone else who has earned his money and chooses how to spend it?
Who is this guy to judge whether he has worked for it or earned through other means?
What gives him the right to start flexing his muscle in a fight that he has no business being in?
I could go on, but I guess the point is made. What of such people that some call 'low life'; just because they dont have something they can create a nuisance for other people who do?
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Old 23rd May 2011, 14:35   #34
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Default Re: Returning to India

Welcome back !!

I faced the same issues back in 2005, it was matter of few months to get into the track. But somewhere inside, I still feel this is not the way our country should be, considering the kind of resources and education we proudly declare. Gap between the 'haves' and 'have nots' are very wide and we cant do anything about it.

What you noticed about the auto-indica drivers is very true and I have seen that plenty of times. "I am not supposed to live like this" attitude is very high and you will find plenty of that on the road. There are lot of things we need to just close our eyes, ignore and move on. Otherwise its very tough to find time for our personal things.

I still hope things will improve as we move from one generation to another. If political corruption is put to an end, India will be the best place to live on earth. We are already witnessing lot of changes in that line.
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Old 23rd May 2011, 14:38   #35
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Default Re: Returning to India

The way the people from the so called affuluent society in India behave, My god! This builds up a lot of frustration in the lesser privileged, because they are treated badly. I always make it a point to smile to the rickshaw driver next to my car in the signal and I always receive a smile back. This is generic courtesy which the so called affuluent people are forgetting in India. Treat any person with respect and surely he will respect you. The main problem in India is, we are not able to differentiate people and their work add to this the huge ego we carry. Just try speaking to a rich business man in a hotel lobby and you will understand what I am saying.

Coming to food, when you are paying 8 Euro for a humble salad in Europe, you are atleast sure of the quality. In case you are not satisfied, you can complain and expect a better service or a better salad. This is not so in India. You may pay only Rs. 25/- for a plate of Idly but is the quality guaranteed? Recently when I bought Idlis in a decent Darshini, I found out that the Chutney was stale. Upon complaining, in a very decent manner, I got a reply that I can either eat it or just get lost.
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Old 23rd May 2011, 16:30   #36
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Default Re: Returning to India

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Originally Posted by selfdrive View Post
- Rudeness/ boorishness/ arrogance
Any person on the street has an attitude about him/ her. The smiles seem to have disappeared only to replaced by a permanent frown/ scowl. Is this mroe due to the inflation or the rat race? I have tried smiling and interacting with people but it doesnt seem like it helps. Whatever happened to people interacting with each other? It seems like I will be restricted to talking to people I know. Do strangers not talk these days? Maybe I need a trip on good old Indian rail to verify for myself.

- Tardiness/ lack of punctuality
I can understand people getting caught in traffic, but of late I am beginning to feel that people dont seem to care any less. Or even if they have any respect for the time/ schedule of the person they are supposed to meet. Has this become an extension of the 'chalta hai' attitude? How can I stop people selling me up the river?

- Service/ support issues
Recently I had an issue with my air cooler and the servicing mechanics just refused to come over to repair it depsite numerous appointments/ assurances. For another issue, an electrician grudgingly came over and then promptly overcharged me (though not explicitly mentioning it). Whatever happened to the good old respect for earning through hard work? How can I stop people from overcharging me and do I have to verify with 5 quotes from different people before finalising whom to get work done from?

- Traffic urgency
Everyone seems to be in a rush to get to wherever they are going. If they are so late everyday, it would perhaps be a bit better to leave early. I presume that people are not estimating their commute times in an efficent manner or that they are so impatient that they want to overtake eveyr vehicle they see.

Perhaps these issues have been existent for quite some time now, but it seems more magnified to me as I have not seen the gradual increase over the years.
As an example, I remember eating a dosa in an Udupi restaurant for 25 bucks not so long ago. On my return the same dosa is for around 50 bucks. Here I can attribute the price increase to inflation, but what do I attribute the behavioural changes to? More importantly, how do I adapt to dealing with them? I hope the word 'ignore' is not a part of the response
ok. Here is my 2 cents. I have only lived 3 years outside India, and also not continuously. I love some things about USA and some other things about India. We have debated enough about what is good in which country. Reminds me of a joke about American Salary, Italian food, etc. etc. and an Indian wife.

Anyway, my post is about solutions now. How do we handle these situations.

The first thing is to be part of the system. Unless you are part of it, you cannot change it. Lets look at each point and see how can you work the system to be able to get things done.

- Rudeness.
This is probably there right from childhood. We grow in a rat race like envirnoment. However, it is also because we never start a conversation. Ever had a conversation with the Auto driver you are travelling in? Ever spoke to the shop keeper you buy your groceries from? If you do, you would definitely see a smiling face when you see them next time. But we generally dont do it.
While an unknown stranger may seem rude, sometimes its just their behavior. Further, this changes for different places within India. If i go to North Karnataka it is very normal for them to talk in a rough language, but they dont mean to. Its just their language.
However, in cities, i would say that the rat race is the cause of rudeness. However, we can "choose" to be polite, and probably people will return back that favour (atleast some percent of them).
For example, I always hold the door open for the person coming behind me and almost always they say thanks. This is true even in malls and public places... some are even startled that i keep it open for them! Well. I surely see a smile on a stranger then!

- Lack of Punctuality.
Now, this is very very very common. First of all, if you are the boss, it is easier to set expectations among the team. The problem is if you are not the boss. In such a case, one way i usually work with is to start off with the topic that requires the least number of people and get on with it. Once everyone joins, i would recap and bring the rest of them on same page.
If it is an appointment with some stranger (plumber/bank accountant etc), i call them beforehand, and explain that i have another appointment and so lets start right on time.

Also, remember, not always are people late just because they are lazing around. Perhaps they are stuck in some other meeting - so, relaxing a few minutes is probably fine. Of course, this should not be more than a few minutes.

Calling them on the phone is also a very accepted practice.

Recently a team mate of mine setup a meeting at a time like : 10.25 to 11.25. Although the meeting started at 10:30, it was a clear indication that he intended to start early. Also, an outlook notification that screams "Meeting: NOW" is likely to get the person out of his seat!

THis is what i am talking about - be "in" the system first and then make changes. If not, it is very likely that people start saying "Came back from USA/Uk and suddenly very punctual... eh?? ".

-Service/ support issues
I share your problem. I truly dont have a solution. It looks like buying a system that needs the least support is the best. However, I have seen variying experiences here. For example, there was a time when i had a problem with my broadband provider BSNL (state run, with a call center who dont understand much), but to my surprise, they were able to very cleearly understand my problem and fix it. I have also seen a fairly good support with Hathway. However, i totally agree with you that this is not universal.

What i try to do: Sometimes, it always helps to get a reference number for any complaint. This helps you to esclate it in your next call.
Second, clarify the process - sometimes we just call, and assume that the rest will happen by itself (which should, but not always). Next, be polite and try to understand how the call will be processed. There is nothing to gain by shouting at the call center guys. Instead, one can try to understand their process and speed up the request.

Case in point: When i raised a complaint with Whirlpool, I was told that i will get a call in 2 hours. Needless to say, i did not get a call even on the next day. Next time i called, i explained the situation, and was able to get the mobile number of the service agency who would do the actual service. Then i got the number of the service person who would be visiting, and fixed up a time. So, this is not the best way that it could have got resolved, but given the circumstances, and the standards of service in this country, i guess its not bad too.

- Traffic urgency
Now, this is one thing for which i dont yet any solution. I try to play by the rules as much as possible. I generally give way to the cabbies, autos and two wheelers as the damage done to me/my car is far more than to them. They tend to take it easy, and so, i (read we) have to be more careful.

Sorry for the long post. A lot of points may have been repeated, but still, the above is my 2 cents. In short, i would say the solution is to "become part of the system and then try to change it for the better". There is a lot of satisfaction when things changes for the better, and you know you played a part in it.

Last edited by deep_bang : 23rd May 2011 at 16:34.
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Old 23rd May 2011, 19:05   #37
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Default Re: Returning to India

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- Lack of Punctuality.
I know enough has been said, you need to take India in it's entirety, everyplace has it's own goods and bad. But I wanted to mention a funny incident on punctuality.

We have a large indian community and this is how the time is decided, "So if you want to start the party at 1, let's tell everybody the time is 12.00, so everybody will start arriving at 1.00 and at 2.00 will have everybody and then we can cut the cake" . These are people who are going to be in the party and they are talking about their own arrival times.

I used to get pissed off but figured it's not worth it, Nowadays I just laugh it off. It was funny when we rented a children's fun place for birthday for for two hours and most of them arrived when the time was almost over. Lose-lose for everybody. My sons had the whole place to themselves though.
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Old 23rd May 2011, 20:09   #38
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...."So if you want to start the party at 1, let's tell everybody the time is 12.00, so everybody will start arriving at 1.00 and at 2.00 will have everybody and then we can cut the cake" .....
Vivek, I tried this strategy half a dozen times and failed miserably. If people are invited for lunch and given a time of 12pm, they will never reach before 1pm. And if you are giving a dinner at 7.30pm, attendance is full only by 9pm. Its because the crowd knows they are invited for lunch or dinner and the respective times are fixed on a national time rule !! Thats the way we are, I dont know how to change that thing. Difficulty is when we hire a hall for 2 hours or 3 hours max.

Last week my family was invited for an infant's baptism in a catholic church. It was fixed for 11am because there was an engagement ceremony at 11.30 in the same place and the place had to be vacated in 30 mts flat. Guess what, infant and parents came at 11.15am and everything had to be 'rushed' in 15 mts. Somehow the whole group related to the engagement ceremony poured into the church at 11.30 sharp. I think they were US returned

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Old 23rd May 2011, 20:57   #39
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Out of curiosity I just checked and realised that roughly 25% of the mod team are returned Indians.

I returned in 2004 and went through all the issues you had mentioned. We are a quasi-civilized nation. We are polite and generous to friends and relatives, but rude and suspicious of strangers. It is an tribal/clan mentality we have inherited thanks to our long history.

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US is one place which I have turned down a few times. Yes, its cheaper to live, and you can own a car. But its quite opposite to what I mentioned above. So that a place where I want to bring up my daughter – No!
Shocked to see this comment now. I remember hearing this or having this feeling in the 90s. But I had to change my mind by the 00s after I watched many daughters of my relatives and friends grow up in US. In general, they were more well behaved and more cultured than their Indian counter parts. Their parents obviously had paid extra attention to ensure that being in foreign country and all. Right now I don't believe there is any difference whether your daughter grows up in US or India.
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Old 23rd May 2011, 21:11   #40
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It is very usual for folks returning from other countries start finding fault with their own country. May be after getting used to living in a different environment, the mindset gets tuned to that living and the following occurs:

1) the regular drinking water which once upon a time gulped down without a fuss suddenly looks impure and ask for "mineral water"

2) the traffic with which one lived with, day in and day out, suddenly is unmanageable.

3) The same food which was very tasty is now either too oily or too fatty or with too much calories.

I had a colleague of mine who was deputed to the US office for 3 weeks and he had the above complaints on returning.

To top it all - even his R's were rolling a bit too much and "Dasani" became his water brand. (Though I once caught him filling the Dasani bottle with the water at the common water cooler)

I understand we get used to a different (mostly better) living conditions outside of India and may find it a bit difficult to adjust when we return. But I would say its just a matter of time when one begins to feel at home.

Just my nickel! I know this thread is bordering very much on the controversy and people may say "Oh you don't know how good it is on the other side"

After my return, even I did feel a bit like selfdrive, but then I just got used to it.

I started drinking the same water. I drive in the same traffic. I eat at all the joints depending on the company.

For those who cant, we still can go for imported mineral water, have a chauffeur to drive, 5/7 star restaurants which serve quality food at "quality" prices. <smile>

Some positives: Punctuality, discipline in life, better organization etc are indeed a take away from living outside of India.

All the things that have been discussed -- I can only say - It happens only in Indiyaaa! (the song)
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Old 23rd May 2011, 21:31   #41
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Shocked to see this comment now. I remember hearing this or having this feeling in the 90s. But I had to change my mind by the 00s after I watched many daughters of my relatives and friends grow up in US. In general, they were more well behaved and more cultured than their Indian counter parts. Their parents obviously had paid extra attention to ensure that being in foreign country and all. Right now I don't believe there is any difference whether your daughter grows up in US or India.
Actually, there is. One, that you already pointed it out. They are well behaved and cultured. I am shocked to see Indian children calling elders with respect, and then calling them worse names on their backs. American kids are always looked down upon because they use first names or discuss topics that are taboo, but once you get past the culture/ego shock, they come across as really well behaved.

But more important point, and I think I have said this earlier on this forum, is that I have seen people with girl child deciding to go back specifically because of having a girl child. They believe she will be spoilt in US. If I had a girl child, I would rather let her grow up empowered to make her own decisions and choices in life than being fed by me (or worse, public, as it usually happens in India). And I don't know, but somehow reportedly, boy children are not that difficult to raise.

EDIT: I think the OP was only concerned about the issues mentioned in first post, this is just extra unsolicited advice about returning in general

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Old 24th May 2011, 07:29   #42
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Yes this arrogance & attitude really grates on the nerves. In fact I think there is a problem of this deepening divide between the haves and the have nots. This has been reinforced by an incident that happened last week.
I was in an auto and talking a bit to the driver.
The divide between haves and have-nots was always there, and with the current growth (and inflation), the gap is getting bigger and bigger. And the behavior you mentioned (of the auto driver) is bound to happen. He is not conditioned, or taught to handle his frustration.
But how about the affluent society. I find the unwanted arrogance from the have-s more appalling

Quote:
Originally Posted by vivekiny2k View Post
I know enough has been said, you need to take India in it's entirety, everyplace has it's own goods and bad. But I wanted to mention a funny incident on punctuality.

We have a large indian community and this is how the time is decided, "So if you want to start the party at 1, let's tell everybody the time is 12.00, so everybody will start arriving at 1.00 and at 2.00 will have everybody and then we can cut the cake" . These are people who are going to be in the party and they are talking about their own arrival times.
I used to call this as rubber-time. In my previous job, this was something which I used to educate my colleagues in India – to value their own time, and also others time. And I had some good positive results with this.

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Out of curiosity I just checked and realised that roughly 25% of the mod team are returned Indians.

I returned in 2004 and went through all the issues you had mentioned. We are a quasi-civilized nation. We are polite and generous to friends and relatives, but rude and suspicious of strangers. It is an tribal/clan mentality we have inherited thanks to our long history.
Spot on. Speaking out to strangers is something which we are a bit slow to acquire.

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Shocked to see this comment now. I remember hearing this or having this feeling in the 90s. But I had to change my mind by the 00s after I watched many daughters of my relatives and friends grow up in US. In general, they were more well behaved and more cultured than their Indian counter parts. Their parents obviously had paid extra attention to ensure that being in foreign country and all. Right now I don't believe there is any difference whether your daughter grows up in US or India.
Sorry, let me correct a bit here. What I tried to mention is not about the cultural upbringing. I agree with you. In the current world, I don’t see a huge difference in behavior patterns and respect for elders, whether the child is growing in US, India or Europe. And my reference is not specific to girl or boy child.
In the current era of uncertainties, I feel one gift you can give your child is a safe place to grow up – without being overly protective. I have not been to Europe, but when I spend some time in the US, I somehow did not get the feeling of safe and comfortable (maybe because I am so used to SE Asia). Infact I felt Mumbai is much more safer than NYC. Here in Singapore, I find the aspect of safety and orderliness the most comforting.

And if I have to return to India, the only place I will consider is Thrissur, Kerala
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Old 24th May 2011, 11:40   #43
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Default Re: Returning to India

Wherever you go be yourself.

I tried this fitting in and gelling in and letting go and educating all.

Does not work. Being myself works best.

If no one cares get on with what you are at. Things will either fall in line or never will but then you will be yourself either way.
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Old 24th May 2011, 12:03   #44
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Originally Posted by Shubz View Post
It is very usual for folks returning from other countries start finding fault with their own country. May be after getting used to living in a different environment, the mindset gets tuned to that living and the following occurs:
1) the regular drinking water
2) the traffic
3) The same food
Shubz; I have not mentioned any of these issues as those that bother me. I think most of us are mature enough to understand these changes; and in my honest opinion this is more of immature traits displayed by people who would want to show that they have traveled abroad (which is no great acheivement by itself!)
The topics we are trying to address here are more behavioural changes by us Indians over the last few years. It so happens that such changes are more noticeable when you dont see the gradual change. If I can give an example, its like seeing a 2 year old kid after 3 months. The invariable comment would be - arey kitna bada ho gaya hai? Whereas the parents of the same kid may not notice the change as they have been seeing the growth day in and day out. I hope I am able to clarify my concerns. I will try to think of a better example; so dont roast me for this one!

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Originally Posted by vivekiny2k View Post
And I don't know, but somehow reportedly, boy children are not that difficult to raise.
EDIT: I think the OP was only concerned about the issues mentioned in first post, this is just extra unsolicited advice about returning in general
Maybe extra unsolicited advice, but certainly useful nevertheless! I only have a son, so perhaps I may be better placed if and when we have a daughter too (which I really hope is the case!). I believe with 2 sons, you turn from a parent into a referee

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Originally Posted by vb-san View Post
The divide between haves and have-nots was always there, and with the current growth (and inflation), the gap is getting bigger and bigger. And the behavior you mentioned (of the auto driver) is bound to happen. He is not conditioned, or taught to handle his frustration.
But how about the affluent society. I find the unwanted arrogance from the have-s more appalling
Arrogance is equally appalling from both the haves and the have nots. Nowadays, some of the 'haves' do not have any humility or modesty and that grates a lot. I hate to put it this way; but their crassness is at odds with the vehicle they are in!

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Originally Posted by vb-san View Post
And if I have to return to India, the only place I will consider is Thrissur, Kerala
Perhaps that is because it is a known place, you are aware of it in and out and you have social/ family support structure there. This is again entirely subjective; there can be no perfect place for all Indians to live with their kids. You may prefer Thrissur/ Singapore while I prefer Pune/ US.

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Wherever you go be yourself.I tried this fitting in and gelling in and letting go and educating all. Does not work. Being myself works best.
If no one cares get on with what you are at. Things will either fall in line or never will but then you will be yourself either way.
+1, it seems like this is the way to go to avoid undue stress! However, it does not have the charm of imbibing from different cultures/ people; so again it may be better for one to be a bit selective in this.
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Old 24th May 2011, 14:22   #45
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You guys talk about culture shock of returning to India. What I experienced on my first trip to Europe last week can only be described as reverse culture shock. I was alone on the street in Vienna looking for the shopping street, which I was told my the hotel receptionist, is close by.
Me: Excuse me?
Local: May I help you?

Another person, this time a young girl. I was expecting the kind of stare only we Indians know.
Me: Excuse me, can you please tell me which way is the main shopping street?
Local: Can I show it to you onthe map?
(I was carrying a local map)

This kind of experience repeated many times over; people talk to, smile to strangers in the hotel lobby, on the streets, etc. That was a shocking experience!!!
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