Realm Of Randomness

January 29, 2008

Desi dilemmas in a pardesi land

Filed under: Humour,India,Introspection — Randomizer @ 3:25 am

A good friend of mine from back in school, Prax has reached the American shores from work, and shares some of his new adventures in his blog. You can find the link to his blog on my blog roll in future as well. One note he makes, which I have always wanted to talk about is:

” Accents change – couple of days here, and already my accent is changing. But strangely enuf, whenever I talk to indians here, the good old bangalorean accent comes back.”


All of us desis discover this at some point early on in our stay here… that we are one thing with Indians, and another variation of ourselves with non-Indians, more specifically, Americans. I spoke about ‘DBCDs – Desh Born Confused Desis’ some time ago but cannot find it now on this blog, for some reason. It must have been taken off during my first phase of cleaning out my blog for political correctness.

Anyway, there are always very interesting situations with desi group dynamics, a set of unwritten rules that go without saying, but all follow, in varying degrees. A lot of this post comes from observations of my desi friends and personal experiences over the last 2.5 years in the US.

dilemma2.jpg

The Accent

The desi who arrived here and started talking to other desis in any degree of the american accent is instantly detested. Almost immediately, the universal thought is, ‘He’s just been here for X years, and look at his accent … ‘. The funny thing is that X can be anywhere from 1 year to 10 years … you are simply not expected to change, and any sort of ‘in-between’ accent gives people the impression he/she is faking. You either have a perfect American accent, or an Indian one, nothing in between.

It is really strange/funny to see desi group dynamics in play. Like take a conversation in a mixed group of Americans and Indians, with interactions between everyone taking place. Typically, most Indians switch to some degree of a borrowed accent when in a mixed group – I find it very strange and very fake to interact with a desi friend in this group, in our new accents… do you switch back when addressing your desi friend or do you go on with the weird accent?

Who hasn’t come across the annoying desi who’s been here for just like 2 weeks and speaks to us in a borrowed accent? :)

The friend circle

Inevitably, our closest friends here are desis, and there really isn’t much we can do about that. It is a combination of the ease of getting along, the common topics to speak about, and the shared experiences. However, no one likes to admit it. Everyone ideally wants a mixed group, a whole bunch of diverse friends, but everyone typically ends up with a core desi group in the end, anyway :).

There are of course, people on both sides of the spectrum. On one end is the Kannada/Tamil/Gujrati/Bengali speaking super exclusive group, who converse in their mother tongues, eat traditional food and have been like a rock with respect to the people they are and the environment they are in. They are mostly happy with things, their friends, and so on, and don’t really feel like they are missing anything, or that they should be doing something else. On the other end of the spectrum are those who avoid fellow desis at all costs to ‘move away’ from who they have been.

I would say that a good 70% of the diaspora are swimming somewhere between these extremes, not wanting to appear ‘clannish’ or exclusive, but ending up in an all-desi group anyway.

How Desi do you wanna go?

There are lots of people who genuinely miss their motherland and ache for some aspect of their day to remind them of home. And on the other end, there are those who badly want to feel like they are in ‘a new place, away from all they know’.

A classic incident to illustrate this is my first trip on the train from Mountain View to San Francisco. This being my first mini-adventure on my own, I was excited about the whole thing and looking forward to a pseudo-modern experience. I was looking forward to being awed by the cleanliness/’hi-techiness’ of the train, and sat on a seat next to the window smiling excitedly, expecting a pleasant ride ahead.

Enter Kannada-speaking desi wife with kid and family, who take the next seat. No, it was not fun listening to hard-core Kannada(my state’s language) being spoken over the next hour :) … and similar incidents have happened at many times over the last three years as well… where something ‘new’ is almost spoiled by something ‘familiar’….

I wonder if this whole thing is some sort of ‘reverse-exoticising’ happening with all of us. Just like maybe a British(replace with any western nationality you know) family go to India to see elephants and snake charmers, but instead end up next to MacDonalds,KFC, and the Intel office in Bangalore, and go ‘what the $@# ?!’, we are roaming around wanting to see the America from Hollywood…

The lifeboat syndrome

The lifeboat syndrome is basically ‘once you have found yourself a life boat, you do everything to keep others from hopping on’. A variation of this is to ‘close the door behind you’. Most desis feel this way about other desis at at least one aspect of life. For instance, if desi A has found a city where there aren’t many Indians, he doesn’t like more desis coming into the city! Literally every desi who lives in the bay area complains of ‘too many of us’. This feeling could translate to pubs (too many desis in that pub, man, let’s go somewhere else!) , cities, universities( I wanna join a university which isn’t filled with Indians), and so many other things.

Also, I wonder how many desis in the US right now with jobs will scream for joy if the government decides to raise the H1B quota from 65,000 visas to like 3 million visas a year. Are you imagining the opening of flood-gates with tons of desis pouring in? :)

Why are we not so excited to see so many of our own folk? Should we not be, technically, happy ? And if not, are we in some weird sort of way, racist against our own race? These are questions that have had me thinking, and no, I don’t really have the answers. It would be great if we got a dialogue rolling here, with your thoughts and experiences from whichever country you are currently residing in, of diaspora, assimilation, and the innumerable dilemmas we face away from home.

Also, type away all those things you wish your fellow desis did/didn’t do when abroad! That should make for some fun reading :)

[ Update: This post has recently been linked from DesiPundit, a popular indian blog, and I am very grateful for the recognition and the traffic. Welcome to the Realm, new readers, and please do add to the discussion! ]

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27 Comments »

  1. WTH… another confused desi ;). Dude I guess this things not gonna change.. When I reached I had decided that as long as I stay in UK will live on burgers.. pizzaz.. Well actually did that but evetually got tired and returned to my roomates cooking of sambhar and stuff and but got tired of even that in a month.. however with Tikka Masala and Chicken curry replacing Fish & Chips and Mc Ds over here its not difficult to find some spicy food. Imagine the place where I live there is no SUBWAY but there are 10s of kebabs and tandoori restaurants.

    I guess the mentality where one desi would prefer less number of desis around him in a western city would be to have that feeling of living in foriegn land. But I think most of the desis would prefer living in a place full of desis.. I dont really know why though… coz I got freaked out when I went to east ham in london and that place looked right out as some blore or hyd localit.. well can say chennai as well as it more famous for CHENNAI DOSA restaurant :D .. People here before coming litrally pack everthing starting from pickels to papads to wheat flour.. to pillows to bedsheets :) .. And many people I met here ..they really hate eating any of the food outside and kind of critical of every damn thing… I mean why come here if you dont like it.. Anyways I thinkg its real fun living in a foriegn land for sometime.

    Comment by salman — January 29, 2008 @ 2:11 pm | Reply

  2. @salman: Man, I can’t imagine desis trying to put on a british accent when speaking in the UK. We dissect the much easier American accent so much, I really don’t know what would happen with our attempts at the English accent! :)

    You are right about the feeling of ‘living in a foreign land’. We come to another nation expecting a different, *new* experience, not the same stuff that we had on the roads back home ! You say that you think most desis prefer living in a place full of desis … Personally, 9/10 of the people I’ve met try to stay in a non-desi area! Of course, maybe the first time you arrive at a new country, you might feel the need for familiar faces… but beyond 1 year, not so much.

    When it comes to food, I absolutely don’t mind going desi most of the way… burgers and pizzas every day? Are you even recognizable now ? :)

    Comment by Randomizer — January 30, 2008 @ 2:05 am | Reply

  3. […] has a funny look at some of the dilemmas desis face when they move abroad.  Like it or not, there is a lot of truth in what he says. For instance, if […]

    Pingback by Desi dilemmas | DesiPundit — January 30, 2008 @ 11:52 pm | Reply

  4. Truly an honour to be linked by DesiPundit. Thanks so much for the link ! :)

    Comment by Randomizer — January 31, 2008 @ 12:14 am | Reply

  5. I think (just my opinion) **most desis think of other desis as competition hence the reluctance.

    Comment by La Vida Loca — January 31, 2008 @ 7:02 am | Reply

  6. I am being outrageously, and perhaps offensively honest here, but I believe that wanting to have a ‘mixed’ group has a lot to do with firangs looking more attractive as compared to desis. (Forgive the political incorrectness.) I think it’s natural for everyone to want to look around and see good-looking people. Very few of people who crib about having a desi group actually have it in them to be friends with firangs, share their humor, accept their way of looking at life, etc.
    As for the lifeboat syndrome, that has to do with being elitist. It doesn’t feel like you have accomplished much by being “phoren-returned/educated” anymore; and with the floodgates opening, it would seem even less an accomplishment.

    Comment by Renuka — January 31, 2008 @ 7:43 am | Reply

  7. Came here via Desipundit.

    I have cousins in the US, who say that they have to speak in such a way that Americans understand them and that they ultimately realize is by speaking in their accent. How ever they retain their Indian accent for Indians or when in India.

    Reg the question whether we are racist against our own race, I think we will behave the same way in India too if a niche sector suddenly offers jobs and you find many people herding towards it. It is just an instinct to protect your position and the distrust that the newcomer doesn’t spoil the party for the rest :) Just my thoughts.

    Nice post!

    Anjali

    Comment by silverine — January 31, 2008 @ 7:49 am | Reply

  8. This is such an interesting subject! [:)] and well written too.
    I cannot possibly empathize with some of the experiences expressed here…being in India all my life,the aforementioned experiences are “foreign” to me, which made this entry rather interesting. Speaking of the lifeboat syndrome however, I believe it is a universal phenomenon. I’m probably running the risk of oversimplifying facts, but i’ll simply put it down to ones desire of patronizing his activities & interests. I mean it seemed so cool have an orkut account when it was somewhat exclusive, but the minute it has a mass appeal, we have a few users who close their orkut accounts and switch loyalties to another social networking site like facebook…
    So are being racist here?

    Comment by Sudhir Pai — January 31, 2008 @ 8:21 am | Reply

  9. Hi R,

    Thats a nice food for thought:)

    My selective impressions on your post: Our adopting the foreign accent, I believe, is perfectly fine as language is the first step towards breaking barriers be it cultural or social. Perhaps, language instills a feeling of faith / belongingness. So that’s fine.

    But as regards, faking accents within our groups is concerned, my understanding is that we look up-to them (not that we are downclassed any way, in fact, we are culturally rich) for ways to be more in tune with the times. Perhaps faking accents widespread here too, a number of people would pronounce schedule as skedule. But thats fine, as long as people are happy with that and unless some fanatic from this side of the world impinges on them the “real notion of Indianness”…

    Smiles

    Comment by Nitin Srivastava — January 31, 2008 @ 10:02 am | Reply

  10. But, really, how extensive is the DAS (Desi Avoidance Syndrome) ? Aren’t you being guilty of over-analysis here?

    Comment by corporate serf — January 31, 2008 @ 1:51 pm | Reply

  11. @La Vida Loca

    You are right, especially in universities – you just know that when you are in a class with many desis, you will have to slog extra hard to get on top and be recognized! Elsewhere, you might have been that ‘smart Indian guy’, but here, you will have to be much more.

    @Renuka

    Good points, and definitely food for thought. I think that having American friends makes our ‘value’ go up in our desi friend circles as well – as someone who is ‘cool/western/american enough’ to get along with them. Because of our obvious preference for fair skin, I would say that there is much truth in your statement that they(caucasians) would be considered more attractive to the everyday desi. Besides, I don’t see desis running to try and befriend african-american people.. (which can digress into a whole debate on racism, but let’s leave that for a rainy day)

    And yes, with every additional thousand desis entering, our market value *back home* decreases, as the ‘guy from abroad’. But I feel there is more to this than just our fear of our diminishing values at home … many of us don’t care much about that these days.

    @Anjali / Silverine

    Yes, accents when with Americans is perfectly acceptable here, as it is more of a practical thing – speaking in our desi accents, we often have to repeat our words many times before the person gets what we are trying to say. So, we just try to pronounce things the way they do. However, like I mentioned in the post, it is a pretty established rule that accents with fellow desis is a very strict no-no :) . Thanks for the comments!

    @Sudhir

    You are bang on target. Apart from the obvious improvements in interface, there is a certain ‘class improvement’ in being on facebook and not on orkut. With the mass migration of orkut to facebook these days, I feel the value of holding a facebook account is diminishing as well. Very nice observation :)

    @Nitin

    I agree … In India, as it is with desis everywhere, western = higher class. We automatically assume that the person with the better accent is in some weird way, of a higher class – This stems from not only our perpetual inferiority complex, but also the way society is these days.. english speaking people in india tend to be more educated because they must have gone to a good school. So between english and non-english itself, there is a ‘class’ distinction … Within the english speakers, everyone is once again sorted by accent. Even a dumb british/american boy would impress far more people with his appearance/accent among the general public than the smartest desi guy in town.

    The funny thing in the US though, is that this sorting on accent won’t work. Any borrowed accent when with desis – and the person gets the tag of ‘trying to be’ higher class, being a poser. So it’s a fine line we all treat here.

    Thanks all for your comments !

    Comment by Randomizer — January 31, 2008 @ 1:52 pm | Reply

  12. I will generally speak in Hindi if the other person is a desi. If the person insists on talking in English, I insist on replying in Hindi. Particularly this torture technique works well on southie people. Southies always talking in Taamil Kannad Mallu etc. without bothering to learn rastrabhasha they must be punished without mercy. Ofcourse with proper American goras I am forced to talk angrezi. But otherwise Hindi is good enough hai na ? It has nice cusswords also which can be effectively employed if the gora employer is overworking me. Divyanand Swami has said Always you should not bootle up the anger but release little little. So I am following that advice only.

    Comment by jk — January 31, 2008 @ 3:18 pm | Reply

  13. “the better accent…”
    Really??

    Comment by Vikram — January 31, 2008 @ 3:26 pm | Reply

  14. @Corporate Serf –

    From personal observation, I can say that at least 1 in every 3 desis would NOT prefer heading straight to an all-desi part of town to live in. I would say at least 60% of the diaspora would like being in a place (city/university/pub/etc) where the majority is still non-desi, and we comprise of a pretty small minority. It would be great if we got some real statistics for these observations, but all I can offer right now is that of personal observations from my limited interactions in my limited time as an NRI.

    @jk –

    Don’t be hatin’ on us Southies! Also, as in Harbhajan’s recent controversy, what cuss words you use in hindi can always come back to haunt you, so go easy on them :)

    @Vikram –

    My bad, i missed the quotation marks on that… it should have read ‘better’ accent. [ As an aside, I think the british accent is universally considered one of the better sounding accents, not just by desis … the indian accent has hardly ever got a similar reception, and like Russel Peters says in his all famous stand-up act, is mostly used as a comic way to diffuse a serious discussion :) ]

    Comment by Randomizer — January 31, 2008 @ 4:20 pm | Reply

  15. Randomizer,

    (nice nick, btw)


    From personal observation, I can say that at least 1 in every 3 desis would NOT prefer heading straight to an all-desi part of town to live in

    Bought a house in the last few years, so here’s an alternate explanation. The ethnic enclaves, whether desi, chinese, russian tend to display a lower HPA (home price appreciation) rate than “nicer” neighborhoods. Add in the congestion. I am in the nyc metro area, so that’s where I get my examples from. Desis, at least the Bell Labs/ Lucent types that work in the area, tend not to buy exactly in Edison; but not too far away either. One determinant is the quality of the school district: urban ones tend to be bad.

    OTOH, when looking at sub-urban areas we did try to locate ones with asian (both East and South) and (orthodox) Jewish presence, on the theory that these subgroups care for education and would live in good school districts. This can be only one of the many heuristics to use, though. Nothing beats actually going up to the school and looking around, asking for college results and so on.

    Comment by corporate serf — January 31, 2008 @ 5:29 pm | Reply

  16. Good observations there, Randomizer.

    Here’s my take on it as an Indian living in Europe since the last four years.
    1. Accent:
    Accent or pronunciation change is a matter of convenience in my opinion. When you interact with non-Indians on a day to day basis, you want to get your thoughts across in a way that your group ‘gets’. You after all, don’t want to end up in an awkward situation repeating yourself agn n agn.

    2. The Friend Circle:
    Having non-desi friends is what I would consider an indication of being adaptable to your host country’s culture. I am not espousing ‘When In Rome, be a Roman’, but being open to new things/experiences is good, IMO.

    3. How desi? – pretty much the same as above

    4. The lifeboat syndrome:
    Honestly, I don’t wish to spend my free time in a desi circle. I had my own freakin’ well in India for that; but I don’t ‘close doors’ behind me either. But it is also true that when I am given a say in choosing a prospective employee from India, I am extra careful in my choice, not because I want my institution to prosper, but becos I realise that the candidate will “represent” India in this country, and I want it to be the best portrayal of our country abroad.

    Comment by geeta — February 1, 2008 @ 5:05 am | Reply

  17. oops, that should read
    ‘I don’t wish to spend ALL my free time in a desi circle.’

    Comment by geeta — February 1, 2008 @ 10:10 am | Reply

  18. Thought provoking post. I don’t live in the US but I think many Indians carry a whole lot baggage. We lack self worth and try and ingratiate ourselves into a better situation in a foreign land.

    But when we see fellow desis around, we know that they can see through our posing. Hence we would rather not have them around.

    Comment by dazedandconfused — February 1, 2008 @ 12:10 pm | Reply


  19. But it is also true that when I am given a say in choosing a prospective employee from India, I am extra careful in my choice, not because I want my institution to prosper, but becos I realise that the candidate will “represent” India in this country, and I want it to be the best portrayal of our country abroad.

    Eh? This might fly in Europe, but it will get you fired in the US. You should hire solely keeping the good of your institution in mind; not any “represent India” c#$p.

    Comment by corporate serf — February 1, 2008 @ 1:37 pm | Reply

  20. @Corporate Serf

    I am sure there is a lot of difference between indian family philosophies vs single desi guy/gal philosophies about who they want to be around. I am sure that like you said, indian families might want to have more indian families around – so that their kids would have more desi friends (desi parents generally like to keep the friends influence desi) , and many more reasons. This article however is catered to people in the 20’s-early 30’s …

    Also, these days a lot of arranged marriages result with the wives coming from places where English is not spoken, and they find it extremely hard to assimilate (like in Jhumpa Lahiri’s Namesake) .. for these households as well, desis will be very keen to find desi company as soon as possible.

    @Geeta

    Thanks for your observations, though I must say I am disturbed by your last paragraph… If I am reading your comment correctly, you mean to say that you look at things beyond qualifications/skills that you wouldn’t normally do with non-desis, when hiring desis? Just because they represent your country and they should represent your country up to your standards?

    Do you hold similar benchmarks for other countries as well – Say, are you as extra careful when hiring Turks/ Greeks / Indonesians / etc … ? What exactly are the factors you look into when deciding how well this prospective desi represents India? If you are making employment decisions based on this, I think it is a poor (and probably illegal) choice.

    If I am reading your comment wrong, please do care to elaborate.

    @Dazed and Confused

    Definitely :). A desi tends to make you feel like he/she can ‘see right through you’ … at times like he even knows you, just because you are both desi… Even if he/she is a stranger. You know, at most times, this is nice, to feel instantly brotherly towards your fellow desi… and at most times, I feel good about it. But when this crosses the line, it can sometimes be downright intrusive ( Like a desi you barely know asking details about your salary, or what you pay as rent, or something similar ).

    For those who try to get away from being the stereotypical desi, and try to adopt many western habits, meeting desis gives you the feeling that you are ‘being put in your place’, or that you are being a poser, when most of the times, you are only trying to assimilate. There is a lot of truth in your statement. Thanks for stopping by.

    Comment by Randomizer — February 1, 2008 @ 2:26 pm | Reply

  21. On the accent front – I think it doesn’t make any sense to be switching back and forth between different ones all the time. Having been in the US for 8 years, I tend to speak in the American accent (not that I’ve great command over it) to my American colleagues or desi friends. I would be making a fool of myself if I constantly kept going back and forth between accents. As it is we are not all that great with the American accent. It’s a totally different story when speaking in Hindi. You are going to be a butt of jokes if you ever tried that in any different way. On the question of American friends/colleagues – the only reason I watch American sports is to be able to converse with them. You can very easily be a Yankee fan and talk some trash to a Red Sox fan – that can break the ice so as to speak. But at the end of the day I do realize Cricket is in my blood and there’s nothing else that gets your adrelaine pumping than watching an Aussie/Pak-India match in the dead of night, night after night, with a bunch of desis – while your neighbor & the cops cannot understand what the fuss is all about!!!

    Comment by Anu — February 1, 2008 @ 8:31 pm | Reply

  22. What I notice in many desis trying to adapt to a non-desi environment in the USA is that these individuals often try to snub or to pretend to not even acknowledge a fellow desi, particularly in public meeting areas. This is a puzzling phenomenon that I have been trying to understand the last 35 years of my life here in America.

    What is it about a person with the same heritage that would cause one to show repugnance or disdain when this individual has not done any harm? Other ethnic groups tend to be more appreciative of their representatives and are willing to accept their own without openly showing any contempt. Each time I see any desi in public, I try to be friendly in my facial gestures, but I rarely notice any reciprocation. In fact, I usually see expressions of contempt or of apathy. I am a college professor, and I treat all of my students and colleagues in a dignified and courteous manner regardless of their ethnic or socieconomic backgrounds. I think my observations could form the basis for a scholarly sociolgical study! I am curious to know if one has been published.

    I wish the best to all of my fellow desis. I extend my admiration for all of you who have accomplished your desired goals and objectives in lands that may not have always treated you with dignity and respect!

    SA :-)

    Comment by SA — February 2, 2008 @ 5:06 am | Reply

  23. Nice post. Came here from desipundit.

    I think it changes from person to person. I am a Tamilian and I was really excited to meet so many Punjabi’s on my trip to the U.S. I had not many too many Punjabi’s before in my life (Chennai is just starting to get cosmopolitan) so for me it was an experience in itself to get to know the Punjabis!

    A friend of mine made it a point to not mingle with the desi crowd and the reason he gives me is that he identifies more with the Americans (thanks to shows like Friends) and he is rather comfortable with it. He doesn’t hate Desis but is just more comfortable with the Americans.

    Comment by prashanth — February 2, 2008 @ 10:05 am | Reply

  24. @Anu

    8 years in, I am not sure how easy it is for you to switch back to desi. But 2 years in, I find it pretty easy to go back and forth, though I notice that some words like ‘route’ will never be pronounce ‘root’ ever again … I’m guessing that many years down the line, there will be so many words like these that I will be used to pronouncing the american way that I will come to ‘equillibrium’ in an in-between accent .. just like you. I’ve escaped football fever so far, but only because I do not have that many friends following it. I notice many of my friends jumping in these days, and I presume that it won’t be long before I get into it myself, at least for the sake of conversation… thanks for stopping by :)

    @SA

    Professor, I think you shouldn’t take such things to heart :). In a diverse environment like a party, groupism is especially evident – say an all-hispanic group, or an all-chinese group in one corner of the room. I feel there are many desis who enjoy mixing with people beyond their own race, and are particularly aware of what an all-brown group looks like to the outside observer. It gives an impression of being ‘clannish’, and might prevent others from entering the group discussion .. (would you feel very comfortable joining an all-black/all-french group at a party? Or would you be more comfy joining a mixed group?)

    I think most desis keep this in mind at parties and social events … so try to keep their groups as mixed as possible. In doing so, they probably end up avoiding other fellow desis… and taken to an extreme, even outrightly snub them, which is definitely not a good thing. During the 70’s and 80’s which is when you must have arrived, I think desis were so few that you continue harboring a very positive welcoming attitude towards fellow desis … which is great and I urge you to continue this way. For most of the younger crowd though, arriving in the 21st century, the population of desis here has become so much that one really has to make an effort to have friends beyond their own race (especially in universities where all desis tend to live in the same apartment complex).

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, professor, and do let me know if you come across that sociology paper! :)

    @Prashanth

    Even back in India, there seem to be two groups – the ‘westernized’ bunch who converse in english, watched hollywood movies, are die-hard fans of american sit-coms, hated bollywood, and had rock bands plastered all across their walls… vs. the more ‘indianized’ bunch who loved indian stars like sonu nigam/shaan etc, loved bollywood, conversed in hindi/tamil and so on….

    When these two groups enter the US, the former bunch might prefer American company , while the latter are happier in their own crowd. The vast majority however, that is a little bit of each, is left to question their fundas in life :)

    Comment by Randomizer — February 4, 2008 @ 2:17 am | Reply

  25. I have been here only for an year(in a University setting). One reason desis detest more desis(as stated before) is competition, from oncampus jobs to working under a professor we have had enough competition back home. Also many of our guys leave professors halfway and then that professor is biased towards Indians(I have had that problem). I should admit that I have no clue if other people too leave midway.
    When I first came here, I expected everything to be meritocracy here but I see(atleast till now) it is not so.
    Guess, my learning in the strange land has just begun.

    Comment by Sri — June 27, 2008 @ 11:42 am | Reply

  26. Having grown up in a foreign country(which I call home), I never quite had the Indian accent or an American accent but something more on the lines of a British accent. When I moved to India for my undergraduate studies, I was the ‘outsider’- what with being NRI. Now that I’m here it gets far more complicated- I’m not desi enough to fit in(Since I have always been a NRI, I’m considered to be quite the snob. Guess the NRI= = Snob tag never really dies) with the desis and I’m not American enough to fit in there (though it is fascinating to see some Americans go all wide mouthed and say, ‘but you’re Indian, aren’t you? And you are not quite like other Indians!).

    Quite an irony of a situation for me, though :)

    Comment by purely_narcotic — June 29, 2008 @ 8:42 am | Reply

  27. Good summary.. It is amazing how much alienated we become over time, against our own culture…
    Shameful or trying to be better than rest of the Indians? you decide.
    many of these topics are discussed on ‘the Indians abroad’ included all types of dilemmas and other challenges abroad…

    Comment by indians abroad — August 9, 2011 @ 7:03 pm | Reply


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