Friday, January 11, 2008

Immediate Impressions of an R2I

Immediate Impressions of an R2I who is now doing R2USA

Here is an article that one of my acquaintance wrote immediately after returning back to India. He wanted to publish this in The Hindu, but that never happened. However, he readily agreed to post it in my blog.

Here comes the article verbatim, without my color commentary...

You cannot Change the system or the people, things are going to be the same no matter what you do!!!

Couple of months prior to me deciding to return back to INDIA from US, I had a chat with my manager. My manager at the US firm had already been dealing with IT people from INDIA since our company had started outsourcing part of IT jobs to INDIA. During the course of the conversation, it just came out of my mouth that once I go back to INDIA, I will have to tune myself to the way business is being carried out over their. My manager told me, “Don’t change yourself or the way you do things, try to change and better the system, since you know the pros and cons of both the systems”.

I returned back to INDIA and took up a job here at Chennai, and in the last five months since I have been here, I can recollect at least 10 times when people have told me – “You cannot Change the system or the people, things are going to be the same no matter what you do!!!” I am refusing to give up because I feel that if one puts up an honest attempt to change the way things are being done, he/she might ultimately succeed. Couple of incidents comes to my mind. Two of my uncles met with car accidents in my home town Kochi, in both the cases the truck drivers were at fault. The truck drivers involved in both the accidents pretty much told my uncles that they do not have any insurance nor is he going to give any compensation for the damages caused. He literally challenged us to register a case and fight it out on the court, knowing well that with the kind of legal system we have in INDIA, it is much likely that the case will get dragged for the next five to seven years. Cops who came to scene shared the same opinion of the truck drivers. I know that these are not isolated incidents and lot of us might have already dealt with similar situations in the past. I believe that, if we make a change in the legal procedures and make it compulsory for all drivers to have at least liability insurance and strictly keep a tab on drivers not having them, issues like this can be avoided. Liability insurance would ease the pain of the end user and let insurance companies handle the situation. Another thing which comes to my mind is our attitude towards keeping the public premises clean. In the US, people are conscious about throwing litter at public places. They look for dust bins and at least make an attempt to keep public places keen. Here there are people spitting in public places, throwing litter all over the streets as if they don’t care about the surroundings. All it takes is one little step forward, to locate a waste bin near you. I believe these are things which one could do to help our country improve and to make our country a better place to live.

But, for all this to happen every one of us should make an honest attempt in whatever way to correct the system as and when we see some room for improvement. The purpose of this article is by not to criticize a system or to tell that one system is better than other. There are good and bad aspects in any system you take. It’s up to each one of us to make a conscious effort to better the system by taking the good qualities of other systems.

ps: This article written about 7 months back and this gentleman has now decided to returning back to US. He agreed to respond to my questions on that subject. So, if you have questions to him on why he is going back to US, please to put them in the comment section and email me by this Sunday.


  1. My question

    1) Mr.X - Were you a fool in the first place to go home to India?

    2) Don't you know the India / Indians won't change?

    3) Didn't you know that the USA is one of the Best places to live and not India ( It's only for people who can't go abroad )

    4) Do you remember where you left your brains before you went home?

  2. Madras Lungi
    I wish you had used some decorum in your language. Every one goes through their cycle of decisions and discoveries and we ought to respect that.

  3. author,
    as of mahatma told -
    if you want a change around you. be the change

    Thats the problem with our people, they don't want to be the change they want. So they simple fit them into some developed world (USA) instead of developing their own.

    if you want the surroundings to be clean, start a NGO and educate the people around you about cleanliness, sure it pays up. If you want our legal system to change, dig into that and file a PIL or educate the society about that.

    People like you are useless to our society, u would earn more but don't add value to the society.

  4. Hello

    Its a nice write up, hope he finds peace in where he decides to move. I come from a similar boat but still in India, the memories of staying in US is sure there and its been almost a year and half from my return to India.

    What are the 3 critical factors that the person would like to say where the factors for him to go back? Again this is just out of curiosity and nothing judgemental.

    Wish you all the best.
    Ramakrishnan Seshadri

  5. Big paradigm shift in the culture and lifestyle will not happen suddenly. Everyone should take baby steps to make a difference. No body can change any body. One should make his own difference just like the old man story. The old man was walking by the sea beach and suddenly there came a big wave pushing ashore several million star fishes. The old man kneeled down and picked one star fish and threw it in the sea. Again after walking 10 ft took another star fish and threw it in the sea. A few young gentlemen were watching this and was wondering what this old man was doing. They confronted the old man and asked him why he was doing that stating that he was not doing anything good when millions of star fishes were washed ashore; the old man kneeled down and picked one more star fish and threw it in the sea. "I made a difference to this star fish" and walked away. The moral of the story is this. We cannot wipe off world hunger, people dying of diseases, fix the bad roads, etc etc but we can make our own difference in small steps.


  6. Yeah, I've been on the same boat. I came back here and am happy so far.

    I feel - It's all inside you.

    Good luck to your friend Ram.

  7. Bygone is bygone. Please do not regret for your earlier decisions. Everything is based with the individual and what he needs. Something in you wanted you to go back and now certain experiences made you to come back. This will be going on. This has happened to many people. I know few English guys who went to Australia and have returned back to England. Enjoy life where ever you are and live for the day.

    Good luck.

  8. Hi, I am considering moving from US to India (Chennai) to be with my family (wife and kids who live in India). I have been offered a well paying job in Chennai. I have lived and worked in the US the better part of 24 years. Any thoughts or advice? Am nervous!

  9. Ram,

    I can totally relate to what your friend experience after his R2I. I have also R2Ied and have seen such things in India happen quite often. The problem with our country is our population and nothing else. Well nothing can be done about it but if the liability insurance thing is put into effect then I am sure the truck drivers association will protest, there will be bandhs, buses burnt, prices will rise and what not. If at all the government is successful in the implementation then they will find some loophole or some other way to avoid taking the insurance such as by bribing some insurance guy or police. Some things are still very crude in our country and it will take some time to change such things. Anything new is looked at with a negative eye and a political aspect is attached to almost everything.

    Just my 2 cents.


  10. Anonymous
    You should live wherever you are comfortable but it is NOT worth splitting the family. My two cents would be choose India or US but live together as a single unit.

    A move like this will always be unnerving but things does get worked out..

  11. In India you earn about 30% than in USA and save about 50% of USA savings (nett). But the clarity in upbringing on kids and togetherness to family... Mastercard for life moments! (no relative will ask for money, if you live and work in India, than being in USA - a Telugu Bidda says)

    I decided to raise the family in India and returned back, after I made the minimum money that I thought - would take my lifetime.

    Unless you have a GC or US passport, you can be kicked out anytime and live in the fear ( er... mugging and terrorism...), but in India (if you stick to your hometown state, no one care dare!)

    Yeah, you do miss, on bragging to relative on dollars, shops, clean roads and trips.... snow...

    I met a family in USA with 3 kids, 2 born in India, and at age of 42, the lady wanted a US Citizen kid proudly, and the kid was born autistic. Now they cannot return back, obviously as they have to take care of specially the kid they badly in US and wanted to raise like a normal kid...

    There is a relative of mine living in US, who married a Indian girl, whom he met on the net, and didnt know she was the illegitimate child of a politician and she had been married once. Now it is splitsville. (culture wanting USites)


  12. honestly the decision to live in any corner of globe finally rests with sense of purpose and direction one gets to experience in that place...where the perception of safety and culturally rich...concoction of inner need versus outer acceptance in the eye of friends and relatives..but i beleive living in the u.s will surely loose its charm sooner or later as security /fear factor is high for every aspect of life experience there.
    india is a different ball it is like an growing organism...what was once a dustbin to live among snake charmers and vermillon pasted foreheads has in a mere 58 years attracted corruption and crime in politics,huge conglomerates setting up shops amidst the same hungry filled and poor hustle and bustle for shoulder space in indian towns and mega cities in india requires a different mind of life itself....just as much u.s living (a sense of bragging /winners only are fit to talk,arrogance brazenly aquired as an attitude to success)

  13. Ram,
    It would be useful if you could point to links on getting back social security money after returning to India.

  14. anonymous
    I have no idea.. I assumed it is only after 65

  15. ' You be the change that you are looking for' ...quoted by swami vivekananda...he is a true example of an Indian who lived by his words and set an example to the Americans when he delivered his great Chicago speech..If he was dejected by India back then, the world would have missed his words of wisdom! According to bagavat Greta, inaction is the biggest form of sin...if we move away from our society without doing anything...that's the biggest form of inaction...everyone who live in US say that America is great,clean and superior as a developed nation but do not forget , all this happened by great Americans who stood up against the social evils of America during America's initial years as a
    Developing nation...George Washington spearheaded the great American freedom fight, Lincoln abolished the wars etween states and Luther king worked to eliminate racism in America...had they moved out of America seeking greener pastures, we would not see the developed America of today ! If you aim to be extraordinary , you achieve it and set an example for your kids, if you wish to lead an ordinary life without meaning you walk away from society saying ' I cannot change the system' and set stage for a selfish and self centered generation following you ...
    If you do not wish to change Indian system I believe you morally do not have the rights to comment about it too...This plies to all the NRIs who blame India ....